Fred Alley (L) and James Valcq at the George Street Playhouse in November, 2000
James Valcq composed the score of the Off-Broadway musical The Spitfire Grill (Playwrights Horizons, 2001) which won the Richard Rodgers Production Award administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Stephen Sondheim, chair; Ned Rorem, president) and received Best Musical nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League as well as two Drama Desk nominations (cast album: Triangle Road Records). The show, written with collaborator Fred Alley, has been produced over 300 times across the United States, in Germany, South Korea, the UK, and most recently in Japan. In 2010, The Spitfire Grill will have its Australian premiere. Also Off-Broadway, James was the composer/author of Zombies from The Beyond, which opened to critical acclaim in 1995 (cast album: Original Cast Records).
Other NYC credits include Fallout Follies at the York Theatre, Songs I Never Sang For My Father at the Village Theatre, and The Last Leaf, a collaboration with Tony-nominee Mary Bracken Phillips. Regionally, James has composed music for Love’s Labours Lost at Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing at Door Shakespeare, Tomas and the Library Lady at Idaho Theatre for Youth, an adaptation of the classic children’s book The Pancake King commissioned by Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre, and The Passage (another collaboration with Fred Alley) at American Folklore Theatre in Wisconsin.
Broadway credits as conductor and/or musician include Chicago, Flower Drum Song, Cabaret, Scarlet Pimpernel. Other conducting credits: Maurice Sendak’s production of Really Rosie (national tour), Candide, Lady in the Dark, South Pacific (Skylight Opera Theatre), and She Loves Me (Indiana Rep). James holds an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Fred Alley was the co-founder and Artist in Residence at American Folklore Theatre (AFT) in Door County, Wisconsin, a populist theatre with a seasonal audience of 50,000. At AFT, Mr. Alley collaborated on over twenty original shows with director Jeffrey Herbst, composer James Kaplan, co-founder Doc Heide, designers Neen Rock and Dave Alley, and frequent guest artists Paul Sills and James Maronek. It was at AFT that Mr. Alley first collaborated with James Valcq on The Passage, a new musical. His second collaboration with Mr. Valcq, The Spitfire Grill, received its world premiere at New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse before its Off-Broadway opening at Playwrights Horizons. Mr. Alley was also the librettist and lyricist of the musicals Guys on Ice, Lumberjacks in Love, and The Bachelors, all of which set box office records at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and are now winning new fans at regional theatres all across the country. Fred Alley died unexpectedly in May 2001.