'Smoke on the Mountain'

Cast members from Meadville Community Theatre's upcoming production of 'Smoke on the Mountain' are (front, from left) Katie Wickert as June Sanders, Mike Shea as Stanley Sanders, Zack Johnson as Dennis Sanders; (back) Kathy Webb as Denise Sanders, Randy Winner as Pastor Oglethorpe, Bill Fuller as Burl Sanders and Marge Winner as Vera Sanders.

Meadville Community Theatre presents "Smoke on the Mountain," which opens on March 16.

"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 two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders family, a traveling family singing group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus.

Audiences may delight in well-known favorites such as “Angel Band,” “I’ll Fly Away” and “Church in the Wildwood,” as well as the lesser known “Filling Station” and “Christian Cowboy.”

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 gospel songs, each family member “witnesses” — telling a story about an important event in their life.

Though they try to appear perfect in the eyes of a congregation who wants to be inspired by their songs, one thing after another goes awry and they reveal their true — and hilariously imperfect — natures. By the evening’s end, the Sanders family have endeared themselves by revealing their weaknesses and allowing the audience to share in their triumphs.

Under the direction of Tom Hall and Carla Szalewicz, cast members include Bill Fuller, Marge and Randy Winner, Kathy Webb, Mike Shea, Zack Johnson and Katie Wickert.

"Smoke on the Mountain" runs March 16 to 25, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 at 400 N. Main St., Meadville, in the Odd Fellows Building.

Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Group rates are available for groups 10-plus.

"Smoke on the Mountain" was conceived by Alan Bailey, with book by Connie Ray and musical arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick. It is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc.

• For reservations: Call the box office at 333-1773 or visit squareup.com/store/MCT1967.

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