At a glance
The Cumming Playhouse presents “Smoke on the Mountain” at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sundays through June 26. Tickets are $25 or $20 for groups of 15 or more. Tickets can be purchased online at www.playhousecumming.com or by calling (770) 781-9178.
A Cumming Playhouse favorite has returned, but with some new faces.
“Smoke on the Mountain,” which saw sold-out crowds from 2006-09, began a four-week run under the direction of a new acting company Thursday.
Running through June 26, the performers of the Jasper-based North Georgia Acting Company, are bringing to life the Sanders Family Singers and the congregation of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.
Set in 1938, “Smoke on the Mountain” is the story of the singers who make a visit to the North Carolina church for an old-time gospel singing.
Linda Heard, executive director of the playhouse, called the show “an all-time favorite” for the venue.
“[That] was made evident by record attendance highs,” she said.
Two other acting companies presented the show — Medallion Performing Arts in 2006 and Playright Productions from 2007 to 2009.
Heard said she’s looking forward to North Georgia Acting Company’s rendition.
“Each theatre company presents ‘Smoke’ according to their own artistic interpretation,” Heard said. “You will find that NGAC presents the play most authentically with simplicity and honesty, basic traits of old-time religion in the South.”
A major part of the show is the classic gospel hymns the actors perform.
The show’s director, Ross Galbreath, said the cast has been rehearsing since March due to the musical aspects of the show.
“All the performers sing and play their own instruments,” he said. “So this show takes a little more time for rehearsals than a lot of shows.”
Galbreath said he and the cast of nine are all excited to be performing at the playhouse.
“It’s a great facility with great, very knowledgeable people,” he said. “Everyone’s been really nice and they’ve just welcomed us with very open arms.”
This marks the company’s first venture outside of Jasper, though Galbreath said it probably won’t be the last.
“Our philosophy is to bring entertainment to other areas in north Georgia so there are more arts in different communities,” he said.
As far as the drive from Jasper in the north Georgia mountains, Galbreath said “it hasn’t been that bad” at about 40 minutes one way.
“We have done a lot of carpooling,” he said. “The hardest thing is just making sure you have everything you need because you can’t just turn around and go back home and get it if you don’t.”
The drive hasn’t put any damper on the actors’ enthusiasm, he said.
“In the [north Georgia] theater world, the Cumming Playhouse is one of those places that everyone wants to do a show at and ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ is a great show with a great meaning,” he said. “So this is a big honor for us.”