Returning to the musical genre has been a goal for Baldwin Players Director Brian Ray for a long time. On March 6-8, his theater troupe at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College puts his plan into action when it stages “Smoke on the Mountain” at 7 p.m. each night on the Wiregrass Opry stage at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village.
“Since taking over the Baldwin Players in 2012, I have been trying to select plays that would serve two functions,” Ray said. “I wanted to provide the students working on the plays a chance to learn about theatre, performing, and themselves, and be engaging and entertaining for the audience, especially the community audience in Tifton.
“I really wanted to get local people interested in theatre at ABAC, so I chose shows that they would have some familiarity with and would find entertaining.”
Those are the reasons that the Baldwin Players and the ABAC music program will team up to perform Connie Ray and Alan Bailey’s off-Broadway musical “Smoke on the Mountain” at the GMA’s outdoor venue. Tickets are free to faculty, staff and students with ABAC ID. The general public can purchase tickets at the door for $7.
Ray had initially planned to do a comedy each fall semester and a drama in the spring semesters. However, since the Baldwin Players performed Shakespeare’s
“The Taming of the Shrew” in the fall, it was a challenge to figure out the next production.
“I knew that a musical would be educational, entertaining and it would top Shakespeare,” Ray said. “ABAC hadn’t had a musical in a long time, and I have a soft spot in my heart for musicals. I love being in them, and the audiences love to see them. So, despite never having directed one before, I decided to bring a musical to ABAC’s stage.”