Smoke on the Mountain

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  3w, 4m

Book by Connie Ray
Conceived by Alan Bailey
Musical arrangements by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick

Smoke on the Mountain tells the hilarious and heartwarming story of a Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3w, 4m
  • Duration
    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre
    Period, Faith-based
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences


Pastor Oglethorpe, the young and enthusiastic minister of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, has enlisted the Sanders Family in his efforts to bring his tiny congregation into “the modern world.” Between songs, each family member “witnesses” – telling a story about an important event in their life. Though they try to appear perfect in the eyes of a congregation who wants to be inspired by their songs, one thing after another goes awry and they reveal their true – and hilariously imperfect – natures. By the evening’s end, the Sanders Family have endeared themselves to us by revealing their weaknesses and allowing us to share in their triumphs.

Smoke on the Mountain was first presented at the McCarter Theatre in July 1988. It was subsequently produced at the Lamb's Theatre Company in New York, opening on May 13, 1990.

Cast Attributes
MERVIN OGLETHORPE – Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, late 20s
BURL SANDERS – father, 40s
VERA SANDERS – mother, 40s
STANLEY SANDERS – uncle, late 40s
JUNE SANDERS – sister, 23
  • Time Period 1930s
  • Setting Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. A Saturday night in June 1938.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Not Applicable
  • Duration 105 Minutes
  • Cautions
    • No Special Cautions


“Totally beguiling... foot-stomping soul food.” – New York Post

“Wildly funny... So well written that I found myself laughing, rooting for the family, and singing along and clapping with the rest of the audience.” – The Trentonian

“Exhilarating!... A rollicking... cornpone Chorus Line.” – Variety

“A sophisticated audience went simply wild.” – Philadelphia Daily News

“A charming and funny celebration of Americana.” – The New York Times


  • Smoke on the Mountain youtube thumbnail

    Smoke on the Mountain


Song Samples

Sample of Samphony Tracks for Smoke on the Mountain
Rock of Ages
The Church in the WIldwood
A Wonderful Time Up There
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
Blood Medley
I'll Live A Million Years
Everyone Home But Me
I Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now
Angel Band
Whispering Hope
Transportation Medley
Smoke on the Mountain
I'll Fly Away

2 Guitars
2 Harmonicas (G and Gm)
1 Harmonica Brace
Train Whistle
Wooden Spoons
Scrub Brush (to play washboard)
Stand-Up Bass
Triangle with mallet
3 Cowbells
3 Tambourines
1 Slapstick
Wooden Mallet (to play oatmeal box)
3 Drumsticks
Basket (wicker, with beans)
Pitch Pipe (C to C)
Oatmeal Box (cylinder)
Assorted Picks

Authors' Note:
The instrumentation contained in this score was devised for the specific talents of the New York cast. While we advise following the arrangements as closely as possible, individual productions may change each character's instrumentation in order to accommodate the actors' skills.

In addition, it may be necessary for some groups to simplify the arrangements so as to have fewer specialty instruments. In this case, we strongly advise using at least piano, guitar, bass and percussion.

  • Musical Style Country/Western
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size Piano Only
  • Chorus Size No Chorus

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

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Connie Ray

Connie Ray is a playwright and actress who divides her time between LA and NYC. She wrote the musicals Smoke on the Mountain, Sanders Family Christmas and Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, three of Samuel French’s most popular titles. Her musicals and plays have been produced ...

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Alan Bailey

Alan Bailey co-authored one of the country’s most frequently produced musicals, Smoke on the Mountain, which ran more than 500 performances at the Lamb's Theatre in New York, garnering award nominations from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and the Stage Directors and Ch ...

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Mike Craver

Mike Craver is a North Carolina-based songwriter, actor, and composer. Off-Broadway credits include The Oil City Symphony (co-author and original cast member, cast recording, Drama Desk award), Smoke on the Mountain (arrangements, published by Samuel French), Radio Gals (co-a ...

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Mark Hardwick

Mark Hardwick composed the music for the 1975 Broadway production of Of Mice and Men and co-wrote the musical Oil City Symphony.
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