Smoke on the Mountain at Center on the SquareAug 05, 2011
By popular demand, Center on the Square, located at 111 West Arch on Searcy’s historic court square, presents a return of the hit gospel music comedy show “Smoke on the Mountain,” written by Connie Ray, conceived by Alan Bailey, with musical arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick, and featuring several of the original cast members from its debut at Center on the Square in 2005. A favorite from Broadway to Branson, Smoke on the Mountain has gained the distinction of being one of the most produced musicals in the nation, and has delighted audiences across the country since it’s debut in 1988.
Evening dinner performances are scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays, August 26 and 27, September 2, 3, 9, and 10 at Center on the Square, with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. and curtain one hour later. A Sunday matinee performance is scheduled for Sunday, September 11, with lunch beginning at 12:30 p.m. and curtain one hour later. Dinner reservations are $27 regular admission and $24 for seniors for evening performances. Matinee reservations are $24 regular admission and $21 for seniors.
A special Pizza Playhouse performance is scheduled for Thursday, September 1, with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and curtain one hour later. Reservations for Pizza Playhouse are $18. Show only tickets to all performances will be sold on an as-available basis beginning 15 minutes prior to curtain for all shows for $13.50 regular show-only admission and $10 for seniors and students. Reservations and cancellations for dinner are required at least 24 hours in advance. Reservations are available by calling the Center on the Square box office at 501-368-0111 or online at www.centeronthesquare.org.
It’s 1938 and you are invited to join the congregation at the Mount Pleasant Church “first ever Saturday Night Sing". The Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe (played by Phillip Miller) has invited the somewhat wacky tornado that is the Sanders Family Singers (Vera-Lana Hallmark, Burl-Jackie Stewart, Stanley-Joe Clement, Dennis-Dillon Holden, Denise-Lauren Lawson, and June-Montana Wallace) to provide an uplifting evening of singin’ and witnessin’.
This delightfully entertaining evening brings some of the best old gospel tunes ever written including: ‘Church in the Wildwood’, ‘Wonderful Time Up There’ and ‘I'll Fly Away’. The musical is based on the author's real-life experience, making Smoke a world of roof-raising song and riotous comedy.
So, pull up a pew and join the congregation at Mount Pleasant Church as they unite for a foot-stomping festival of joy. Smoke on the Mountain is a magnificent blend of story and song that will have you clapping, singing, laughing and cheering.
Smoke on the Mountain is directed by Lana Hallmark, with musical direction provided by Neva White. In the performance of the 18 old-time gospel songs in the show, the cast is joined by several area bluegrass musicians – most of whom have performed with the cast in previous productions – and a bevy of beautiful church ladies.
“All of the Sanders Family shows, and especially Smoke on the Mountain, have proven to be our most enduringly popular productions,” said director Lana Hallmark. “I have to confess that when we first did Smoke on the Mountain here in 2005, it was a little intimidating to produce a show that has been seen by so many people in venues all over the country, but the cast handled the material wonderfully and our audiences loved it. Countless people have told me how much they loved the show and want to see it again. And for those of us in the cast who have been together so long, it’s like coming home for a reunion, and a chance to welcome new members to the family.”
Smoke on the Mountain is produced by Lana Hallmark and Center on the Square in conjunction with Samuel French Publishing of New York. The premier sponsor for the production is First Security Bank and the associate sponsor is White County Medical Center.
Center on the Square is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the expansion and appreciation of the performing arts in the region. Contributions are welcome and are tax-deductible.
Photo: From the 2008 production of Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, Burl Sanders (Jackie Stewart), Vera Sanders (Lana Hallmark), and Denise Sanders (Lauren Lawson) lead the singing at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. The three reprise their roles in the upcoming Smoke on the Mountain at Center on the Square in Searcy, opening August 26. Interested persons may call the theater box office for more information at 501-368-0111 or visit www.centeronthesquare.org.