Gilead: a small town nestled in the woods of Wisconsin where everyone knows everyone. The Spitfire Grill is the place to be in Gilead. You can talk to your friends and order your favorite meal from owner Hannah Ferguson, but it’s also a place to get a fresh start. Percy Talbott, a woman who was recently released from prison, plans to do just that. Gilead is the perfect town to live out the rest of her life, and the Spitfire gives her a chance to do so.

Percy Talbott (Sierra Durand) sings "Out of the Frying Pan" as she struggles to maintain the Spitfire Grill on her own.

Percy Talbott (Sierra Durand) sings "Out of the Frying Pan" as she struggles to maintain the Spitfire Grill on her own. Photo credit: Matthew Patterson

The Fullerton College Theatre Arts Department will open its second show of the semester, The Spitfire Grill, tonight at 7:30 p.m. It is a timeless story of acceptance, starting anew, and finding yourself while making lifelong friends along the way.

Percy is on a mission to make a better life for herself after being imprisoned for years. In hopes that Gilead is the place for her, she takes a job at the Spitfire Grill, the only restaurant in town. On her journey, the audience sees Percy struggle to fit in and make a life for herself, while she slowly starts to adjust and make friends in this small town.

“It’s a classic coming of age and acceptance story,” said Sierra Durand, who plays main character Percy Talbott. “Percy feels worthless and feels that she doesn’t deserve love because of what happened to her, so I feel like this is a great story about her journey of finding and accepting herself for who she is.”

Percy Talbott (Sierra Durand), Hannah Ferguson (Morgan Delaney), and Shelby Thorpe (Alyssa Thomas) read letters from people who want to inherit the grill.

Percy Talbott (Sierra Durand), Hannah Ferguson (Morgan Delaney), and Shelby Thorpe (Alyssa Thomas) read letters from people who want to inherit the grill. Photo credit: Matthew Patterson

While it might be shocking for audiences to hear why Percy ended up in prison, it is nonetheless a story that relates to struggles in life that everyone goes through. While watching, you’ll find that these characters are just normal people trying to find and create their own version of happiness in life.

“This show shows how small towns can fail but also how they can thrive again,” said assistant director Karalyn Chaffin. “This cast really does a good job of showing that side of reality for those towns.”

The play gives viewers a well-rounded experience with not only great acting, but moving musical numbers. Alyssa Thomas, who plays Shelby Thorpe, sings musical numbers such as the piece “Wild Bird” that is sure to give audiences goosebumps.

“The music is soulful and emotional, and the story has a lot of heart,” said director Susanna Vaughan. “I think doing this show as we’re coming out of a pandemic makes the story feel more poignant. We’ve all just lived through a time of isolation and fear, which many of the characters in this show are experiencing.”

The amazing performance from the cast puts heart and soul into this musical. The Spitfire Grill, a story that relays the highs and lows that life brings, will make you laugh, cry, and have you rooting for all the characters in the end.

Percy Talbott (Sierra Durand), Shelby Thorpe (Alyssa Thomas), and Hannah Ferguson (Morgan Delaney) read a letter from a person who wants the Spitfire Grill.

Percy Talbott (Sierra Durand), Shelby Thorpe (Alyssa Thomas), and Hannah Ferguson (Morgan Delaney) read a letter from a person who wants the Spitfire Grill. Photo credit: Matthew Patterson

“To me, this story means change,” said Morgan Delaney who plays Hannah Ferguson. “Not only are all the characters going through their own changes, but the actors playing them have been going through their own changes too by trying to portray these characters. This show portrays a big turning point in life for the characters and that has affected how the actors play them.”

Coming-of-age stories aren’t a new concept. These stories are portrayed in countless TV shows, movies, and more. But there is a reason for it: they are timeless. Audiences watching this production will see that even though The Spitfire Grill isn’t bringing anything new to the table, it is a timeless piece of art.

“This is about finding beauty even if you aren’t in the best situation,” said Barry Ko who portrays Joe Sutter. “Hopefully, the audiences will leave the show looking for beauty in places where it might not be the most obvious.”

The Spitfire Grill has its first showing tonight at 7:30 p.m. You can watch the show Dec. 1 through Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in FC’s Bronwyn Dodson Theatre. Tickets are selling for $16.00 on presale and $19.00 at the door.

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