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Live community theater debuts this weekend

Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Louisa County residents are in for a treat this weekend if they plan to attend Smoke on the Mountain at Louisa Arts Center.  Why?

Because this is the first time that a local production has been cast from actors and musicians from within our own community. People we know, people we work with and people we go to church with will take the stage to entertain the crowds.

When Michael Bollinger was hired earlier this year, he was tasked with overseeing the Louisa Arts Center and developing events and programs at the facility.  Since his arrival, Bollinger has been hard at work doing just that.

He booked Pam Tillis, which resulted in the first time the Louisa Arts Center has ever sold out an event, requiring that a second showing be added to accommodate the number of people who wanted to attend.

For the past few months, he has been involved in  another first—casting and directing for the first live community theater production of Smoke on the Mountain.

It’s exciting to have the first ever community theater active in the county. Louisa County is full of talented individuals who now have an opportunity to showcase their abilities to friends and family and others onstage.

We hope that there will be more performances in the future. If the community comes out and supports the production on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the chances are great that the “Little Theater,” as Bollinger calls it, will thrive.

Smoke on the Mountain is described as a “hilarious gospel bluegrass musical comedy” which tells the story of the first Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938.

The storyline hinges on Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe’s attempt to bring his tiny congregation into the modern world and he enlists the Sanders family to help him do that through song.  Between songs, family members “witness,” telling a story about an important event in their life.

While they try to appear perfect in the eyes of the congregation, one things after another goes awry and they reveal their true, and hilariously imperfect, natures. By evening’s end, the Sanders family has endeared themselves to the audience by revealing their weaknesses and allowing everyone to share in their triumphs.

The all local cast includes Brad Bishop, Butch Duke, Kevin Lewis, Mary Eden, Allyson Dodson, Hailee Dorman and Bollinger himself as Pastor Oglethorpe.

Musicians include Bob Payne, Paul Clark and Susan Rigdon and the crew is comprised of Thomas Bourne, Sue Clark, Rain Clements and Ashley Swinger.  The stage manager is Christine Corrieri and costume design is by Jean Martin.

Smoke on the Mountain will be performed in the Cooke-Haley Theater at Louisa Arts Center, 212 Fredericksburg Ave., Louisa. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the box office from 2 until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by calling (540) 967-5200.

Come out and support our new local live theater. It promises to be great fun for all!