Legacy presents 'Sanders Family Christmas'

From left are Larry Cox, Jr., Caitlin Smith, Becky Clark, Doug Stroup, Richard Smith, Amy Bridges and Lamar Payne. Photo/Special.

In January of 2008 The Legacy Theatre in Tyrone brought you one of this country’s most produced shows during the last 20 years: Connie Ray and Alan Bailey’s bluegrass and gospel musical comedy, “Smoke on the Mountain.” Two years later it still stands as one of the most successful shows the theatre has produced.  The Legacy is excited this Christmas to bring their patrons the fantastic follow-up to this one-of-a-kind show. 

In thehit sequel, “Sanders Family Christmas,” the Sanders family returns to Mount Pleasant, N.C., home of the Mount Pleasant Pickle Factory.  It’s Christmas Eve, 1941, four years after the events of “Smoke on the Mountain.”  Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe has invited the Sanders to the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church to sing and witness, getting the congregation into the down home holiday spirit before the boys, including one of the Sanders’ own, are shipped off to World War II.  More than two dozen Christmas carols, many of them vintage hymns, and hilarious yuletide stories from the more or less devout Sanders family keep the audience laughing, clapping and singing along with bluegrass Christmas favorites. 

The cast boasts veterans of the Legacy stage as well as some new faces.  Lamar Payne will reprise his role as the Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe.  Lamar just finished playing Boolie Werthan in the Legacy’s critically acclaimed “Driving Miss Daisy.” Other returning cast members include Amy Bridges as the show-stealing June Sanders (“I don’t sing, I sign!”) and Becky Clark as Vera,  the stern but hilarious piano-playing matriarch of the Sanders Family.  Larry Cox, Jr. last seen as Rooster in “Annie” this summer, will play the twin, Dennis (“He’s the boy.”).  The Legacy is honored to welcome the talented Atlanta actress Caitlin Smith to its stage.  Caitlin was a  2010 Suzi Bass nominee for the role of Tracy Turnblad in The Atlanta Lyric’s “Hairspray.” She will be playing the precocious twin Denise (“She’s the girl.”) 

Playing the Sanders patriarch, Burl, is the talented singer/songwriter/pastor/actor, Doug Stroup from Henry County.  Burl’s brother and the black sheep of the family, Stanley, is played by Richard Smith, assistant principal at Sandy Creek High School. The Legacy is blessed to find talent like Richard’s right at its back door! The show’s music is directed by Scott Bradley, who directed “Smoke on the Mountain” and “Tuna Christmas” for the Legacy, and who is currently the music director for Derby Dinner Playhouse in Indiana. 

You will not want to miss this sure-fire hit this Christmas season.“Sanders Family Christmas” runs Nov. 26-Dec. 19.  Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3p.m.  The Legacy is also showing “Little House Christmas” Dec 4 at 11 a.m. and Dec 11 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.  Reserve your tickets by calling 404-895-1473 or go online at www.thelegacytheatre.org.

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