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Family Musical Comedy Closes Totem Pole Season!

(standing) Anglea Brinton Mack, Clay Arthur, Meyer deLeeuw
(seated) Emily Herring, Tess Hartman, Bobby L. Taylor

Family Musical Comedy Closes Totem Pole Season!

The professional area premiere of Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming is the final production of the 2007 season at Totem Pole Playhouse playing from August 14th through the 26th. Conceived by Alan Bailey with a book by Constance Ray and musical arrangements by Mike Craver, the musical comedy for the entire family is guest sponsored by Patriot Federal Credit Union and provides the grand finale to the 57th season at the Caledonia State Park professional summer theatre.
"Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming is the third part of a winning musical trilogy," states Producing Artistic Director, Carl Schurr. "When we produced the original Smoke on the Mountain during the 1997 season, we knew we had discovered a real crowd pleaser. The production was so incredibly popular that we brought it back for a special one week only engagement before the 1998 season opened. The 2002 season closed with the second part of the series, Sanders Family Christmas and now we are excited to share the latest chapter with our audiences."
As with the first two plays, Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming is set in the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina just west of Hickory near the Blue Ridge Mountains. The principal industries in the area are farming and The Mount Pleasant Pickle Plant that makes everyone and everything smell of vinegar and dill. It is Saturday night, October 6, 1945, two months after VJ Day. The war is over, the boys are coming home, the Depression is a bad memory and the baby boom has begun. The Sanders Family first performed at Mount Pleasant Baptist on June 15, 1938 after a five-year hiatus from the Gospel Circuit. They returned to the church each year until the beginning of the war in 1941 and Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming marks their first performance in four years.
As with the first two comedies in the series, this third work combines traditional and new gospel songs interwoven into the fast-moving and hilarious plot. There are 23 songs in all and the accompaniment is provided by the actors themselves.
Returning to both the director's chair and appearing as Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe is popular actor David Hemsley Caldwell. Making their Totem Pole debuts are Bobby Taylor and Emily Herring as Burl and Vera, Mother and Father of the Sanders Family. Also appearing at the Playhouse for the first time is Angela Brinton Mack as twin daughter Denise. Playing her brother Dennis is Meyer deLeeuw seen earlier this season as Jinx in Forever Plaid. Clay Arthur who was a member of the orchestras of Plaid and Always...Patsy Cline portrays troubled Uncle Stanley and Totem Pole favorite Tess Hartman returns to play June who signs instead of singing.
The sanctuary of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church is designed by Russell Michael Schramm, Costumes are by Julia Bowers, Lighting by Michael D. Domue, Props by Jenny Smith and Paul Mills Holmes and Kathryn Murphy are the Production Stage Managers.
The "Getting to Know You" Post Show Discussion for this production is scheduled for Friday, August 24th, following the evening performance. This informal gathering provides audience members an opportunity to meet actors and staff members in a comfortable question and answer session.
Playing through August 12th at the Playhouse is Driving Miss Daisy, the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Comedy Drama by Alfred Uhry sponsored by F&M Trust.
For information on all Totem Pole Playhouse events including performance schedule and ticket prices, stop by the box office or call 717-352-2164 or 1-888-805-7056. Tickets may be ordered online at
There's a seat waiting for you at beautiful Totem Pole Playhouse!

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