Pastor Oglethorpe, the young and enthusiastic minister, has enlisted the Sanders family to bring his tiny congregation of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church into “the modern world.” This endeavor is much to the dismay and objections of two feisty, opinionated, dyed-in-the-wool spinsters in his church who occupy the amen corner.
Between songs, each family member “witnesses” — telling a story about an important event in their life. By evening’s end, the Sanders family has endeared themselves to us by revealing their weaknesses and allowing us to share in their triumphs. They even win the affection of the amen corner.
“One of my favorite things about this production is the inclusion of the audience as the congregation,” said Gayle Carter, co-director playing Miss Myrtle. “ It is a very family friendly show which encourages the audience (members of the congregation) to clap and sing along with the familiar hymns and inspiring songs throughout the show.
“The other thing that is endearing to me is that it is the beautiful story of God‘s love for us, the power of forgiveness and the story of redemption. I tell the cast that ‘we‘ve a story to tell’ and this group tells it well.”
The show features two dozen rousing bluegrass gospel songs sung by the family. The local cast members bringing this story to life are the Family, comprised of Kyle Conkle, as the father Burl, Sara Gard as the mother Vera, Eric Jackson and Jessica Smith as their twins Dennis and Denise, Amanda Dullen, their older daughter June who doesn’t sing (but “signs”), and Phil Ledbetter as Burl’s brother Stanley. Mitchell Wooten is the progressive Rev. Oglethorpe, and the Amen Corner is occupied by Kim Jenkins as Miss Maude along with Carter as Miss Myrtle.
“We are blessed to have Richard Stretton as our musical director. Stretton on the piano leads the talented bluegrass band ensemble of Chris Williamson on guitar, Aaron Lacy on banjo, Hollis Neel on bass fiddle, Beth Jolley on fiddle and mandolin, and Sara Gard on autoharp,” Carter said.
There will be an interpreter for the deaf and hearing impaired during the final evening performance on March 23. The performance is based on the book by Connie Ray, conceived by Alan Bailey with musical arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick. It is being produced by Ever After Productions, by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc.
Shows will be March 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday, March 23, at 1p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students. There is a group rate of $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. This show runs approximately two hours. Get tickets by calling 706-935-9000 or purchase online at colonnadecenter.org.