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The Spitfire Grill - Musical in a Box

by Natalia Kirychuk, Student Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University’s theatre department will open its final show of the year, “The Spitfire Grill,” music and book by James Valcq and lyrics and book by Fred Alley. The show will be performed in an intimate, black box setting in the DeVries Theatre in the Stevens Student Center. The show runs from April 4-14.

Tickets for the show are available online at or can be bought at the door.

Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, “The Spitfire Grill” is a contemporary musical about recently paroled Percy (Emily Hunnemeyer of Cedarville, Ohio), who decides to start a new life in Gilead, Wisconsin. She becomes close to Hannah (Karlie Ward of Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania), the owner of the failing town restaurant. Together, they come up with an idea to save the restaurant, which turns out to be part of Percy’s redemption in surprising ways.


— Karlie Ward

“The audience is right in the middle of the grill with us and it makes for a very intimate environment that suits the deep and dark moments of the show, but we are quite literally stepping on the toes of the audience,” said Ward, sophomore integrated language arts education major.

“Acting gives me the opportunity to get inside the head of a different personality,” she continued. “I think understanding who you are talking to is a giant part of sharing the gospel and acting gives me an opportunity to practice understanding people, which would later help me build connections and friendships that could lead to sowing some gospel seeds!”

“I’m excited to integrate the knowledge I learned in nursing about trauma informed care into how I understand the show, my character, and the characters around me,” said Connor Haynes, junior nursing major from Indianapolis, Indiana who plays Gilead townie Shelby Thorpe. “The Spitfire Grill is a story of forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption in situations that seem next to impossible to work out. What is more gospel than that? It’s an honor to be a part of such a powerful story that shows that redemption is possible in every situation.”

Dr. Diane Conrad Merchant, who recently directed the fall show, “Fools,” by Neil Simon, is directing “The Spitfire Grill.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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