Theater at Bates to stage outdoor performances of "Smoke on the Mountain"

Theater at Bates will stage four performances of the bluegrass gospel musical “Smoke on the Mountain” at 7 p.m. May 19, at 2 and 7 p.m. May 20 and at 2 p.m. May 21 at the Florence Keigwin Amphitheater, overlooking Lake Andrews on the Bates College campus. Admission is free with no reservations accepted. Rain site will be Schaeffer Theatre. Call 207-786 6161 for more information.

In “Smoke on the Mountain,” written by Connie Ray and conceived Alan Bailey, the audience is invited to pull up a pew and join the congregation for a rollicking good time as The Rev. Oglethorpe has invited the Sanders Family Singers to provide an uplifting Saturday evening of singing and witnessing in Mount Pleasant, N.C. Set in 1938 in the hometown of the Mount Pleasant Pickle Factory, “Smoke on the Mountain” features more than two dozen vintage pop hymns and hilarious stories from the more-or-less devout Sanders family members.

“With its mixture of softened cracker-barrel humor, Christian sweetness and light and its attitude of gentle amusement at the squareness of it all …. ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ is a sunny place,” wrote The New York Times.

The New York Post called “Smoke on the Mountain,” “foot-stompin’ soul food that sings and plays with an abandon that is pure delight and not to be missed.”

The inauguaral theater production at the college’s recently rennovated Keigwin Amphitheater, “Smoke on the Mountain” features bluegrass gospel music directed by Pam Weeks, local country folk/bluegrass recording artist, and performed by a band composed of Bates students, staff and faculty as well as area residents. “Smoke on the Mountain” is directed by Paul Kuritz, professor of theater at Bates, with costumes designed by Erika Lilienthal, a Bates junior from Princeton, N.J.

John Forest, a Bates sophomore from Nashua, N.H., plays the role of Burl; Shirley Bernier plays the role of Vera; Arthur Ward, a Bates first-year student from Auburndale, Mass., plays the role of The Rev. Oglethorpe; Andrea Kornstein, a Bates sophomore from Short Hills, N.J., plays the role of June; Andrew Akre, a Bates first-year student from Hume, Va., plays the role of Dennis; Sarah Wilson, a Bates sophomore from Mediapolis, Iowa, plays the role of Denise; and Chris Mathien, a Bates senior from Veazie, Maine, plays the role of Stanley.

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