The Spitfire Grill will be performed Sept. 10-12 The Nebraska Theatre Caravan is once again coming to Vermillion as a part of its 2004 Fall Tour. Now under the direction of Jerry O'Connor, a Vermillion native and double graduate from USD, the professional touring company will light the Knutson stage at the Lee Fine Arts Center Sept. 10-12.
O'Connor is extremely excited about the talented artists and crafts persons from across the United States who are a part of this year's productions.
The caravan is presenting The Spitfire Grill, based on the 1996 movie of the same name; this musical version follows the same story and characters but adds an array of beautifully crafted songs and an uplifting ending.
The Spitfire Grill is about a feisty parolee who follows her dreams, based on a page from an old travel book, to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah's Spitfire Grill. It is for sale but there are no takers for the only eatery in the financially depressed town, so newcomer Percy suggests to Hannah that she raffle it off. Entry fees are $100 and the best essay on why you want the grill wins. Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow full and things are definitely cooking at the Spitfire Grill.
O'Connor said, "The Spitfire Grill is a little piece of everyone and a whole lot of heart. It's kind of a cross between Steel Magnolias and Andy of Mayberry."
According to New York Magazine it's "Soulful. The amiable country flavored tunes and lyrics are rendered with the kind of conviction and expertise that make them transcendent. What in normal times would be a joy is, in these troubled ones, sheer nourishment."
And the New York Times says, "The musical is freeing. It is penetrated by honesty and it glows."
The Spitfire Grill will open on Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m., with a final performance on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the Nook 'n Cranny, Vermillion Beauty Shop, Davis Pharmacy and at the door one hour prior to each performance.
"I guess bringing the caravan here is my attempt at thanking Vermillion and USD for all the joys and benefits I've received over the years," O'Connor said.