Show Reviews

Stained Glass Playhouse’s Smoke on the Mountain

It is a hazy, summertime, Saturday night in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. Lazy June bugs buzz through the balmy air, a lone pickle floats down stream from the pickle factory, and the new-fangled electric light bulb in the sanctuary of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church shines down on a tiny congregation awaiting the arrival of the Sanders Family Singers. So, the stage is set for Stained Glass Playhouse’s production of Smoke on the Mountain. Directed by Maggie Gallagher, this story of family and bluegrass gospel is playing it’s last three performances November 19th, 20th, and 21st.

Just a few minutes into Smoke on the Mountain, it becomes clear that this is a show of winsome characters. Lovable Mother Vera Sanders is portrayed by the rich voiced Lauren Harris, while the head of the family, Burl, Sanders, is played tenderly by Archie Collins. The eldest Sanders child, June (who is the only one of the family without musical talent, but makes up for it with comical results), is performed with exuberance by Annette Wood and real life husband and wife Mark Graves and Jennifer Raiford Graves act alongside each other as the Sanders twins: Dennis (a jittery preacher-to-be whose attempt at sermon giving was one of the evening’s highlights) and Denise (who may or may not have almost become a movie star…I’ll let her explain). Richard Johnson gives a heartfelt performance as the wayward Uncle Stanley as Miles Stanley’s Cousin Darryl strums away bringing an extra layer of depth to the musical numbers. Last but not least, we have Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s pastor himself: the Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe is skillful portrayed by Vince Hancock.

Although Smoke on the Mountain may have a simple storyline, the talents needed by it’s actors are many. Not only do they have to sing their way through some very challenging harmonies, but they have to act as their own orchestra playing array of instruments from the quintessential bluegrass bass to the lap harp!

Congratulations to the cast, creative team, and crew of Stained Glass Playhouse’s Smoke on the Mountain! Thank you for bringing us the gift live theatre!

Feel like a night at the theatre? Visit: for more information and to purchase your tickets.