Review – Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming

Hey Plaza fans,

Yesterday, Plaza’s production of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN HOMECOMING received a fantastic review from Mark Nobles of the Cleburne Times-Review. We are so proud of this cast and this show and we know you’re gonna love it too. Most dates still have availability, so make plans soon to see the show. It plays now thru October 23rd. Don’t procrastinate – reserve today.

Here is the review in its entirety for your reading pleasure:

September 15, 2010

‘Smoke’ sequel hits the stage: Can I get an Amen?

By Mark A. Nobles/Special to the Times-Review Wed Sep 15, 2010

Plaza Theatre brings back the Sanders Family gospel singers and all the good folks from the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church for the final act in the “Smoke on The Water” trilogy. Don’t be scared off if you missed the first two installments, “Smoke on the Mountain” and “A Sanders Family Christmas.” Knowledge of the goings-on in the first two plays is not required to enjoying this production.

Set two months after VJ Day in 1945, young Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe and his pregnant wife, June, are set to take off for a new church in Texas. June’s brother, Dennis, is stepping into the Mount Pleasant pulpit and the entire Sanders family has come to see Mervin and June off into the wilds of West Texas.

“Homecoming” features more than 20 songs, mostly old-time gospel numbers, impeccably performed by a strong cast of singers.

For the first two stagings of the “Smoke on the Mountain” trilogy the Plaza managed to keep the cast completely intact. New actors have been cast in some of the roles this go-round.

The two most notable cast changes are in the roles of Mervin and June. Kyle Macy steps in for Kyle Adams as Mervin, and Camille Shaw replaces Danielle Beacham as June.

Macy is superb as Mervin and plays the character with the appropriate dollops of good-hearted goofiness. His rendition with Shaw of “Round up in the Sky” is a highlight.

Shaw has the biggest shoes to fill as Beacham’s June was a hit in the two previous productions. Shaw’s portrayal of June is a little less gangly but every bit as hilarious as Beacham’s. Given the physical demands of the character and the fact that in the play June is eight months pregnant, Shaw’s performance is a revelation.

G. Aaron Siler and Darcy Farrington reprise their roles as Burl and Vera Sanders and are once again spot on in their performances.

The role of wayward Uncle Stanley is a little short-changed in this installment of the trilogy, but JaceSon P. Barrus is once again touching and funny in the role.

Andrew Guzman and Jill Baker play the twins Dennis and Denise and both are exceptional. Baker has a standout moment in the first act with a beautiful rendition of “Children Talk to Angels.”

Judy Barnett and Priscilla Nix play the elderly church ladies Maude and Myrtle. The pair inhabits “Amen Corner” and are constantly nipping at the proceedings and should not be ignored.

The praise band consists of Cheri Dee Mega on piano, Bill Ware on guitar and Mike Melody on bass. This trio is utterly amazing and provides the drive for the entire show.

“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” is funny, touching, heart warming and will fill your heart with joy. The show will appeal to everyone in the family from 8 to 80 and you can even sing along with the cast.

“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” runs through Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, with two performances Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For information, call 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com.

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