This is not our local troupe, but a good preview of the show!
Last night Mike and Mignon Riley treated Maggy and me to a wonderful time at the Strauss Theatre to see Smoke on the Mountain. This was our first visit to a production of the local little theatre, and it was a fantastic time.
For those unfamiliar, Smoke on the Mountain is a musical that takes place circa 1938 at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. The Sanders Family is a gospel singing family that hasn’t performed in five years, and the musical presents their return to the circuit. There is a quirky funny preacher, the singing family, and two church ladies on the front row giving approval or disapproval.
As we arrived at the theatre, the cast was mixing with the crowd in character. Of course we didn’t know at first that they were in character. Hailey Hatcher played the role of June Sanders, the one member of the Sanders family who doesn’t sing – she signs.
Mike Riley went in just in front of me so I heard him ask her if she was one of the singers. She said, “no, momma always said I couldn’t sing, so I sign.” Mike was immediately intrigued and said, “my daughter Sarah signs”. Being the excellent conversationalist that he is, he then told her an anecdote about Sarah having to the sign the word Nebuchadnezzar during a sermon. Ms. Hatcher did not blink an eye, staying in character acting interested. Once the play started, it became apparent that June Sanders was the one doing the signing, but who just made it up as she went along. She was hilarious … but made even funnier because she went along with Mike’s conversation acting like she was a true signer.
Our couple performing as Burl and Vera Sanders are in real life Scott and Gayle Frick. They are both so talented and used to perform professionally. I hope we can get them to come and do something at one of our get-togethers sometime. They were fantastic.
I kept my eye on Mickey Cannon’s portrayal of Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe … he was cracking me up most of the time. He was so … preachery.
The cast was outstanding…not a dud in the bunch actually. I think my favorite, though, was Caleb Wilkins’ portrayal of Dennis Sanders. He has such hilarious facial expressions, he kept me rolling.
The old gospel songs were fantastic and I enjoyed them so much. During the testimonials one almost forgot that this was a play. I especially liked the one by Janet Housley playing Clare Johnson Sanders. It was very touching. Dwight Housley’s Stanley Sanders had a wonderful testimonial as well.
There are only a few more nights of the performance, so if you live near Monroe try to make it to this fantastic performance. This is the 396th production of the Little Theatre of Monroe. Maggy and I look forward to future shows.
Maggy, Mike, & Mignon
Thanks for reading,