published Friday, July 29th, 2011

‘Smoke on the Mountain’ series takes final bow at Colonnade

IF YOU GO

What: “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming.”

When: 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday and Aug. 5-6; 1 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 6.

Where: Catoosa County Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, Ga.

Admission: $15 adults, $12 students/seniors, $11 groups.

Phone: 706-935-9000.

Website: www.colonnadecenter.org.

THE PLAYERS

The cast of “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” includes one actress who has been in all 10 Sanders family shows at the Catoosa County Colonnade and six others with experience in multiple “Smoke” productions.

10 shows: Gayle Carter (portraying Miss Myrtle).

9 shows: Jason Carter (Uncle Stanley).

7 shows: Kim Jenkins (June Sanders Oglethorpe) and Angie Bridges (matriarch Vera Sanders).

6 shows: Susan Clark (Miss Maude).

4 shows: Kevin Moore (patriarch Burl Sanders).

2 shows: Tom Jenkins (Rev. Oglethorpe).

First-timers: Chris Deal (Dennis Sanders) and Jessica Smith (Denise Sanders).

When the Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe bids goodbye to the singing Sanders family this time, it’s really goodbye.

“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming,” the 10th and final “Smoke on the Mountain” musical presented by the Community Players at the Catoosa County Colonnade, will open today. It continues with five additional performances through Aug. 6.

“Sometimes, we get a little teary,” managing director Kim Parrish said of rehearsals for the final show. “It’s been loved so much by the community.”

“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” finds the Rev. Oglethorpe preaching his last service at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, having married Sanders daughter June and been called to leave his North Carolina home to preach in Texas.

Parrish said this production is “hysterical” and feeds off humor such as June’s pregnancy, her preacher husband’s new 10-gallon hat and desire to go gunslingin’ for the Lord, and Denise Sanders’ holy-terror twins.

This is the Community Players’ second presentation of the third in the series of “Smoke” productions, following “Smoke on the Mountain” and “Smoke on the Mountain Christmas.”

It was last presented at the Colonnade in 2008.

The production is similar in structure to the other “Smokes,” according to Parrish, who co-directs the show with Amy Carter, but contains “a lot of new songs, a lot you’ll recognize and a medley of gospel hymns you know.”

Parrish said she couldn’t be happier with the ensemble.

“I really feel like we’re giving our best performances,” she said. “There’s a real feeling of camaraderie and spirit.”

Parrish, who also leads the new Walker County Community Theater, estimated the various “Smoke” productions have played to more than 10,000 people since their 2002 debut at the Colonnade.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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