Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 16
The Spotlight Theatre, 1800 Seventh Avenue, Moline IL
Described by Variety magazine as “warmhearted and uplifting” and by Chicago Theatre Review as “pitch perfect” and “a must-see,” the 2001 musical charmer The Spitfire Grill – based on the much-loved 1996 movie – is set to delight audiences at Moline's Spotlight Theatre June 7 through 16, a show that inspired New York magazine to state, “What even in normal times would be a joy is, in these troubled ones, sheer nourishment.”
In The Spitfire Girll, Percy Talbot has just been released from a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter. She is trying to find a place for a fresh start, and based on a page from an old travel book, the woman travels to the small town of Gilead, Wisconsin. The local sheriff Joe Sutter, who is also Percy’s parole officer, finds her a job at Hannah Ferguson’s Spitfire Grill – the only eatery in this struggling town, and one currently for sale. But with no interested buyers, Hannah decides to raffle the place off with entry fees set at one hundred dollars, and the winner being the author of the best essay on “Why you want the Grill.” Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow and things are definitely getting hot at the Spitfire, and this musical triumph consequently serves as an inspiring celebration of fresh starts and the power of what one person can do. As Talkin' Broadway raved of this work by composers James Valcq and Fred Alley, “If you need any reason at all to embrace life again, the musical you've been waiting for has arrived.”
Making her directorial debut with The Spitfire Grill is Kelsey Walljasper, with Spotlight Theatre co-owner Brent Tubbs designing the show's lighting effects and sound and Megan Warren serving as music director. Warren, a co-star in the venue's February production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, also takes on the role of Percy, with Nancy Teerlinck (the Spotlight's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Black Box Theatre's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) portraying Hannah and Chase Austin (Quad City Music Guild's Jesus Christ Superstar, the Black Box Theatre's Baby) as Joe. Rounding out the show's seven-person cast is a quartet of additional area-theatre talents: Jackie Patterson (the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's On Golden Pond), Brand Peitersen (Music Guild's Catch Me If You Can), Christopher Tracy (the Spotlight's The Happy Elf), and Spotlight Theatre co-owner Sara Tubbs (the venue's recent hit Big: The Musical).
The Spitfire Grill runs at the Spotlight Theatre June 7 through 16, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $20, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)912-7647 or visiting TheSpotlightTheatreQC.com.