Monday, January 26, 2009

'Spitfire' highlights local talent

The past few weeks have kept me busy both in and outside the newsroom, but yesterday I made time for theater "off the clock," so to speak, making my way down to the final performance of the Players Theatre's "Spitfire Grill."It was truly a delight. It was a brilliant pick by artistic director Jeffery Kin, who also directed the folksy musical.

This well-written James Valcq and Fred Alley piece is based on the 1996 film featuring a woman just released from prison who changes the tiny town of Gillead and its sole eatery - the Spitfire Grill - while trying to start a new life. The bluegrass, folksy music was the centerpiece of the show, with exceptional acting performances by the cast.

As I sat in the seat of a very crowded theater for the show's final performance, there were many times I was amazed at the talent before me on stage and beyond - in the tech booth, in the orchestra pit, etc. There were equal to, if not better than some of the professional shows held elsewhere that I've seen. "Spitfire Grill" would be a great show to take to festival competitions in the future.

Though this show is over, don't forget to check out other theater offerings in the area. There's Florida Studio Theatre's "Occupant," which runs through Jan. 31, Manatee Player's "Music Man" runs through Feb. 1 and Asolo Repertory Theatre's "Winter's Tale" through May 16.

- January Holmes

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