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Fun, uplifting ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ is back

Georgia Mountain Players stage popular musical for 19th season

POSTED: August 11, 2011 12:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

The Georgia Mountain Players present their annual performance of "Smoke on the Mountain" at the Georgia Mountains Center theater.

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The story of "Smoke on the Mountain" takes place more than 70 years ago, but the message still resonates with audiences today.

The proof of the show's popularity is the fact that this is the Georgia Mountain Players' 19th year of staging the production.

"After the first year, we thought we'd probably do it one more year since it was so popular," said Mike Martin the Players managing and artistic director.

"But every year, our audience says we can't stop doing it. We started out with just five performances, but then we had to keep adding shows to accommodate the crowd.

"We finally got up to 12 and said, ‘OK. That's it. We can't do any more.'"

The show's three-week run opens with an 8 p.m. performance tonight at the Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St. SW, Gainesville. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for children, students and seniors ages 60 and up.

The show continues to be so popular not just for the classic gospel numbers but also because they can recognize some of the characters.

"The show is set in 1938 in a little Baptist church in North Carolina," Martin said. "There's a new preacher at the church and he's invited a gospel-singing family to come perform. There's a group old matriarchs at the church who don't like change and aren't pleased with the new preacher.

"Eventually through their testimony, singing and witnessing, the family wins over the old matriarchs. The older crowd especially loves this show because they grew up in churches like this. And a lot of people say they know someone just like the old matriarchs."

Martin says the show is family friendly and features an audience-participation portion where kids get to join the actors on stage.

"It's a musical comedy," Martin said. "All of the testimonies are funny, but they are very sincere and have a great message. People love this show because it has such a good moral.

"It's a fun, fun show and very uplifting."



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