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Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming

September 13-Oct 23
Written by Connie Ray
Conceived by Alan Bailey
Musical Arrangements by Mike Craver

Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Before they go their separate ways, the Sanders Family gathers together to share stories of faith and family.  The third installment in the Sander’s saga features the family preparing to send the Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe and his bride June, off west in style with nearly 25 fabulous Bluegrass gospel favorites.


Scenes & Musical Numbers
Director Notes
Cast Bios
Production Staff Bios
Theme Dinners

Amish Acres

Amish Acres


Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming
Archive Photographs


A Note from the Director…

Amish AcresRhondda Wallace- Welcome back to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church! It has been over seven years since the first ever Saturday Night Sing with the Sanders family and the Rev. Oglethorpe. It is now 1945. The war is over, and Rev. Oglethorpe, brings everyone back together for a very special reunion of family, faith and fiddle tunes. Take yourselves to earlier days in rural North Carolina to a simpler time with the Sanders Family Singers as they share their bluegrass and old-time gospel music with hilarious, yet heartfelt witnessing. Their words of inspiration from the Good Book along with a good dose of rural charm is sure to revive your spirit and fill your hearts with song. Now there is one actor missing from the cast list and that is the CONGREGATION played by YOU! So “play your part” well by hand-clapping, foot-stomping, shouting, cheering, singing along and falling out of the pews with laughter! Can I get a HALLELUJAH! Amen!


Homecoming Cast


Mervin Oglethorpe

Travis Smith

Burl Sanders

Paul Gregory Nelson

Vera Sanders

Katherine Anderson

June Sanders

Emily Baer

Dennis Sanders

John Detty

Denise Sanders

Emma Traubert

Stanley Sanders

Timothy Leonard


Homecoming Staff


Executive Producer

Richard Pletcher

Managing Artistic Director

Laurie Schotz


Rhondda Wallace

Music Director

Travis Smith

Production Stage Manager

Phillip B. Richard II

Technical Director

Ted Lantz


Spencer Holdeman


Richard Vollmer

Set Designer

Richard Pletcher

Costume Designer

Laurie Schotz

Lighting Designer

Phillip B. Richard II

Properties Masterr

Richard Vollmer

Box Office Manager

Jennifer Scheffer


Musical Numbers

Act I

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Sanders Family

Gloryland Boogie

Sanders Family

Everything You'll Need

Mervin & the Family

I'll Never Die

Mervin & the Family

The Royal Telephone

Denise & Dennis

A Little At A Time

Burl, Vera & Stanley

Children Talk to Angels


Standing on the Promises

Mervin, Burl, Dennis & Stanley

River Medley

Mervin & the Family

I Am Ready To Go

Sanders Family

Act II

Come Around


I'll Live Again

Mervin & the Family

Round-Up in the Sky

Mervin & the Family

I Love to Tell a Story

Sanders Family

Prophet Medley

Sanders Family

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

Sanders Family

Just Over in the Gloryland

Mervin & the Family

Unclouded Day

Mervin & the Family

Do Lord

Mervin & the Family


Homecoming Cast Bios

Katherine Anderson (Vera) currently lives in New York City but hails from Raleigh, NC and is happy to return to her southern roots in this show. She has a BM in voice and musical theatre from Meredith College in Raleigh and also studied at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. Favorite roles include Franca in The Light in the Piazza, Hope in Urinetown, and Cunegonde in Candide. Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, and Chad.

Emily BaerEmily Baer (June) is thrilled to be back on the Round Barn stage for a fifth season. You may have seen her as Dolly in Hello Dolly, Grizabella in Cats, Kaye in The Taffetas or any number of roles in Plain and Fancy. After this production, she will be heading out on tour with A Christmas Carol playing Mrs. Cratchit. Emily graduated from Millikin University with a degree in Musical Theatre. When she is not performing, she enjoys her time as an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay. Thank you to my family for their constant support and encouragement.

john dettyJohn Detty (Dennis) has resorted to Buddy the Elf levels of excitement to be rounding out his seven and a half month stay at The Round Barn Theatre with A Christmas Carol! Since May, you may have seen him as Rudolph in Hello Dolly!, Ezra in Plain & Fancy, Dennis in Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming, or as Roy inThe Odd Couple. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, John graduated from Ball State University with a BFA in musical theatre. Some of his other favorite past credits include Plaid Tidings as Sparky, West Side Story as A-Rab, Seussical the Musical as The Cat in the Hat, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog as Captain Hammer. In his attempt to “Embrace the Pace” here at Amish Acres, John has acquired many hobbies this year, including playing ukulele/mandolin/guitar (ranked in skill from best to “please stop playing”), playing disquieting amounts of online scrabble (that’s right, look it up), and learning everything an English can about the Amish. From here, John is heading to his long missed apartment in New York City. Love and thanks to my casts, friends, and family for keeping me on my feet this season. I love you all. Phil. 1:3

Timothy Leonard (Stanley) is pleased to be performing again this season here at Amish Acres. Based in Memphis, Tim has spent the last three years enjoying the rich bluegrass and gospel culture of southern Tennessee. When asked about his exposure to the genres, he said, "It's almost like it grows on you, until the music feels rooted somewhere honest and true." Tim has performed in Smoke on the Mountain in the past, although it being the first show in the Sanders Family Series. "I really love this show. The characters are all fundamentally the same, but are now grown up. Although each seems wiser, they all stay true to their original appeal and sincere honesty." Tim would like to thank his Grandparents for their continuing love and support. For more information about Timothy Leonard, visit

Paul NelsonPaul Gregory Nelson (Burl) Although this is Paul's first time performing at The Round Barn Theatre, he has worked as a professional actor and director throughout the United States for 28 years and recently starred as Julian Marsh in the Broadway-Asia tour of 42nd Street. National Tours include King Marchan in Victor/Victoria, Reverand Shaw Moore in Footloose the Musical, Mickey in The History of American Film; and Sheriff in The Tavern. Regional credits include Harold Hill in The Music Man, Juan Peron in Evita, Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Emile DeBeque in South Pacific, and Union Captain in the regional premiere of The Civil War. Paul is a scholarship graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint and also studied Theatre Arts at the Chautauqua Institute in New York. Thanks to Aunt Danny, Lori and Greg for all their support! Thanks also for supporting live theatre and Go Blue! 

Travis Smith (Mervin Oglethorpe / Music Director) is excited to be back at Amish Acres for the season. He has music directed several shows here and has been up on stage in a few productions, including The Taffetas and A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline. He has worked as both a performer and musical director for the past several years. Companies he has worked for include Allenberry Playhouse, Bearcreek Resort, Circa 21, Old Creamery Theatre, Weathervane Playhouse, Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Cornwell’s Dinner theatre, Grand Geneva Resort, and the University of Findlay. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he has worked in NYC performing with Victory Theatricals and had the honor of performing with the National AIDs Fund and the Equity Fights AIDS/Broadway Cares charities. Travis also runs his own business producing background tracks for various theatres. He enjoys composition as well. For the second year, the Old Creamery theatre has commissioned him to write two children’s musicals with them including their yearly children’s tour that is produced in the Spring. He is a proud graduate of Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio where he earned his degrees in theatre and music. Enjoy the show and for more information please visit

EmmaEmma Traubert (Denise) is a SUNY Fredonia graduate with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. This Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, now residing in New York City, has performed with Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Prime Stage Theatre Company, Surflight Theatre, TEC Productions, and SUNY Fredonia. Theatre credits include The Sound of Music as Sister Berthe, Edges as Woman 1, Kiss Me, Kate as Hattie, Soft Dude asDoll, Breaking the Chain asJessica, Women of Manhattan as Rhonda Louise, Grease as Jan, The Wiz asDorothy, Fiddler on the Roof asTzeitel, Bridge to Terabithia as Janice Avery, as well as in the vocal pit of both Miss Saigon and Cats. Other work includes the 2010 Commencement Eve POPs Concert as a featured vocalist and the Show Place Ice Cream Parlour as a singing waitress. Thank you to my friends and family for their constant support in all my theatrical endeavors throughout my life.

Homecoming Staff Bios

Spencer Holdeman (Sound Design / Master Electrician) is thrilled to be returning to The Round Barn Theatre after working on his first theatrical production, Ring of Fire. He is a Nappanee native and has attended ITT Technical Institute in Fort Wayne, IN. Thanks to Laurie and Phil for giving me this incredible opportunity.

Ted Lantz (Technical Director) joined Amish Acres for the second time, having first worked in the summer of 1973, helping with building restoration. A graduate of Bremen High School, Ted was involved with drama, performing in the musicals Sound of Music and Oklahoma. He is a retired school teacher, residing with his wife Chris, in Wakarusa. His son, Jordan, and his daughter, Kelsey, are both college students,

Richard Pletcher (Producer) with his father LaVern, founded Amish Acres 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 in dinner-theatre with George Bledsoe in 1971, he added musical theatre to the interpretation of the historic farm by producing Plain and Fancy in the Locke Township Meeting House in 1986. It moved to the Round Barn Theatre in 1991. The play has been running for 25 consecutive years having surpassed 3,500 performances before audiences of over 350,000 people. 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 Mr. Stein’s urging Amish Acres became a regional musical repertory theatre in 1996 with the addition of five shows in rotation with Plain and Fancy each season. Amish Acres has now produced seventy two different main stage Broadway musicals and The Round Barn Theatre stage is named for and dedicated to Joseph Stein. Eight of Mr. Stein’s musicals have been produced on his stage, including Plain and Fancy, Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, and Zorba, plus staged readings of Take Me Along, Rags, and Carmelina, plus a Second Stage Production of Enter Laughing. As you might expect, he has said that The Round Barn Theatre is his favorite regional theatre with which he has been associated.
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’ twenty year production of Plain and Fancy in the program and in his introductions from the stage. The Pletchers and Jeremy Littlejohn attended the York’s presentation of the Oscar Hammerstein Lifetime Achievement Award in Musical Theatre to Joseph Stein in November of 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 to kids.

Philip B. Richard II (Production Stage Manager / Lighting Designer) is excited to be returning to The Round Barn Theatre family for his second season. Philip grew up in Dallastown, PA and has worked in theatres across the US including Florida, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, and Hawaii. Philip was an Entertainment Coordinator for 5 years at the Walt Disney World Resort and has previously worked for Austin Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Festival 56 in Princeton, IL, and Honolulu Theatre for Youth. His regional stage management credits include the National Post Broadway premiere of Souvenir with Orlando Theatre Project and the World Premiers of If You Give A Moose A Muffin, Stripes & Stars, and Wittenberg. Regional lighting credits include productions of The Pillowman, Stripes and Stars, Nosferatu, Rocky Horror Show, Footloose, Scrooge, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Philip is a member of the Equity Membership Candidate program and the Stage Manager Association. Thank You to all of you for supporting the arts, without you, theatre would not be possible. Enjoy the show!

Laurie Schotz (Managing and Artistic Director / Costumes) is thrilled to be returning for a third season at Amish Acres. Before joining the Amish Acres staff in 2009 she was the Artistic Director for 10 years at Bearcreek Farms Resort in Bryant, IN. Prior to her time there, you could have seen her fall off a building at Old Tucson Studios, aboard a cruise as a production singer/dancer, or running her own entertainment company in Chicago, IL for 13 years. She would like to thank her brother Michael for teaching and guiding her through a difficult time but always keeping her laughing. He has taught her a goal is a dream with a deadline. This season is in memory of my most loyal, loving and sincere companion Brody Will Fall the 1st. She couldn't of asked for more from him. Laurie hopes your whole Amish Acres experience equals your expectation and remember to EMBRACE THE PACE

Richard Vollmer (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to be working with Round Barn Theatre. Previously he has worked for The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, The Cider Mill Playhouse and Johnson City Central School District in Upstate New York in their stage management departments. Richard is also a member of EMC program. This is the pre program to Equity of actors and stage managers. Richard graduated from Binghamton University in 2006 with a degree in Theatre Technology and Design with a concentration in Stage Management.

Rhondda Wallace (Smoke Director) For over thirty-eight years, Rhondda has traveled the country as a professional director, musical director, actor, musician, scenic artist and designer. Directing credits include the professional world premiere of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN HOMECOMING in Tennessee, SANDERS FAMILY CHRISTMAS, SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, SPITFIRE GRILL, HONKYTONK ANGELS, and many, many, many more. Known to Southern audiences as "Vera Sanders", Rhondda is in her 19th year as Vera and has performed in all the SMOKE shows including a National Tour, four runs at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, appearances on the Grand Ol' Opry and Opry Backstage and most recently at Lagniappe Theatre in Louisiana. Other favorite roles include Yente in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Jo in COWGIRLS, roles in QUILTERS and COTTON PATCH GOSPEL. This West Virginia native and resident is a member of Actors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Musicians. A graduate of Marshall University in Theatre and Art, she is a proud mother to her cats, Zebulon, Zacchaeus, and Zasu.


Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming
Theme Dinner Dates: September 23, 30, & October 21, 2011 Pot Luck Carry-in Dinner

Each Round Barn theatre Musical production calls for a Theme Dinner and Wine Bar, a joyous celebration with menus written with tongue-in-cheek show references and double entendres, often obscure and ridiculous. the responsibility for such frivolity rest solely with Richard Pletcher. The ensuing menus are lovingly prepared by chef Ruth Miller whose sense of humor make it into it kettle and skillet.

Theme Dinner reservations required. 
For reservations call (800) 800-4942.

Menu Includes:

Roasted Tomato and Carrot Soup

Pickled Eggs
Red Potato Salad
Pleasant Pickle Factory Sampler

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
Vegetable Noodle Casserole
Breaded and Pan Fried Catfish

Parsley Pototoes
Mustard Greens Seasoned with Bacon and Onion

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

Iced Tea, Lemonade, Coffees
Beer and Wine available for purchase

2011 Theme Dinner Menu