The Spitfire Grill - 2024

The Spitfire Grill (2024). Photo by Fletcher Wold.

May 30 – June 23, 2024

The Spitfire Grill

Based on the 1996 film, The Spitfire Grill is a touching and inspirational musical tale brimming with beautiful folk melodies. Percy, a spirited parolee, follows her dreams to the small town of Gilead, hoping to create a new life for herself. She takes a job working at the Spitfire Grill, which has long been up for sale with no takers. Percy convinces its owner, Hannah, to raffle it off with a letter-writing contest, and the entire town is changed as a result in this story of perseverance, grace, and friendship.

Music and Book by James Valcq
Lyrics and Book by Fred Alley
Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff

Directed by Abe Reybold

Run time is approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.

Performances held at the Broadway Rose New Stage,
12850 SW Grant Ave., Tigard, OR

 Title SponsorHarvey and Sandy Platt

Show Sponsor
Precision Door logo

Cast

Photo of Malia Tippets.

Malia Tippets as Percy Talbott

Malia Tippets is local to Portland, Oregon. Studying musical theatre and earning her degree from Marymount Manhattan College in New York, she has gone on to tour the nation and travel the world performing musical theatre. Favorite credits include Elphaba in Wicked (Universal Studios Japan), Eva Peron in Evita (National Tour), Daphne in Fly By Night (Broadway Rose Theatre Company), and Veronica Sawyer in Heathers: The Musical. Most recently Malia performed in the ensemble of Hair at Portland Center Stage. Musical theatre is a passion that has taken her around the world and has created the world around her.

Photo of Sharon Maroney.

Sharon Maroney as Hannah Ferguson

Sharon Maroney is the producing artistic director of Broadway Rose and is thrilled to be performing with this amazing group of actors under the direction of Abe Reybold. She was last seen on stage as Louise in Always…Patsy Cline, a role she will be reprising this September. Other roles include Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Carla in The Bikinis, Rhetta in Pump Boys and Dinettes, Angela in Honky Tonk Angels, and Muriel in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She has performed as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! at Broadway Rose, Lakewood Theatre Company, and Surflight Theatre. She also enjoyed playing Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street, and Keely in Pete ‘n’ Keely. For triangle productions!, Sharon performed in Forbidden Broadway and The Queen of Bingo.

Photo of Danielle Valentine.

Danielle Valentine as Shelby Thorne

Danielle Valentine is so grateful to be back onstage at Broadway Rose. Previous Broadway Rose credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Loch Lomond, Up and Away, Nunsense, and Gypsy. Offstage, Danielle enjoys teaching acting classes for youth and adults at The Studio Northwest. She is a big-time lover of cooking and eating all the things, traveling, hiking, and has recently become re-obsessed with Just Dance on YouTube.

Photo of Brian Kennedy.

Brian Kennedy as Caleb Thorne

Brian Kennedy is excited to be performing his first show with Broadway Rose as a part of this excellent team! He has been performing in the Portland area since late 2022 and has most recently performed in various shows with Stumptown Stages, including Don in Kinky Boots, Harold the Hermit in Young Frankenstein, and Reg Willoughby in The Full Monty. Other favorite roles include Maurice in Beauty and the Beast (UNCO) and Patsy in Spamalot (HART Theatre). Following this show, you can see Brian in the ensemble of Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s summer musical.

Photo of Dave Cole.

Dave Cole as Sheriff Joe Sutter

Dave Cole is excited to be back with Broadway Rose. His first appearance here was back in season one in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as Bashful. Some of his favorite roles have been The Emcee in Cabaret, JD in Heathers: The Musical, Johnny Blood in Desperate Measures, and Skszp (guitar/piano/music director) in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He is also a songwriter and has played in bands for most of his life. He hopes to one day start a theatre company with his beautiful and talented wife Lauren.

Photo of Lisamarie Harrison.

Lisamarie Harrison as Effy Krayneck

Lisamarie Harrison has worked on the Portland stage for 40 years, and on Broadway Rose’s stage for 33. Some favorite Broadway Rose roles include Tanya in Mamma Mia!, Morticia Addams in The Addams Family, Miss Flannery in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jody in The Bikinis (Drammy nomination, PAMTA), Rhetta in Pump Boys and Dinettes, Sue Ellen in Honky Tonk Angels (PAMTA award), LaVerne Andrews in Sisters of Swing, and Sister Hubert in Nunsense. Roles at other theaters include Florence/Sandra in The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong, Leslie in High Dive, Mrs. Johnston in Blood Brothers, Mama Maddalena in Nine, Ms. Fleming in Heathers: The Musical, Violet in 9 to 5 (Drammy nomination), Betty in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Mazeppa in Gypsy, Kate in The Wild Party, and Rizzo in Grease.

Photo of Joe Theissen.

Joe Theissen as The Visitor

Joe Theissen is thrilled to return to the Broadway Rose stage. In addition to his many roles here at Broadway Rose, Joe has worked with Lakewood Theatre Company, Pixie Dust Productions, and Oregon Children’s Theatre, among others. Joe’s Broadway Rose credits include: Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, The Narrator in Fly By Night, and Gomez Addams in The Addams Family. Other recent appearances include Junie B. Jones (Gladys) at Oregon Children’s Theatre, Man of La Mancha (Pedro) at Lakewood Theatre Company, Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth), Billy Elliot (George), and La Cage aux Folles (Zaza/Albert) at Pixie Dust Productions. As a vocalist, Joe has been a soloist with the Trinity Consort and a studio vocalist with Pink Martini and Oregon Catholic Press recordings.

Show Dates

Click on a date to purchase tickets.

Thursday, May 30, 7:30 p.m. – Preview performance – Limited availability
Friday, May 31, 7:30 p.m. – Opening night
Saturday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 2, 2:00 p.m. – SOLD OUT

Thursday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. – Limited availability
Friday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8, 2:00 p.m. – Post-show talkback – Limited availability
Saturday, June 8, 7:30 p.m. – Limited availability
Sunday, June 9, 2:00 p.m. – SOLD OUT

Thursday, June 13, 7:30 p.m. – Limited availability
Friday, June 14, 7:30 p.m. – SOLD OUT
Saturday, June 15, 2:00 p.m. – Audio Descriptions available – Limited availability
Saturday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 16, 2:00 p.m. – Limited availability

Thursday, June 20, 7:30 p.m. – Limited availability
Friday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. – Limited availability
Saturday, June 22, 2:00 p.m. – Limited availability
Saturday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. – SOLD OUT

Creative Team

Directed by
Abe Reybold

Music Direction by
Reece Sauvé

Scenic Design by
Bryan Boyd

Costume Design by
Brynne Oster-Brainnson

Lighting Designed by
Larry Larsen

Prop Design by
Sam Manilla

Sound Design by
Elizabeth Wyatt

Stage Manager
Jessica Junor

Musicians

PianoPhoto of the Spitfire Grill band sitting on the restaurant set.
Reece Sauvé

Accordion
Christie Smith

Violins
Alberta Barnes

Cello
Will Amend

Guitar/Mandolin
Attila Csikos

The Art of Cindy Wilson Geffel

The Art of Cindy Wilson Geffel.

May 30 – June 23, 2024

Broadway Rose proudly presents The Art of Cindy Wilson Geffel, an art exhibition. The Spitfire Grill is a profound story filled with messages of hope, resilience, and friendship. Artist Cindy Geffel’s work ties together some of those same themes as she explores the intersection of humanity and nature through a canvas. A curated selection of Cindy’s work will be displayed in the lobby during the run of The Spitfire Grill and are available to purchase.

Content Advisories

The Spitfire Grill is suitable for most theatergoers over the age of 13. Featuring a beautiful story of hope and redemption The Spitfire Grill includes some adult language, mild alcohol use and themes of prison and war. Percy shares her sad backstory briefly, which includes intense adult themes of sexual assault, abuse, and murder.

Click here for our pre-viewing guide for sensory- and content-sensitive patrons (PDF).

Director's Notes

Photo of Abe ReyboldWith its strong book and evocative score, The Spitfire Grill provides an opportunity to explore our commonality and humanity. Deeply grounded in the natural world, there is a unique poetry in the lyrics that connects us to the changing cycles of life. From childlike rhymes through passages of darkness, regret, longing, and light, the souls in Gilead sing their struggles and hopes.

I am very happy to be back in Oregon and at the Broadway Rose Theatre Company telling this story of transformation. Such stories remind us that we too can affect positive change in our lives. We too, can affect positive change in the lives of others. And if we are willing to accept that forgiveness is as much a part of the cycle of life as the leaves that change into the “colors of paradise,” we too may forgive the past, mend, and welcome in some light.

– Abe Reybold, April 2024

Meet the Author: James Valcq

Photo of James Valcq.From screenplay to film to stage play, The Spitfire Grill has found its way to the Broadway Rose Theatre, opening on May 30, 2024. The story behind the show is nothing short of extraordinary, and James Valcq shared with us narratives about the heartfelt work that went into the making of the folk musical.

James Valcq grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and began his professional theatre background in the opera at age seven. Spending his childhood in classical music concerts and operas as a boy soprano and child actor, James later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an applied voice major.

After gaining his bachelor’s degree, James transitioned away slightly from performing and became more interested in conducting and composing. He received his master’s in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU which would launch his career in writing for musical theatre.

During college, James served as a musical director for a “couple of bawdy revues,” and the writer of the shows suggested that James try writing original songs for the next production. This would lead to writing the musicals The Passage and The Spitfire Grill with longtime friend and writing partner, Fred Alley.

The Spitfire Grill went from page to stage in less than 22 months, progressing fast due to what James credits as a “surge of passion that comes when a project is fresh and the possibilities are limitless.” According to James, The Spitfire Grill had a “rather charmed genesis,” as the quick development of the show stemmed from the visceral reaction he had after seeing the 1996 film of the same name. The film was written and directed by Lee David Zlotoff and served as a portrait of what James described as “an almost mythic American folktale with characters who were people Fred and I knew, with all their faults, dreams, and hard-earned triumphs.” Weaving together different styles of storytelling, The Spitfire Grill plays with elements of realism and allegory, highlighting depth reflected through the music.

Approaching The Spitfire Grill from a state of emotional exposition, Fred and James’ writing process was earnest: “We listened to the characters and let them tell our hearts what to write,” explained James. “This seemingly simple fable held in its own heart a few basic truths about healing, about second chances, about the value of human connection. And the characters challenged us with a question: There are things in life you can’t overcome. Do these things disable you, do they destroy you, or do they ennoble you?” These are just a few of the takeaways audiences leave the theatre with.

With these questions in mind, the musical plays into deep themes of redemption and hope through passionate music, intense lyrics, and a robust storyline. However, according to James, his contribution was primarily structural, as he explained that “99 percent of the actual words are Fred’s.” Fred tragically passed away at the age of 38, but his legacy lives on and can especially be seen through his brilliant contributions to The Spitfire Grill.

The show is filled with multi-faceted lyrics and music, including one of James’ favorite lines: “When hope goes, hearts close.” Through the show, audiences are exposed to the meaning of hope and how it allows for vulnerability and love. “During the last few months of Fred’s life, he planted in The Spitfire Grill little seeds containing all the good things he’d learned about life. Fred’s quiet message of hope and redemption continues to be heard,” explained James.

The Spitfire Grill has neared 1,000 productions of the show and continues to resonate with audiences all over the world. “Wherever it plays, audiences somehow find themselves when they visit the Grill. And they seem to leave the Grill a little elevated from where they were when they came in,” said James.

The Spitfire Grill is a full-circle moment for Broadway Rose, as co-founder and Artistic Director Sharon Maroney previously directed James Valcq in a high school production. Now, 40-odd years later, Sharon will perform the role of Hannah Ferguson in The Spitfire Grill.

Senior year of high school, James met Sharon Maroney. She was fresh out of college and was brought in to direct James’ high school production of Anyone Can Whistle. He had seen Sharon perform around town and was a fan: “My memories of that show (and Sharon) remain vivid,” said James. “She was a ball of fire and the show was a total joy… All of us knew we were involved in a very special experience, but only a handful of us realized what a gift it was to be in this rarely-performed show.” Years later, while James was writing The Spitfire Grill, his mentor, and Anyone Can Whistle playwright Arthur Laurents, was skeptical when James told him he’d been in the production back in high school: “To this day, I’m convinced he thought I was fibbing!” said James.

During his decade as co-Artistic Director with his husband Robert Boles at Third Avenue Playhouse in Door County, Wisconsin, James continued his work in composition, acting, directing, and orchestrating. Currently, he is collaborating on two musicals with songwriter, singer, and playwright Katie Dahl.

Broadway Rose is excited to share this moving story with our audiences, and we invite you to come hang out at the Grill to find out what’s “cooking.” Trust us, it’s something good.

THE SPITFIRE GRILL is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals. www.concordtheatricals.com

Offer only available until June 22!
Benefits include free exchanges, additional tickets at Flex prices, and more!
Offer only available until June 22!