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Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 10, 2014) -- California Baptist University's theater program will open the 2014-15 season this weekend with "Spitfire Grill: A Musical." Performances are Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 10-18, with a Thursday performance Oct. 16.

The story by James Valcq and Fred Alley is about Percy, a young woman recently released from prison seeking a new beginning. She looks for it in Gilead, Wisc., a small town bypassed by progress. Percy not only finds a fresh start, but also she brings new life to the area.

"I liked the themes of redemption," said Frank Mihelich, director of the production and assistant professor of theatre. "As she finds her redemption and comes alive again, she brings this town back to life with her. It's a real, kind of like death and resurrection story."

Junior Melanie Overton, a Christian Behavioral Science major, is part of the seven-member cast and plays Percy.

"Percy comes from a very dark and broken past that affects much of who she is in the play," Overton said. "It is a good challenge that has forced me to truly understand the effects of brokenness in our lives. I hope it causes people to look past the exterior to find the image of God in all those they encounter and that there is no heart too dark for God's light to transform."

"The Spitfire Grill" is a musical, the first one Mihelich has directed. The music is country and bluegrass with a little folk. Senior music major Mike Kestler is the play's music director.

"What I had to do was pick a really good music director and just trust him," Mihelich said. "What I've told him is, I direct the story, and you direct the music. It's much more collaborative."

Performances begin Friday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and continue on Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee and a 7:30 p.m. offering. The play will resume Thursday, Oct. 16 through Saturday, Oct. 18, with performances each evening at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. General admission tickets are $15, with discounts offered for matinees, senior citizens and CBU students, faculty, staff and alumni.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Wallace Theatre box office at 951.343.4319.

Performances later in the season include "Life is a Dream," which begins Nov. 14; "The Hiding Place" and "Phantom."