Sanders Family sings

Savanah Peters as June Sanders, at left on the fiddle, and Jon Kemper as Stanley Sanders, at right on guitar, play along with The Sanders Family during a dress rehearsal Monday night for “Smoke on the Mountain,” which opens Friday at the Historic Fayette Theater in Fayetteville. Also pictured as members of the singing family, from second from left, are Samantha Ingram as Denise Sanders, Julie Brown as Vera Sanders, Mark White as Burl Sanders and Xander Alvarez as Dennis Sanders.

“Smoke on the Mountain,” the popular musical featuring a post-World War II service at the Deepwater Baptist Church, opens at the Historic Fayette Theater in Fayetteville on Friday.

The musical, always a favorite of HFT audiences, features stirring music as performed by The Sanders Family, touching stories and more than a little hilarity.

Directing the 2019 version of the production is theater veteran Gene Worthington, who directed the show originally at the theater in 1995. Worthington has directed more than 30 shows at the theater, for which he has served as artistic director for more than 20 years.

A performer in his own right, Worthington, along with his wife, Karen Vuranch, operates WV Enterprises, “Bringing History to Life.” Worthington and Vuranch perform living history characters in the Chatauqua style both together and separately. Worthington has brought to life a number of characters from American history, including Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and frontiersman Simon Kenton.

The “Smoke on the Mountain” cast includes the following: Timothy Runyon as Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe, Mark White as Burl Sanders, Julie Brown as Vera Sanders, Jon Kemper as Stanley Sanders, Xander Alvarez as Dennis Sanders, Samantha Ingram as Denise Sanders, Savanah Peters as June Sanders, The Peters Family as backup musicians and Bea Arthur, Janice Comer and Lita Eskew as the Church Ladies.

Musical director is Becky Leach.

The show will run July 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21. The July 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20 productions will begin at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on July 7, 14 and 21.

Cost of tickets is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (55 and over) and for children under 13. To purchase tickets in advance, stop by the theater at 115 South Court Street, Fayetteville Tuesday or Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., call the order hotline at 1-800-838-3006, or order online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

For more information, call the theater at 304-574-4655 or email hft@historicfayettetheater.com.

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