“The Spitfire Grill,”  April 12-15

WILSON, N.C. — “The Spitfire Grill,” opens on Thursday evening, April 12, at 8 p.m. in the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre on the campus of Barton College. Based on the award-winning film by Lee David Zlotoff, this musical adaptation for stage by Fred Alley and James Valcq promises to provide an evening of storytelling and music that will be both thought provoking and uplifting. Additional performances will be held on Friday and Saturday evening, April 13-14, at 8 p.m., and on Sunday afternoon, April 15, at 3 p.m.

“Though not unprecedented, it is certainly unusual for a theatrical piece to originate from the medium of film rather than literature,” shared Adam Twiss, director of Theatre at Barton and producer for “The Spitfire Grill.”  “In 1996, a simple, daring motion picture won the hearts and imaginations of audiences at the Sundance Film Festival, garnering numerous awards and receiving the highest price ever paid for the rights to an independent, feature film. That film, “The Spitfire Grill,” intrigued musical duo James Valcq and Fred Alley to develop the story as a musical for the stage and, in 2001, the show opened to standing ovations and numerous awards on Broadway.

“This is a uniquely American tale of fall and redemption, value of community, and love lost … and found,” continued Twiss.  “The storytelling and the music are seamlessly integrated, and guest director Bryan Pridgen has assembled an outstanding company for our Barton production.  This heartwarming show has been on our radar for a number of years; it’s a musical that we thought would fit exceptionally well in Barton’s intimate Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre.  This year the stars finally aligned and provided the opportunity to produce this wonderful work.”

Directing “The Spitfire Grill” will be guest director Bryan Pridgen, a native of Wilson who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Greensboro College.  After completing his degree, Pridgen began a two-year intensive internship with Barter Theatre’s Barter Players, providing quality theatre for children of all ages.  This past December, he had the opportunity to travel across the United States with the national tour of “Miracle on 34th Street,” and, in January, he moved to Savannah, Ga., to begin working with other artists with their sights set on establishing a professional theatre for audiences of all incomes. Though his directing credits are few and far between, Pridgen has a range of experiences in theatre as an actor, props designer, acting instructor, to name a few.

The cast includes guest artists Mikey Rabil and Debbie Williams, as well as Barton’s Katelyn Barr, Christopher Byrd, Kerstin Conrad, Wesley Pridgen, and Beatrice Urtech.

The musical director and pianist is Mark Peterson, accompanied by musicians Dr. Ted Brna on guitar and mandolin, Dee Braxton-Pelligrino on violin, Zack May on cello, and Hampton Short on guitar.

Chris Bernier, technical director of theatre, is overseeing the lighting and scenic design while Barton alumnus Mathew Smith is in charge of sound design. Adam Barr is the stage manager, and supervising production manager is Jamie Tinti. Liz Whittemore is handling costume, hair, and make-up design, and Haddy Drammeh is overseeing props design and crew while Sue Murphy handles the light board among other contributions.

General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and members of the military, and $6 for students. Barton College students, faculty and staff are admitted free with proper ID. Group rates are also available for parties of six or more by contacting Adam Twiss at ajtwiss@barton.edu or 252-399-6484 to make arrangements. Tickets are available at the door and also may be purchased online at www.barton.edu/theatre. (Please note there is a $2 advance online charge for Barton students, faculty and staff.)

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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