The Spitfire Grill heats up for opening night

Alexa Parker, Sara Siwinski and Desira Lora (left to right) rehearse for The Spitfire Grill, which opens Feb. 19. Photo by Caitlin Richards.

By Caitlin Richards

William Peace University’s Theatre Department is presenting The Spitfire Grill from Feb. 19-23. This musical is different than other musicals, one of the reasons being that the cast is smaller and more intimate. The musical spotlights three women supporting each other through their own personal struggles.

“I think one of the reasons why this show is so great – especially this time of year – is it’s about love but it’s not about romantic love, which I think is something under-celebrated,” said Amy White, The Spitfire Grill Director. “Instead, it’s about three women in particular who find support and love in each other and learn how to lift each other up, which is not something that we see a lot represented on stage.”

The plot of the musical is about a woman, Percy Talbot, played by Sara Siwinski, who has a past that is more difficult than people might understand. She leaves her own town for a fresh start in Wisconsin where she works at The Spitfire Grill – the only small eatery in town – that her parole officer, Joe Sutter, played by Davyous Melvin, got her.

The Spitfire Grill is for sale, but with no interested buyers, Hannah, played by Desire Lora, decides to raffle it off.

For Talbot, she’s leaving behind the past, but for the owner of the grill and new friends, she helps with the struggles of their own and brings the area back to life.

“This character is special to me because I feel like I relate to this character on another level,” said Siwinski. “Not specifically what she’s been through, but the levels of what she’s been through. So the emotion behind it which makes it a very interesting character to play but also on a personal level it’s also kind of invigorating.”

As Talbot begins working at the grill, she soon gets to know the regulars and makes more of an impact in the town than expected. While working at the grill, she meets her new best friend Shelby Thorpe, played by Alexa Parker, and begins opening up to her about her past.

“I feel like – not that I’m playing myself – but that I’m being true to the character and being really organic and that’s what I really want, is to just portray her story the best that I can,” said Siwinski.

This musical celebrates fresh starts and the power of what one person can do. No matter someone’s background, this musical dives into emotion and hits on the importance of loving one another and second chances.

“This show has so many stories within one story that can speak to a lot of people. I think it’s a very moving show. I think people can get a lot out of it,” said Siwinski.

From the opening act all the way to the closing, the musical holds on to the audiences’ attention and takes them on an emotional roller coaster. You’ll laugh, cry and get wrapped up in each one of the characters’ stories.

“It’s got some powerhouse leading ladies which I think is really wonderful to see. It’s also just a fun story with really good music. A lot of times in musicals we hear the big sweeping classic musicals – very broadway-esque – and this is the different side of musical theatre. It’s folksy and small and gritty. There’s no dancing in it really, so I think it’s an opportunity to see something different than what we normally do in our department,” said White.

There’s no doubt that these WPU theatre performers have been working tirelessly as their passion for telling stories on stage is both seen and felt.

“I just hope people come out and see it. I think it’s very heartwarming and a really lovely story. It certainly hasn’t been easy for our students, and their hard work deserves to be witnessed,” said White.

Spitfire Grill will be performing in Leggett Theatre located on the second floor of Main at WPU. For showtimes and tickets, visit 

Photo by Caitlin Richards

Pictured from left to right, Alexa Parker, Sara Siwinski and Desire Lora during rehearsal

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