February 2016

Smoke on the Mountain Promises Contagious Laughter

Author: Barbara K. Clark | Photographer: Kellie McCann

Choosing a season of shows for community theatre is always a challenge for those tasked with the decisions. I recently had the pleasure of sharing my knowledge of the theatre with family and friends. Their comments were: “We didn’t know so much went into a production.” The last two shows of our May River Theatre 2015-16 season were unknown to our board, but the content was what we thought our audiences would enjoy. Our fall show, You Haven’t Changed a Bit (and other lies!) sold out seven of nine performances! Smoke on the Mountain will close our fourteenth season, and based on the content and the talented cast, it promises to be another box office hit. The show will open February 19 and play through Sunday March at Ulmer Auditorium in Bluffton’s Town Hall.

Set in North Carolina in 1938, Smoke on the Mountain follows the Sanders Family Singers as they perform at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s Saturday Night Gospel Sing. Meet a talented family… quirky, flawed and uniquely entertaining! Become the congregation and enjoy more than 30 classic gospel tunes that bring us all back to a much simpler time. Laugh at their crazy antics with downright contagious laughter. Sing along and witness a heartwarming conclusion that reminds us all what it means to be a family.

Smoke on the Mountain was conceived by Alan Bailey and written by Connie Ray. Musical arrangements are by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick. The musical is being presented with permission from Samuel French and is reported to be one of the most produced shows worldwide.

The show is directed by May River Theatre veteran Scott Grooms. Beth Corry, another MRT vet, is the music director and husband Jeff, playing bass, will be on stage with her throughout.

Playing the patriarch of the Sanders family is newcomer, Dennis Congrove, along with another newcomer, Cyndi Shedd, who plays Sanders’ wife. More of the Sanders clan are newcomers Matt Davey as Dennis and David Southern as Burl Sanders. Rounding out the Sanders family are vets Rebecca Donaldson as June and Christa Fortney as Denise. Mark Erickson, last seen in No Time for Sergeants is Pastor Oglethorpe. Henry Clark, also an MRT veteran, will play guitar for the show. 

Smoke on the Mountain plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m., February 19 through March 6. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (843) 815-3581, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting February 8.

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