Maine State Music Theatre & Portland Stage present
Smoke on the Mountain
Playwright Book by Connie Ray, Conceived by Alan Bailey
Music & Lyrics arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick
Director Jeff Stockberger
Dates Aug 3 - Aug 28, 2022
Digital on Demand Dates: Aug 18 to Sep 11, 2022
Run Time Approximately 2 hours including intermission
PRICE $25-$75 • discounts - seniors 65+; groups of 10 or moreGet In-Theater TicketsGet Digital-On-Demand Tickets
About the Play
Book by Connie Ray
Conceived by Alan Bailey
Musical arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick
Smoke on the Mountain tells the hilarious and heartwarming story of a Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus – Concord Theatricals
Smoke on the Mountain is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com
Please note the following masking policy for Smoke on the Mountain:
Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat • Masks are recommended.
Thu & Sun • Masks are required.
Subject to change based on COVID risk levels in Cumberland County
Portland Stage is Air Conditioned and has state of the art air purification system.
Discounts available for Seniors (65+) & Groups of 10 or more.
1st Tue, Wed, & Thu
All Other Show Times
Digital on Demand
About the Creators
Connie Ray (Book Writer) is a playwright and actress who divides her time between LA and NYC. She wrote the musicals Smoke on the Mountain, Sanders Family Christmas and Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, three of Samuel French’s most popular titles. Her musicals and plays have been produced off-off-Broadway, off-Broadway, regionally and around the world.
On Broadway, she appeared in Hands on a Hardbody, Next Fall and The Heidi Chronicles. Films include Flags of Our Fathers, Thank You For Smoking, About Schmidt and Hope Floats, among others. TV: Star of The Torkelsons, recurring guests on The Big C, Justified and Entourage, among many others.
Alan Bailey (Conceiver) co-authored one of the country’s most frequently produced musicals, Smoke on the Mountain, which ran more than 500 performances at the Lamb’s Theatre in New York, garnering award nominations from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. It was named one of the ten best plays of the year by Time magazine, The New York Times, and the Associated Press. Smoke on the Mountain and its sequels Sanders Family Christmas and Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming are among Samuel French’s most frequently produced plays.
Additionally, Mr. Bailey has written eight plays that have been produced regionally; he contributed to the musical scores of six of these shows, including the cult favorite Henry the 8th at the Grand Ole Opry. His play Wedding Belles was a semi-finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association’s Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Award, recognizing the best plays of the year that premiered professionally outside New York City.
Alan, a Macon, Georgia native, is a five-time undefeated Jeopardy champion and multi-tournament Jeopardy veteran. Additionally, he is not only one of the few humans to defeat IBM’s computer Watson in a Jeopardy match, he holds the record for having beat that fearsome son-of-a-bitch computer by the biggest margin of any player who lived to tell it.
Mike Craver (Co-Musical Arranger) is a North Carolina-based songwriter, actor, and composer. Off-Broadway credits include The Oil City Symphony (co-author and original cast member, cast recording, Drama Desk award), Smoke on the Mountain (arrangements, published by Samuel French), Radio Gals (co-author and original cast member, cast recording, LA Ovation award, published by Samuel French), Wilder (co-author and original cast), original music for Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, and Bland Simpson and Jim Wann’s Diamond Studs (cast recording and band). Mike also arranged and wrote original material for Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming (published by Samuel French).
He has worked in theatres across the country, including the Pasadena Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA. Commissioned work includes three musicals (Bosh and Moonshine, The Belle of Wabash, Sarah Bernhardt in Texas, and Oklahoma Hale and Damnation) based on a troupe of actors and musicians touring the American West during the 19th century. Mike collaborated with southern novelist Clyde Edgerton on a musicalization of Edgerton’s novel Lunch at the Piccadilly.
Mike graduated from the University of North Carolina and was a member of the Red Clay Ramblers for many years. Recorded work includes nine Red Clay Ramblers albums. Craver has released three solo albums – Fishing for Amour, Wagoner’s Lad and Shining Down – and recordings of two musical projects with Clyde Edgerton – Lunch at the Piccadilly and The Bible Salesman. He currently plays with the old time string band Craver, Hicks, Watson & Newberry. (Photo by McIntyre Photography).
Mark Hardwick (Co-Musical Arranger) composed the music for the 1975 Broadway production of Of Mice and Men and co-wrote the musical Oil City Symphony.
Cast & Creative Team
- Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe John Vessels Jr.*
- Burl Sanders Larry Tobias*
- Vera Sanders April Lee Uzarski*
- Stanley Sanders Andrew Crowe*
- Denise Sanders Elleon Dobias
- Dennis Sanders Daniel Emond*
- June Sanders Sarah Hund*
- [*member of Actors' Equity Association]
- Director Jeff Stockberger
- Musical Director Andrew Crowe
- Scenic Designer Anita Stewart**
- Costume Designer Kathleen Payton Brown
- Light Designer Jamie Grant
- Sound Designer Chris Fitze
- Stage Manager Meg Lydon*
- Assistant Stage Manager Grace Kellar-Long
- [*member of Actors Equity Association]
- [** member of United Scenic Artists]
- [***member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society]
Meet the Director and the Cast
John Vessels Jr. (AEA)
Larry Tobias (AEA)
April Lee Uzarski (AEA)
Andrew Crowe (AEA)
Daniel Emond (AEA)
Sarah Hund (AEA)
Stories & Reviews
Theater review: Multitalented musicians shine in ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ at Portland Stage – April Boyle, Portland Press Herald
Theater Review: Hand Clapping, Heart Pumping, Soul Singing: MSMT & Portland Stage Present SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN – Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, Broadway World
Sponsored Story: Silly and spiritual, Smoke on the Mountain brings bluegrass to Portland Stage – Molly Adams, Portland Press Herald • sponsored by Portland Stage