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Smoke on the Mountain

Smoke on the MountainSeptember 8-October 18
Written by Connie Ray
Conceived by Alan Bailey
Musical Arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick
Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Smoke on the Mountain tells the story of the Sanders family and their Saturday Night Gospel concert at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in 1938.  It features over two dozen rousing southern gospel and bluegrass songs sung and played by the Sanders family, a traveling group making their return to performing after a five year hiatus.  Though they try to appear perfect to the congregation, a sequence of “witnessing” from the each family member reveals their true…and hilariously imperfect nature.  Originally produced on the Joseph Stein Stage in 2000, Smoke on the Mountain was so popular with our audience, that we gave it a revival in 2005, one of the earliest instances of repeating a show at the Round Barn Theatre.



Scenes & Musical Numbers
Director Notes
Cast Bios
Production Staff Bios
Theme Dinners
Smoke on the Mountain Press Release
Read a Preview of Smoke on the Mountain by Frank Ramirez

Read a Review of Smoke on the Mountain by Jeri Seely
Read a Review of Smoke on the Mountain by Frank Ramirez

Amish Acres


Smoke on the Mountain
Archive Photographs



A Note from the Director…

Amber BurgessTen years ago in 2005 I was much like many of you.  I came to The Round Barn Theatre for the first time.  I came to see You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown featuring a few of my good friends (and a few future friends, as it turned out).  I was working at a dinner theater in Michigan at the time and was close enough that a quick trip to Nappanee sounded like fun.  I was immediately enchanted by this place.  The beauty of the theater, the incredible talent of the cast, and energy of this little hamlet all contributed to this enchantment. I didn’t know it at the time, but that trip to Nappanee would change my career as I knew it. I saw in the program that they were doing Smoke on the Mountain, a show that I had heard a lot about, but had never done.  I have played stringed instruments since childhood, and love it when my musical and theatrical worlds collide.  I enquired about casting and sadly found out the show was fully cast, but the Artistic Director, Scott Saegesser, agreed to let me do a quick audition.  The next day I played violin for him and sang.  The whole thing took maybe two minutes.  He thanked me, and that was it.  I left to go to another gig, and didn’t think much about it.

Weeks later I was in Virginia working for yet another theater company when I got a phone call from Scott.  A core company member had decided to leave her contract early, and there was an opening for the rest of the season.  He offered me not only Smoke on the Mountain, but a role in Plain and Fancy and eventually one in Beauty and the Beast.  Since that show I have been involved in over 40 productions here at RBT as a director, designer, actor, musician, writer, choreographer, and teacher. It only seems right that during the 2015 “Circle of Life” Theater Season that I would come full circle myself, directing the show that brought me to this beautiful barn in the first place.  At this moment, I am sitting close by preparing to tell you this wonderful story with an absolutely incredible group of actor/musicians.  We hope that this show brings you as much joy as the process of telling it brings to us. As for any of you dreamers out there, I hope that for at least one of you, tonight marks the start of a circle of your own, as it did for me a decade ago.  

Amber Burgess

A Note from the Music Director…

Amish AcresWelcome to the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church!  I hope y'all are ready for some strummin', drummin' and pickin'!  And no, Brother Sam we don't mean your nose!  Just last week Pastor Oglethorpe was gabbin' to me about how we need more music in our lives to lift the spirit. And by gum, if that ain't gonna happen today!  If we have any visitors please do us a favor and say hello on your way out. Also, if you haven't yet checked out the local Mt. Pleasant pickle plant, be sure and do that before you leave town!  They got some juicy pickles!  Welcome Sanders family!  We can't wait to hear you bring us some gospel goodness!

Brother Smiddy - Assistant Choir Director


Smoke on the Mountain Cast


Mervin Oglethorpe

Ryan A. Schisler


The Sanders Family



Paul Kerr


Amber Burgess


Perry Orfanella


Jeff Raab


Jocelyn Lonquist


Katherine Yacko


Smoke on the Mountain Staff


Executive Producer

Richard Pletcher

Artistic Director

Jeremy Littlejohn


Amber Burgess

Music Director

Travis Smith

Production Stage Manager

Timothy James

Technical Director

Tom Slavey

ASM / Sound

Bradley M. Waelbroeck

Set Designer

Richard Pletcher

Costume Designer

Amber Burgess

Lighting Designer

Jeremy Littlejohn

Properties Master

Timothy James

Box Office Manager

Jennifer Scheffer

Legal Representation

Dumler & Giroux, NYC

Archive Videographer

Steve Jones

Time & Place: The sanctuary of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. A Saturday night in June, 1938.

Musical Numbers

Act I


The Church in the Wildwood


Wonderful Time Up There


Build on the Rock


Meet Mother in the Skies


No Tears in Heaven


Christian Cowboy


The Filling Station


I'll Never Die (I'll Just Change My Address)


Jesus is Mine


The Blood Medley: Nothing But the Blood, Are You Washed in the Blood, There is Power in the Blood


I'll Live a Million Years


Act II


I Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now


Everyone Home But Me


I Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now (Reprise)


Angel Band


Bringing in the Sheaves


Whispering Hope


Inching Along


I'm Using My Bible For a Roadmap


I'll Walk Every Step of the Way


I'm Taking a Flight


Life's Railway to Heaven


Smoke on the Mountain


I'll Fly Away


When the Roll is Called Up Yonder




Amber BurgessAmber Burgess (Vera / Director) is pleased to be returning to The Round Barn Theatre for the 2015 season.  Amber has been involved at RBT as the director of Sisters of Swing, 9 to 5, Little Women, and Shrek,and she has been the resident costume designer since 2013.  Memorable RBT roles include June in Smoke on the Mountain, Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Lilli / Kate in Kiss Me Kate and Carrie in Carousel.  She studied musical theater at Millikin University and has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (with an emphasis in theater research) from Ashford University. Amber is a board member of the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Salt Creek Quilters guild, and enjoys running, reading, quilting, and playing with her dog, Oxford.  Visit

Paul KerrPaul Kerr
(Burl) is very excited to be making his Round Barn Theatre debut in one of his favorite shows.  Currently residing in Louisville with his wife, Actress Kiersten Vorheis, Paul has appeared throughout the country in National Tours of 1776, The Pajama Game, Tintypes, Can-Can, Pirates of Penzance, and several tours as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.  Closer to Amish Acres, Paul has appeared with Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan and Encore Music Theatre in Dexter, Michigan.  Among other pursuits, he is a reader for the American Printing House through the Library of Congress.
Love to my June Bug, Kiersten.

Jocelyn LonquistJocelyn Lonquist
(Denise) is thrilled to join the casts of Plain and Fancy, Smoke on the Mountain, and The Diary of Anne Frank at The Round Barn Theatre this season!  Originally from Pensacola, FL, Jocelyn spent the last year in the Resident Acting Company at Charleston Stage Company in South Carolina, appearing in six shows there. Favorite Charleston Stage roles include Inga in Young Frankenstein, Alice in You Can’t Take it With You, and Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. Other favorite regional credits include Beth March in Little Women, Cinderella in R&H’s Cinderella, Joanne in Godspell, and Clara Johnsonin The Light in the Piazza. Jocelyn is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, AL.
Love to my family for their constant love and support! Phil. 4:13

Perry OrfanellaPerry Orfanella
(Stanley) Having performed extensively abroad this year, including Portugal, Japan and Germany, Perry Orfanella is happily surprised to find himself back at The Round Barn Theatre.  Last seen here as "Hoss" in Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Perry has also shared the stage with several Tony award winning performers including Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Patti Lupone, Tommy Tune, Idina Menzel and Bebe Neuwirth.  He has also played bass for Emmy award winners Bob Newhart, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Joe Piscopo, and John Davidson.  He has done concerts with Grammy winners Peter Cetera, Lionel Hampton and others.  He has worked with the Walt Disney World Orchestra accompanying Oscar winning narrators Rita Moreno, Lou Gossett, Jr. and Gary Sinise. While not expecting to win any of these awards himself, his goal on stage is to not embarrass his children, who actually have most of the talent in the family.

Jeff RaabJeff Raab (Dennis) is a graduate of NYU Steinhardt and Dell’Arte International.  NYC: Feste in 12th Night (Feste), The Entropy Songs, staged readings at the York Theatre and Metropolitan Playhouse, concerts at Town Hall. Regional/Tour: Two seasons with the Texas Shakespeare Festival (roles including Sancho, Feste, Autolycus, Mordred), Balladeer / Oswald in Assassins, Giuseppe in The Light in the Piazza, Cat in the Hat, Wickersham in Seussical, Marcellus in The Music Man, Barber / Muleteer in Man of La Mancha, and Bellhop in Lend Me a Tenor. Jeff is also a musician and award-winning songwriter (NY Innovative Theater Award, “12TH NIGHT”), director, and educational theater teaching artist.

Amish AcresRyan A. Schisler (Oglethorpe) is very excited to be returning to the Round Barn stage for another terrific season!  He is a graduate of Murray State University in KY, where he studied Theatre & Television Production.  You may have seen Ryan as the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors or Rev. Shaw Moore in Footloose last season.  He was recently in Minnesota working for Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre playing The Huntsman in Snow White.
I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and continuous support.

Katherine YackoKatherine Yacko (June) is absolutely tickled to be joining The Round Barn Theatre for their fall season! An Arkansas native, Katherine graduated from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Acting. Since graduation, she has performed in over 30 professional productions for 10 different regional, repertory, and children's theatre companies -- travelling & sharing her laughter coast-to-coast! Some of her favorite productions include The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy, Theatre West Virginia), The 25th Annual... (Logainne, Wayside Theatre), A Christmas Carol (OKC Rep, Nebraska Theatre Caravan, Wayside), Twelfth Night (Maria, OCU), and Hairspray (Penny, Murry's Dinner Playhouse). Thanks to her supportive family, Jeremy for this opportunity, her phenomenal fellow artists at RBT, and to you...who continue to support the magic of live theatre!

Smoke on the Mountain Staff Biographies

Timothy James (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be returning to the Round Barn Theatre for another fantastic season. Timothy is from Anderson, South Carolina, where he earned a BA in Theatre with a Concentration in Theatrical Design. Although his love for theatre is vast, his focus remains in Stage Management. Some of his favorite credits include A Raisin in the SunThe MisanthropeJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Shrek the Musical. He is blessed to have such a loving a supportive family, and without them he would not be here today.
Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Jeremy Littlejohn (Artistic Director) grew up right down the road in Elkhart, Indiana, and came to work at Amish Acres for the first time in 1997.  Since becoming Artistic Director in 2007, he has supervised over sixty productions in seven seasons.  Some of his recent favorites include Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair, Driving Miss Daisy, Nunsense A-Men, The Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors and Doubt.  Jeremy created the Second Stage Series located down the hall in the Locke Township Meeting House.  The program brought plays to Amish Acres for the first time in 2004 and recently added musicals to its repertoire in 2014.  He also enjoys working on the Theater for Young Audience series, and he has shed light on more than thirty RBT productions.  He loves his lady, his family, his kitty, and he is so pleased to be spending another season in Nappanee! 

Richard Pletcher (Executive Producer) founded Amish Acres with his father, LaVern in 1968. The Amish farm was preserved and restored, and is now listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Following a one year experiment with dinner theatre in 1971, he added musical theatre to the farm's historic interpretation by producing Plain and Fancy in the Locke Township Meeting House in 1986. It moved to its permanent residence in The Round Barn Theatre in 1992. The musical has been running for 28 consecutive years, having surpassed 3,700 performances in front of over 355,000 audience members. Plain and Fancy's Tony Award® winning author Joseph Stein and Tony Award® winning composer Albert Hague have attended Plain and Fancy at Amish Acres.

At Joseph Stein’s urging, Amish Acres became a regional musical repertory theatre in 1996 with the addition of five shows in rotating repertory with Plain and Fancy each season. Amish Acres has now produced over 100 Broadway musicals and The Round Barn Theatre stage is named for and dedicated to Joseph Stein. Seven of Mr. Stein’s musicals have been produced at The Round Barn Theatre, including Plain and Fancy, Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, and Zorba, plus staged readings of Take Me Along, Rags, Carmelina and a Second Stage production of Enter Laughing.

In October of 2006, Dick and his wife Susan were guests of Joseph and Elisa Stein in New York City for the York Theatre’s Mufti Series production of Plain and Fancy, the last in a month long, three show festival of Stein’s work that included Take Me Along and Carmelina. Artistic Director James Morgan recognized Amish Acres’ 20 year production of Plain and Fancy in the program and in his introductions from the stage. The Pletchers’ and Jeremy Littlejohn attended the Oscar Hammerstein Lifetime Achievement Award in Musical Theatre for Joseph Stein at the York Theatre in 2007. Stein was further inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in February of 2008. He passed away in 2010 and the Joseph Stein Memorial Fund was created to provide free season tickets for children.

Tom Slavey (Bass / Technical Director) was born and raised in Bremen, Indiana. Upon graduation from Bremen High School, Tom moved to Los Angeles to pursue and enhance his love of music. While in California, he learned carpentry, and started his own construction business, while playing his music at night in the clubs of Hollywood and Orange County. He moved back to Indiana to be of service to his immediate family, and to start a family of his own.

Travis Smith (Music Director) is thankful to be back for his 6th season here at Amish Acres.  Not only has he music directed practically every show in the last 6 years, but he has also been seen as a performer.  Favorite roles include Lord Farquaad in Shrek, Sister Amnesia in Nunsense A-Men and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.  He is also a composer and arranger having written many shows through out the last few years including Steeple People: A Southern Gospel Comedy.  Many of the children's shows he has written and collaborated on are seen and even performed by thousands of kids every year.
For more info please visit Thank you for supporting live theatre!!

Bradley M. Waelbroeck (ASM / Sound) recently graduated from University of Memphis with a BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Musical Theatre. He has been involved in theatre at various capacities both onstage and backstage. He was recently Assistant Stage Manager for The Wedding Singer at University of Memphis. He has also been seen onstage as Young Katurian in The Pillowman, Chip Tolentino in 25th...Spelling Bee, and in Chess as Ensemble.


amish acresSmoke on the Mountain
Theme Dinners: September 11 & October 9

A white tablecloth event to celebrate The Round Barn Theatre productions through menus conceived by Richard Pletcher and created by chef Ruth Miller. Show references and double entendres, no matter how obscure or ridiculous, are often highlighted in bold letters. Recipes are prepared by Ruth, whose sense of humor is stirred into the pot and skillet. All menu items are subject to change by the whim of the chef. The responsibility for such frovility rests soley with Richard Pletcher.

Reservations Required. 
For reservations call (800) 800-4942.
Amish Acres

Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Pot Luck Carry-in Dinner

Roasted Tomato and Carrot Soup


Red Potato Salad
Pleasant Pickle Factory Sampler
Holy Cheese


Seven Bean Salad
Creamy Cucumber Cole Slaw

Corn Bread and Clover Honey Baking Powder Biscuits
Vera's Jelly of the Week

Chicken Fried Beef Steak Breaded and Pan Fried Catfish

Noodles Cassarole


Parsley Potatoes Mustard Greens Seasoned with Bacon and Onions


Banana Cream Pie in Graham Cracker Crust
Mrs. Oglethorpe's Cherry Chocolate Cake
Miss Myrtle's Turtles
Ruth's Famous Crème Brule'

North Carolina Sweetened Ice Tea
Round Barn Craft Beers (extra charge)
Round Barn Wines (extra charge)