Spitfire Returns for Second Weekend, Entry to CUTF

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University will present another weekend of performances for the musical production Spitfire Grill, with 8 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3 and a reprise on March 5 as the school’s entry into the Christian University Theatre Festival held here.

Held in the Harral Studio Theatre on the Plainview campus, the show is a story of redemption set in the small town of Gilead, Wis., where grill owner Hannah has grown old and bitter. Gilead newcomer and ex-convict Percy fights for acceptance as she battles her own past, while the town has its own issues.

A musical based on the movie of the same name, Spitfire Grill is a collaboration with Wayland’s relatively new opera and musical theatre program and director Jeff Kensmoe. The play stars Plainview freshman Rachel Morgan as Percy and Rebecca Ballinger of Lubbock as Hannah, with supporting roles by Alicia Alford, Chris Smith, Jeremy Walker, Tim Fisher, Hannah Stewart, Sarah Bolyard, Stephanie Ciszek, Conner Davis, Khrystyne Eckerd, Jessie Else, Thomas Hoffman and Rachel Morrison.

The play will mark the first performance of the Christian University Theatre Festival, which WBU has hosted for the past several years. It will be performed at 8 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the Harral Studio Theatre.

Other CUTF performances will include Book of Liz by Amy and David Sedaris, performed by Howard Payne University, on stage at 2 p.m. on March 6. The play is a comedy about Liz, a girl from the Amish-like community of Cluster Haven who works at a cheese ball factory and ultimately leaves the town to explore the world. She takes a job at a restaurant and moves in with a Ukrainian couple, searching for who she is in this very different place.

Hardin-Simmons University will perform All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare at 8 p.m. on March 6. Tickets to any of the CUTF productions are $2 each. The play involves Helena, a lowborn beauty, who is granted the hand of Count Bertram after curing his father the King of a fistula. Bertram soon leaves for war, thinking he’d rather face death in battle than a marriage to someone below his rank. He writes her a challenge to gain his loyalty and, through cunning plans, she meets his challenge.

Jim McDermott of Lubbock will serve as respondent for the festival, providing commentary and discussion with the cast and audience after each production. A doctoral student at Texas Tech University, McDermott has directed several productions at Tech, including Caprock Celtic Christmas, The Real Inspector Hound, La Voix Humane, and The Woman in Black. He also directed Richard Cory while at the University of Kentucky and Twelfth Night for the Central Coast Shakespeare Festival in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He has acted in numerous productions throughout his higher education career, including roles in several Shakespeare plays and the musicals Little Shop of Horrors, Damn Yankees and West Side Story among others.

Tickets for the weekend Spitfire Grill production are $8 for the public and $4 for students. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 291-1089.