University Theater opens season this weekend with “The Spitfire Grill”

Natalie Martzial as Percy Talbott, Molly Galano as Hannah Ferguson and Connor Bezeredi as Sheriff Joe Sutter in a scene from The Spitfire Grill, opening Friday, Oct. 17 at YSU in Ford Theater.

Natalie Martzial as Percy Talbott, Molly Galano as Hannah Ferguson and Connor Bezeredi as Sheriff Joe Sutter in a scene from The Spitfire Grill, opening Friday, Oct. 17 at YSU in Ford Theater.

University Theater opens its 2014-15 season this weekend with the musical, “The Spitfire Grill.”

The show runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-19 and 24-26 in Ford Theater in Bliss Hall on the Youngstown State University campus. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., while the Sunday matinee performances are at 2 p.m.

“Every once in a while a musical comes along that combines a great musical score along with a deeply moving and refreshing story—’The Spitfire Grill’ is one of those musicals,” said Matthew Mazuroski, assistant professor in the Department of Theater and Dance and director of the show. “I cannot think of a better musical for the people of Youngstown. It is a small musical with an enormous heart.”

“The Spitfire Grill,” a 2013 Jeff Awards nominee for Best Production of a Musical, is about a feisty parolee who follows her dreams to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. The musical is based on the film by Lee David Zlatoff, the music and book is by James Valcq, and lyrics and book by Fred Alley.

Students cast in the play include: Mark Warchol of Poland, Ohio, Theater Studies; Carly Magnuson, Canfield, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Connor Bezeredi, Salem, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Eric Shonk, Canal Winchester, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Natalie Martzial, Youngstown, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Alli Dolphin, Salem, Ohio, Theater Studies; Katie Jerome, Westlake, Ohio, Musical Theater; and Emily Shipley, Struthers Ohio, Musical Theater.

Community theater performer Molly Galano fills the role of Hannah Ferguson. The veteran performer is originally from Jackson, Wyo. She moved to the Youngstown area 15 years ago, along with her husband, Samuel, and her two sons, Jesse and Cheney Morgan. Since arriving in Ohio, she has been involved in numerous productions in several venues, including The Youngstown Playhouse, New Castle Playhouse, the Trumbull New Theater, The Rust Belt Theater, the Oakland Center for the Arts, and The Victorian Players. “The Spitfire Grill” is her first opportunity to work at YSU, her son Cheney’s alma mater (2013). “I’ve enjoyed working on this production with such talented actors, and such a talented director, musical director, and technical staff,” she said.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the University Theater Box Office at 330-941-3105. Tickets are free for YSU students with an ID; $15 for adults; $10 for senior citizens, YSU faculty and staff and high school and college students from other universities, Penguin Club members and YSU alumni. Parking is available in the Wick Avenue deck for a nominal fee.