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‘Smoke’ returns
Beloved musical a popular draw
Smoke on the Mtn 9 es
Jared Davis, who plays Dennis Sanders, gets ready for the first performance of this year's showing of "Smoke on the Mountain" at The Cumming Playhouse. - photo by Emily Saunders

"Smoke on the Mountain" runs through Aug. 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sundays. There is a special Wednesday night showing July 15. Tickets are $20. Contact: (770) 781-9178 or

Now in its fourth year, “Smoke on the Mountain” remains the Cumming Playhouse’s most successful show.

Among the secrets to the show’s success is its consistency, said Linda Heard, playhouse director.

The PlayRight Productions show features the same cast this year as it has the past three. In fact, this year’s show will feature all 16 actors who have appeared as the show’s 12 characters over the years, said PlayRight co-owner Renee Davis.

“When they’re in the show, they want to keep doing it over and over again, so we had to find a way to get them all in,” she said. “We are really like a family off stage as well as on.

“We make brownies and chow down downstairs, and then we go upstairs and pretend to be another family.”

The show follows a pastor and his kin during a Saturday night church singing. The event, however, isn’t quite as organized as the pastor anticipated and the family tries to take over the event.

All the songs performed are well-known gospel tunes except for “Smoke on the Mountain,” which was written specifically for the musical.

Gospel music and the family-central theme of the show have made it popular for area churches, Heard said.

“I have placards made so when the show opens [and] the pastor is welcoming everyone ... we, of course, have given him a note that says which churches are there that night, so he recognizes them and they get to raise their placard and everybody cheers. It’s a lot of fun to see who brought the most people,” she said.

“I wish I had three more shows that people loved as much.”

Clark Castleberry, a member of Harmony Grove Baptist Church, said he’s been to the show for the past two years and probably will return this summer.

The senior citizens group at the church, he said, goes together.

“I just think it’s a real good, clean show and the actors do a real good job,” he said. “I have went with a group from my church and I have went alone ... [it’s] a good show for a church group to see.”

Because of the economy, Heard said prices have dropped from $25 to $20.

Regardless of ticket price, Davis said people keep coming.

“It has a following of people that want to see performances of it over and over,” she said. “I guess because there is so much wrapped up into one play.

“You can watch a certain character one time and then watch a different character the next time and you see the same play, but in a different point of view. It’s really cool.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at