The Ottumwa Courier

March 8, 2013

Musicians, singers sought for ‘Smoke on the Mountain’

Ottumwa Courier

ELDON — The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival has announced open auditions for its upcoming production of “Smoke on the Mountain.”

Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. March 13-14 at the McHaffey Opera House in Eldon.

The show will be presented June 7-9 in the newly refurbished opera house. This production, the first in the summerlong festival, also will be the first production in the opera house since the early 20th century. “Smoke on the Mountain” includes 27 standard bluegrass gospel songs.

The musical instruments needed are piano, guitar, mandolin, accordian, string bass, banjo, fiddle, autoharp, ukulele, harmonica.

The cast includes Mervin Oglethorpe, a Baptist pastor in his late 20s to 40s, and the Sanders family: Burl, the father, in his late 40s to 50s; Vera, the mother, in her mid 40s to 50s; Stanley, the uncle, in his late 40s to 50s; Dennis and Denise, 17-year-old twins; and June, a sister, who is 23.

Those interested in auditioning should be prepared to sing, play or sing, and perform 16 measures (about one minute) of a bluegrass/gospel song, hymn or other music in a similar style. An accompanist will be provided for those needing one. Music should be provided by those auditioning.

No reading of dialogue will be done at this audition. Those wishing to audition can schedule an audition time by logging onto the festival’s website at and following the audition links. Download and complete the registration form and bring it to the audition.

Audition times also may also be scheduled by calling 641-680-1409. Besides the scheduled auditions, open auditions (not scheduled) will begin at 8:30 p.m. each evening on a first-come, first-serve basis. All individuals should arrive 10-15 minutes before their scheduled audition.

The musical director for “Smoke on the Mountain” will be Dennis Willhoit. Miriam Kenning will be the stage director. Kenning and Willhoit also encourage those interested in working on costumes, props, set, makeup and box office to either contact them via the website or at the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival Facebook page.