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Smoke on the Mountain takes final bow
Theater group to end play this season
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Peggy Strickland as “Miss Myrtle,” from left, Dianne Martin as “Miss Maude,” and Rhonda Brown as “Miss Mildred” perform a little physical comedy that makes the audience laugh during the dress rehearsal of “Smoke on the Mountain” on Tuesday night at the Brenau Downtown Center. - photo by NAT GURLEY

‘Smoke on the Mountain’
When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8-10, 15-16 and 22-23 and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 11, 17-18 and 24-25.
Where: Brenau Downtown Center.
Cost: $17 adults, $13 seniors, students and children. Additional fee may apply if ordering by phone or Internet.
Call: 770-536-4677.

After 21 years of entertaining audiences with the fun, family-friendly play “Smoke on the Mountain,” the Georgia Mountain Players is wrapping up its final showing.

The show is set in a church in the 1940s, where three elderly women are reluctant to have a Saturday night singing group in their church. During the play, the singing group, The Sanders family, goes from offending the women to changing their hearts. Luckily for the audience, laughter is provided no matter what the three “old bitties” — Miss Mildred, Miss Maude and Miss Myrtle — think.

Tickets are $17 for adults and $13 for seniors, children and students. Tickets are limited, call the Georgia Mountain Players at 770-536-4677 for reservations.

The play starts today and runs through Aug. 25 at Brenau Downtown Center on Main Street in Gainesville.

While case members described the end of their run as bittersweet, they decided to stop performing because of health issues among the cast and their families. The decision came soon after the death of box office manager, Charlie Robocker, who lost his battle to cancer in November.

Out of the entire cast, five founding members remain a part of the play.

The players are closing the performance with a strong season ticket base, Georgia Mountain Players managing artistic director Mike Martin said.

Martin, who portrays Stanley, said he is pleased with the time spent as a part of the group, even if it did not seem so good in the beginning.

“We started this 21 years ago, and we weren’t that impressed with it when we started,” he said. “The audiences just absolutely loved it, and all put together, it is a fantastic show.”

As an original cast member, he said the experience has been rewarding overall.

“It’s been fantastic. There has never been a show like this, before or since, that I know of,” he said.

Other than Martin, original cast members include Dianne Martin, Peggy Strickland, Linda Smith and Stan Lee.

Founding members will all feel a sense of sadness to end a show they feel so close to, said Jene Robocker, a founding member of the group.

“It’s just hard to believe that this is our 21st year,” she said. “I feel like the (Georgia) Mountain Players have been so blessed over these years.”

Robocker contributes the success of the play to the audience itself.

“We owe this to our patrons who supported us over the years,” she said. “Without an audience, we couldn’t put on a play.

“We may have to get a mop when this is over with to wipe up the tears because it means so much to us.”

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