Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Features / Living

May 30, 2007

Matt Smith: Plaza play soars with heavenly harmony

Welcome to Mount Pleasant, N.C., a place that, in the words of one character, is the “only town that smells like it should belong on a hot dog.”

Times are tough for the rural outpost, what with the Depression full on and the town’s main employer driven out of business. Faith proves stronger, however, and nowhere more so than at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

The Rev. Oglethorpe (Daniel Merrifield) leads the flock — that flock being the Plaza Theatre Co. audience — while a band of traveling troubadours, the Sanders family, delivers the song and dance. It’s best not to tell the busybody church ladies about the latter though.

And what great music “Smoke on the Mountain” delivers. Despite one’s religious persuasion, or lack thereof, I’m betting few could resist tapping toes and clapping along to the show’s heady mix of folk, bluegrass, gospel and harmony. Some songs are so joyful and upbeat that audience members may convert on the spot while others are as mournful as a beloved family hound on his last legs.

The play’s story (the music’s really the thing here) occurs between and within the numbers. Father Burl Sanders (G. Aaron Sanders) battles temptations of moral compromise in the face of declining business while his brother, Stanley Sanders (JaceSon Barrus) struggles with temptations of a wayward life while seeking salvation through church and family. Mother Vera Sanders (Darcy Farrington) keeps a close watch on everyone, especially daughters Denise (Kaitlin McDonald) and June Sanders (Danielle Beacham) who spend much of the play making doe eyes at Oglethorpe. Painfully shy Dennis Sanders (Joey Geisel) prays the Lord will fill his mouth with the right words. He stutters while proclaiming in deer-in-the-headlights fashion his intention to preach. No huge surprise what happens next.

Text Only
Features / Living
  • PHOTO1.tif The story of Leonard J. “Big Bear” Beal

    This article first appeared in the Sept. 10, 2006, edition of the Times-Review. The late Leonard J. “Big Bear” Beal of Grandview will be remembered with a museum under construction at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum on U.S. 67.

    Bear, who lives near Grandview, 83, showed me around his place. Everything he had in storage was once a part of an old-time cabin museum, stagecoach depot, trading post and Indian village he built and operated in Torrance, Calif.

    April 13, 2014 3 Photos

  • C1.jpg That '70s Marriage

    Τwenty years ago they celebrated in Hawaii. But this go around Cleburne couple Gregory and Lorene DeGroat marked March 11’s momentous milestone in their relationship in a low-key manner.

    March 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • B1.jpg Improving the quality of life through art

    Walking into the main entrance of the old J.N. Long Elementary School, the walls of the main hallway are lined with tables filled with different pieces of art ranging from photographs to watercolor paintings.

    March 23, 2014 5 Photos

  • IMG_4401.JPG Improving the quality of life through art

    Walking into the main entrance of the old J.N. Long Elementary School, the walls of the main hallway are lined with tables filled with different pieces of art ranging from photographs to watercolor paintings.

    March 23, 2014 5 Photos

  • PHOTO.tif Jellystone formula for fun: Just add water

    North Texas Jellystone Camp-Resort in Burleson is hoping to make a splash this spring, when workers complete a $1 million water park expansion to its Pirate’s Cove.

    March 9, 2014 5 Photos

  • photo1 Blowing novelist Grey Stone’s cover

    By page three, the hero of “The Lenora Assignment” has received the Congressional Medal of Honor, accepted a secret mission from the U.S. attorney general and  rescued a ship full of child prostitutes. 

    February 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 8.07.55 AM.png As I write this letter

    Valentine’s Day and a 1984 general delivery letter, posted on the off chance it would reach its intended recipient, loom large in the story of Burleson husband and wife Johnny and Sandra Green.

    February 9, 2014 6 Photos

  • photo.tif We loved them Yeah Yeah Yeah

    It was shot in black and white because the bigwigs at United Artists didn’t think it worth wasting money to film, the Beatles’ first film, 1964’s “A Hard Day’s Night,” in color. It received the green light in 1963, well before anyone in America knew or cared who they were. It should have been a mess, akin to the teen junk of the Elvis and ’50s rock-‘n’-roll films that preceded it.

    February 2, 2014 6 Photos

  • photo 1.tif Fossil Rim promotes education for a younger generation

    If you travel U.S. 67 to Glen Rose, there is a place that is like the African safari and exotic animals roam freely on 1,800 acres of land — Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

    January 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • photo.tif Cleburne artist whittles his life away

    The Christmas wonderland that garnished Jackie and Linda Hudson’s Cleburne home is finally safely stowed away, but scheduled to return sometime around November.

    January 19, 2014 8 Photos

Latest CTR Videos
Front page
Facebook
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
House Ads
Featured Ads
CTR Sports
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide