CONWAY — The Red Curtain Theatre is going on the road.
For the first time in its four-year history of bringing the arts to the community, the Conway-based performing-arts theater company is taking a show on tour across central Arkansas. The Red Curtain Theatre will present the bluegrass gospel musical Smoke on the Mountain, by Alan Bailey and Connie Ray, at various locations through June 9.
“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” said Kristen Sherman, director of the Red Curtain Theatre. “We want to spread the arts across central Arkansas.
“We thought this show would be perfect for a tour,” she said. “This joyous, comedic adult community-theater production will be performed at local churches and community centers.
“Proceeds will benefit various programs supported by the sponsoring churches and community centers,” Sherman said. “We will have to pay for the performance rights for each show, but whatever is left over will go to the organizations.
“Featuring two dozen rousing songs, including ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and ‘When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,’ this musical tells the tale of an enthusiastic preacher who has enlisted the singin’ and guitar-pickin’ Sanders family for the church’s first-ever gospel singalong,” Sherman said. “The talented Sanders family not only performs their songs but also reveals their true, imperfect nature. By the evening’s end, the Sanders family has endeared themselves to us by revealing their often hilarious weaknesses and allowing us to share in their triumphs.”
Cindy Nations of Conway, who teaches English at Conway Junior High School, directs the show. Liz Parker of Conway, a retired UCA Theatre business manager, is the musical director and appears as Vera Sanders, the matriarch of the Sanders family, in the show. Both are longtime supporters of community theater, and both were involved in the production of Smoke on the Mountain in 2016 when the Conway Community Arts Association presented the musical at The Lantern Theatre.
Additional cast members of the Red Curtain Theatre’s production of Smoke on the Mountain include the following:
• Ron Cate of Conway plays the part of Burl Sanders, the patriarch of the Sanders family who plays guitar. Cate played the same part in The Lantern’s production of the musical. This is Cate’s first time to perform with Red Curtain Theatre. He is employed by Snap-On.
• Daniel Cathers of Conway portrays the Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. He has appeared in several productions at the Red Curtain Theatre. Cathers is employed by Kanganbloo Creative, where he does mainly film work.
• Alisa Harral Kindsfater of Enola appears as June Sanders, the oldest of Burl and Vera Sanders’ children. This is her first time to perform in a Red Curtain Theatre production. She teaches in the Mount Vernon-Enola School District.
• Kent Britton of Conway portrays Stanley Sanders, a brother to Burl Sanders. Britton appeared as the same character in The Lantern Theatre’s production. Britton is the resident musical director at the Red Curtain Theatre and is music minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Conway.
• Logan Dena Evans of Guy plays Denise Sanders, the twin sister of Dennis Sanders. This is Evans’ first time to perform with the Red Curtain Theatre. She recently graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway with a master’s degree in Spanish and will teach at eStem Public Charter Schools in Little Rock.
• Joe Coker of Conway appears as Dennis Sanders. Coker is a student at Hendrix College in Conway. This is his first time to appear in a Red Curtain Theatre production.
• Johnny Passmore of Conway appears as Cletus, a member of the family band. Passmore played the part of Dennis Sanders in The Lantern Theatre’s production of Smoke on the Mountain. Passmore, who teaches drama at Conway Junior High School, has appeared in several productions at the Red Curtain Theatre. He is also the tour manager for this show.
Appearing as members of the Amen Chorus are Weeji Niswonger of Conway, who teaches at Conway Junior High School; Xandra Sharpe of Conway, who is a stay-at-home mom; and April Erickson of Conway, who teaches at Morrilton High School.
Crew members include Angel Moix of Conway, stage manager, and Craig Niswonger of Conway, sound director.
The Red Curtain Theatre opened its tour of Smoke on the Mountain with two performances this past weekend, one at the Whitney Lane Family Worship Center in Kensett in White County on Friday, and the second at The Castle at Harmon Ranch in Greenbrier on Saturday.
Additional performances include the following:
• Wednesday, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church in Conway, benefiting First Presbyterian’s music ministry. Contact Sherman at (501) 499-9776 for more information.
• Friday, 7 p.m., Conway Faith Church, benefiting Harbor Home. Contact Dana
Davin-Ward at (501) 499-8622.
• Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Greenbrier Event Center. Featuring a live bluegrass pre-show, coffee and cookies, benefiting Compass Academy. Contact Courtney Williams at (501) 581-1070.
• Saturday, 7 p.m., St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Conway, benefiting St. Peter’s youth ministries. Contact Sherman at (501) 499-9776.
• May 20, 2:30 p.m., the John and Ola Hawks Senior Wellness and Activity Center in Conway, featuring a silent auction and bake sale, benefiting the senior center. Contact Debra Robertson at (501) 327-1122.
• May 24, 7 p.m., Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church in Little Rock, benefiting the Quapaw Quarter UMC Community Breakfast. Contact Sherman at (501) 499-9776.
• June 3, 5 p.m., Antioch Baptist Church, featuring a potluck meal and a dessert auction to follow; benefiting Antioch summer mission trips. Contact Sherman at (501) 499-9776.
• June 8, 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church in Conway, benefiting FUMC Feeding Ministries. Contact Sherman at (501) 499-9776.
• June 9, 6 p.m., NorthView Church in Marshall, benefiting Daughters of the Other Side. Contact Tiffany McCallister at (973) 738-2113.
Smoke on the Mountain is presented in part by Smoothie King of Conway and the Conway Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ticket prices range from $7 to $25 and may be purchased by calling the contact person for each performance. Online information is available at redcurtaintheatre.com.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.