Palm Beach Dramaworks Presents THE SPITFIRE GRILL

By: Jan. 14, 2019

The Spitfire Grill, a warm and uplifting show by James Valcq (book and music) and Fred Alley (book and lyrics) about starting over and second chances, forgiveness and redemption, becomes the first musical to be produced by Palm Beach Dramaworks as part of its subscription season. This internationally beloved work opens on February 1 and runs through February 24, with specially priced previews on January 30 and 31. Bruce Linser directs.

For the past several seasons, we've produced one or two musicals in the summer that have received great reviews and were a big success with audiences, said Producing Artistic Director William Hayes. But a number of our subscribers are not here during the summer, so they missed out. Many of them asked us about the possibility of including a musical as part of our regular season, and we quickly warmed to the idea. The Spitfire Grill seems like the perfect choice with its complex characters, powerful themes, and a really appealing score.

Based on Lee David Zlotoff's 1996 film of the same name, this folk musical tells the story of Percy Talbott, a young parolee looking for a fresh start in Gilead, Wisconsin, a (fictional) town that one of its inhabitants calls a place for leaving, not for coming to. As Percy gradually adjusts to her new life, she and the town begin to awaken together.
The Spitfire Grill features, in alphabetical order, Amy Miller Brennan (PBD debut), Elizabeth Dimon, Patti Gardner, Johnbarry Green (PBD debut), David A. Hyland, and Ashley Rose (PBD debut) as Percy. The musicians are Joshua Lubben, who doubles as music director, and Katie Lubben, Michael Lubben, and Tom Lubben. Scenic and lighting design are by Paul Black, costume design is by Brian O'Keefe, and sound design is by Brad Pawlak. The show that Valcq and Alley created is very different from the film. They moved the locale from rural Maine to their home state of Wisconsin, where they understood the landscape, the dialect, and the people. (As it happens, Linser is also from Wisconsin, and sometime in the 1980s, when he was starting out, he appeared in a community theatre production of Oklahoma! with Valcq.) Crucially, the show has a hopeful ending, which is not true of the movie.

The Spitfire Grill received its world premiere in November, 2000 at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. It premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in October, 2001. The show has since received more than 600 productions throughout the country and around the world. Unfortunately, Alley did not live to enjoy the show's success. He died in May, 2001 of a heart attack. He was just 38 years old. Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. Evening performances are Wednesday, Thursday, and select Sundays at 7:30PM, and Friday and Saturday at 8PM. Matinee performances are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM. Post-performance discussions follow Wednesday matinee and Sunday evening performances. Individual tickets are $75, with specially priced preview tickets at $55 and Opening Night tickets at $90. Student tickets are available for $15, and Pay Your Age tickets are available for those 18-40. Tickets for educators are half price with proper ID (other restrictions apply). Group rates for 20 or more and discounted season subscriptions are also available. The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit



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