By Cristin Reece
Rusk, Texas – Tickets are on sale now for the Cherokee Civic Theatre’s production of Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, the third and last episode in the trilogy.
Smoke III takes place October 1945, as the second war world has ended and America’s starting to prosper again. The Sanders family is back on the road and visiting one of their favorite churches, the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina – home of the Mount Pleasant Pickle Factory.
“The Sanders family is back together again this time around,” CCT co-director Jerry Parker said. “Dennis is back from World War II, his twin sister Denise is mother to two twins of her own and sister June, who’s married to Pastor Mervin Olgethorpe, is eight months’ pregnant with their first child.”
Smoke co-director Sheilah O’Heaney added every original cast member returned to reprise their roles as the Sanders Family Singers, and that the family has grown considerably larger through the years.
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome the incredibly talented Lykins family to the cast,” O’Heaney said.
Lindy, Abby and Loren Lykins bring their musical expertise to the stage via the mandolin, fiddle and banjo and harmonica, respectively. The rest of the Mt. Pleasant Pickle Pickers include “Cousin Roy Bob” Reynolds on piano and Preston Parker on bass.
Other cast members include: Tiffany Hammock as Vera Sanders; David Hendley as Burl Sanders; Anthony Williams as Stanley Sanders; Castanya Breen as June Sanders Oglethorpe; Corey Folsmnbee as the Rev. Mervyn Oglethorpe; Zac Evans as the Rev. Dennis Sanders; Moira O’Heaney Debbs as Denise Sanders Culpepper; Ellis and Jay Russell as Weldon and Eldon.
The Halleluia & Amen Choir includes Cheryl Cameron, Ted Debbs, Sage Breen, Dixie Ellis, Teisha Ellis, Karen Hendley, Jerri Lykins, Jerry Parker and Sheilah O’Heaney. The Church Ladies are Camille Jones and Annette Young.
Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming opens Feb. 20-21 and continues Feb. 26-28.
Advance tickets for non-members are $10 for students and $12 for adults. At-the-door tickets are $15 each. Members may purchase additional tickets for $6, students; $9, adults. Discounts for groups are available. Reserve tickets or to find out how to become a member of the Cherokee Civic Theatre, call the box office, 903-683-2131, or visit the theatre’s website, www.cherokeetheatre.net. Tickets may be purchased in person by check, cash or credit card and online with credit cards as well.
The Cherokee Civic Theatre is located at 157 West Fifth St., one block off the courthouse square in historic downtown Rusk.
The theatre is also holding a raffle through the production. The Old Farmhouse Pottery in Maydelle, has generously donated a hand-thrown, one of a kind collectable pickle barrel, to be awarded during the last show. Tickets are $1 each and can be purchased at each production of the play. Patrons need not be present to win. Check out The Old Farmhouse Pottery’s website, www.farmpots.com.
The trilogy, written by Connie Ray, conceived by Alan Bailey, with musical arrangements by Mike Carver, is one of the longest running series of off-Broadway stage plays across the country. The first Smoke on the Mountain is presented annually, as an attraction in Branson, Missouri.