The UK professional premiere production of The Spitfire Grill by James Valcq and Fred Alley, based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, will run at London’s Union Theatre from 23 July to 15 August 2015 (press night is 24 July).
The production is directed by Alastair Knights (Putting It Together, A Little Night Music 40th Anniversary Concert), with musical direction by Simon Holt (Love Never Dies, The Phantom of the Opera international tour) and choreography by Lee Crowley.
The cast includes: Andrew Borthwick (The Visitor), Katie Brennan (Effy Krayneck), Hilary Harwood (Hannah Ferguson), Chris Kiely (Joe Sutter), Natalie Law (Shelby Thorpe), Hans Rye (Caleb Thorpe) and Belinda Wollaston (Percy Talbott).
Chosen by Stephen Sondheim to be the recipient of 2001 Richard Rodgers Production Award, this multi-award winning musical follows recently paroled convict Percy Talbott, who is looking for somewhere to start over, and rural Gilead, Wisconsin, seems just the place. She takes a job at the Spitfire Grill, a crumbling diner where the townsfolk congregate and gossip, run by a feisty widow named Hannah.
Hannah has been trying to sell the diner to escape from the painful memories it holds, but the property has been on the market for a decade with no takers. Soon, Percy hatches a plan to hold a raffle for ownership of the Spitfire Grill—for one hundred dollars and an essay about why they might want the Grill, anyone can enter the contest. As the seasons change and rumours about her past build, the contest entries begin to roll in, and Percy starts to realise that she’s not the only person in Gilead with a history.
Having been seen in more than 500 productions worldwide, the Union Theatre is proud to be producing the UK professional premiere and the first London production of a show that the New York Times called: “A soul satisfying work. A compelling story that flows with grace and carries the rush of anticipation. The musical is freeing. It is penetrated by honesty and it glows.”
Alastair Knights’ directing credits include the West End premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together (St James Theatre), A Little Night Music 40th Anniversary Concert (Palace Theatre), Betty Blue Eyes (Birmingham Old Rep) and he recently conceived and directed Dream Queen, starring Olivier Award winner Janie Dee (Shakespeare’s Globe). Television Credits include The Elaine Paige Show (Sky Arts). He is also the founder and co-curator of St James RE:act, a new writing initiative at St James Theatre, which encourages the creation of new work by emerging theatre artists.
Musical director Simon Holt has performed onstage in musical theatre, cabaret and opera and has been an accompanist and musical director for a number of years. Most recently, he was associate musical director of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum starring Geoffrey Rush, and associate musical director/conductor of Love Never Dies (filmed for DVD/Blu-ray).
Previously, Simon toured Australia with David Campbell on his Broadway Show tour (also recorded for DVD) and received a Green Room Award nomination as the musical director for Starting Here, Starting Now at the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Choreographer Lee Crowley’s recent productions include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Twickenham Theatre) which won this year’s WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off-West End Production. Staging and choreography credits include: Betty Blue Eyes (Birmingham Old Rep), Spring Awakening (Birmingham Old Rep), The Wedding Singer at The Lowry Theatre, Salford and Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street for LAMDA and Mansfield Park 2013 UK tour.