The Bluegrass Gospel Musical SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN Opens This Weekend At Totem Pole Playhouse
Totem Pole Playhouse, America's summer theatre, located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, PA has announced the return of Smoke on the Mountain one of the best-loved and most audience-requested musicals in the 69-year history of the venerable Playhouse. The hugely popular Bluegrass Gospel stage musical was first presented during the 1997 season and was so successful it returned again the next year in 1998.
The show will feature the same score of well-known bluegrass-inspired Gospel standards as the production 22 years ago but with a new set designed by Totem Pole's veteran scenic designer, James Fouchard, costumes designed by Gettysburg College's Costume Designer and Theatre Arts Adjunct Instructor, Juls Beuhrer, and lighting deigned by Jeremy Mayo. David Caldwell, who appeared in the cast of the original 1997 Totem Pole production is directing, musical directing and staging the 2019 version. Caldwell directed last season's productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Mamma Mia!, the latter of which broke Totem Pole's all-time box office record with over $300,000.00 in ticket sales. Caldwell also has the distinction of having directed over 30 productions of Smoke on the Mountain across the U.S.
The seven person cast features local physician, Ken Griggs, from Chambersburg Imaging Associates, who appeared in over 50 professional stage productions prior to his career in medicine. Griggs, who recently moved to the area, was approached by Totem Pole's Producing Artistic Director, Rowan Joseph, to join the cast of professional actors from New York and around the country to portray the role of uncle 'Stanley Sanders.' Madison Hagler, who played 'Naphtali' one of the 12 brothers in Totem Pole's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last season, returns in the role of 'Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe,' pastor of the fictional Mount Pleasant Baptist Church where the play takes place. Playing the rest of the Sanders Family Singers are New York based actors, Julia Hoffmann and Caleb Adams, as the twins 'Denise and Dennis Sanders', Malka Wallick as their sister, 'June Sanders," and Alison Rose Munn as Ma 'Vera Sanders.' Kansas City based actor, Michael Amoroso, plays the family's patriarch, 'Burl Sanders.'
Smoke on the Mountain tells the story of a Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features 24 rousing bluegrass songs played and
sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus. Pastor Oglethorpe, the young and enthusiastic minister of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church,
has enlisted the Sanders Family in his efforts to bring his tiny congregation into "the modern world." Between songs, each family member "witnesses" - telling the story about an important event in their life. Songs include "No Tears in Heaven," "Wonderful Time Up There," "I'm Taking a Flight," and "I'll Fly Away."
As with all Totem Pole's productions the first three performances are half-price previews with tickets $25.00 and seating general admission. Additionally; this summer, Totem Pole instituted a new "Date Night Special" with patrons offered 50% off a second pair of tickets when they purchase one pair at full-price.
The production opens this Sunday at 2pm with the audience invited to greet the cast and enjoy some summer refreshments after the show as part of admission.
Tickets, gift certificates and a variety of subscriptions packages are on sale now by calling the Totem Pole Playhouse Box Office Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (717) 352-2164.