'The Spitfire Grill' opens at Camelot

A musical version of "The Spitfire Grill" will open Friday, June 22, at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent.

The book is based on the Sundance Festival Award-winning film by Lee David Zlotoff, which had the tag line "To a town with no future, comes a girl with a past."

It's the story of Percy, a feisty parolee, who follows her dreams to a small town in Wisconsin, where she finds work at Hannah's Spitfire Grill. The restaurant is for sale but there are no takers, so Percy suggests to Hannah that she raffle it off. One hundred dollars and the best essay wins the grill.

Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow. But while Percy brings change to the small town, she stirs resentment and fear in some, and growth in others.

"The Spitfire Grill" is directed by Camelot's producing director, Doug Warner, with musical direction by Meagan Iverson and choreography by Rebecca Campbell. Iverson, who will be joined on keyboards by Aaron Blenkush, has directed the music for and/or accompanied area productions including "Les Miserables," "Fiddler on the Roof,""Damn Yankees" and more. She directed and choreographed last season's "Into the Woods" at Camelot.

Formerly the producing director at California's Mendocino Theatre Company, Warner has extensive acting, directing and designing credits. He joined Camelot's staff in 2005 and has performed in "The Dresser, ""The Beard of Avon," "The 1940's Radio Hour" and "An American Daughter" and directed "The Miracle Worker."

"A sweet, soulful transformation takes place in the little town of Gilead," he says in a press release, "where the rock quarry is closed and hope has faded, when chance brings a troubled young woman knocking on the door of the Spitfire Grill. This is an epic story in a small package with an ensemble cast of seven actors belting out rural flavored songs with deep, rich lyrics.

What we learn in the end is that we are all in this journey called "life' together."

"The Spitfire Grill" starsShirley Patton as Hannah, Livia Genise as Shelby, Shannon McReynolds as Percy, Linda Otto as Effie, Erik Connolly as Caleb, Jeremy Johnson as Joe and John Simutis as the mysterious visitor.

Patton, who spent 30 seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, last appeared at Camelot as Madame Hortense in "Zorba!"

Genise was the witch in "Into the Woods," among other roles in productions including "The Heidi Chronicles," "Master Class," "The Music Lesson" and "Zorba!"

A student at Rogue Community College, Shannon McReynolds has appeared locally in "Godspell," "Wizard of Oz," "Spoon River" and in Camelot's production of "Into the Woods" and "Man of La Mancha."

The production team for "The Spitfire Grill" includes stage manager Bart Grady, assistant stage manager John Simutis and Camelot's resident designers: costumer Emily Ehrlich Inget, set designer and master carpenter Don Zastoupil, lighting designer Bart Grady and sound designer Brian O'Connor.

A special pay-what-you-can performance will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 27.

Tickets are $21 general and $19 for seniors.

Call 535-5250.

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