Northport Music Theater will present “The Spitfire Grill” as its main stage summer musical in July. Directed by Tobin Malone, with music direction by John Gelsinger and stage management by Karina Shorten of Rockland, the show is a musical drama by James Valcq (music and book) and Fred Alley (lyrics and book).

“The Spitfire Grill” has become one of the most often-produced new American musicals since it opened Off-Broadway in 2001 at Playwrights Horizons with more than 350 productions across the United States; from Canada to the Caribbean; from Korea to Germany; and from the United Kingdom to Japan. Based on the award-winning film by Lee David Zlotoff, it was nominated for best musical for the 2002 Outer Critics Circle Award and  Drama League Award and won the 2001 Richard Rodgers Production Award.

The story tells of a recently released parolee, Percy Talbot, arriving in the deserted town of Gilead, Wisconsin. She reports to Sheriff Joe Sutter, who procures her a room and a job at a ramshackle diner called the Spitfire Grill, run by crusty old widow Hannah Ferguson. When Hannah trips on the stairs and breaks her leg, she has Percy take over the Spitfire against the better wishes of her fiercely protective nephew Caleb. Percy is joined at the Spitfire by Caleb’s wife, Shelby. In the heat of the kitchen the two women are drawn together … and they hatch a plan that will change all their lives forever.

Soprano Savannah Creech, a singer/songwriter from Rockland and a Camden Hills Regional High School grad, will play the lead role of Percy Talbot. She performed in NMT’s inaugural season (“Six Women with Brain Death or Expiring Minds Want to Know” and also has worked at NMT’s children’s camps and as an assistant stage manager.

Tenor Tyler Johnstone of Belfast, a Belfast Area High School grad, will play Sheriff Joe Sutter. He has many performance credits in local theaters and school productions; and has starred in independent films by Jason Bannister and Harper Alexander and at the Maine Media Workshops.

Also Meg Nickerson of Belfast plays the role of Hannah Ferguson, owner of the Spitfire Grill. Nickerson has performed in and directed numerous productions for Camden Civic Theatre and Belfast Maskers; directed the annual BAHS musical for the past 14 years; and toured northern New England for 10 years with the very popular jazz/swing quartet Fascinatin’ Rhythm.

The role of Shelby Thorpe, Percy’s new friend, will be played by soprano Annie Watson of Whitefield, who received a degree in acting from Brown University in 2005. Her NMT performance credits include “Six Women with Brain Death,” “Closer Than Ever,” “Fame Takes a Holiday” and “Christmas Survival Guide.” Watson is president of the NMT board and the owner and creator of A. Watson Design, an event design firm.

Alto Kathryn Robyn of Belfast will play postmistress Effy Krayneck. Robyn is a writer and editor of business, literary, and theatrical works who has developed, produced and performed in live theater and musical events, including numerous concerts of original music in New England and New York.

Baritone John Coleman of Rockport will play Caleb Thorpe, an out-of-work foreman of the stone quarry. He is a guitar player and singer/songwriter who has been performing the local music scene for years.

The show is produced by NMT Artistic Director Ruth Gelsinger with set design by John Bielenberg of Belfast, costume design by Katheen Brown of Camden and light design by Michael Reidy of Lewiston. The musical drama is accompanied by a five-member orchestra including violinist Sophie Davis of Waldoboro; cellist Duncan Hall of Camden; keyboardist Bev Pacheco of Rockland; guitarist Tom Waterhouse of Waldoboro; with maestro Joani Mitchell of Rockland on piano. Show dates and times are Fridays and Saturdays, July 19, 20, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, July 21 and 28, at 3:30 p.m.

Northport Music Theater is a small, intimate nonprofit summer musical theater that produces contemporary American musical theater and provides summer camps for local students. The theater seats 128 people, has general admission seating, is air conditioned and handicapped accessible. It is located on Route 1, six miles south of Belfast and six miles north of Lincolnville Beach. For more information, call 338-8383 or visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or