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Graner to appear in “Smoke on the Mountain” at Burritt

Savannah Graner will join the rowdy Sanders family in Renaissance Theatre’s production of “Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming.”

Savannah Graner is portraying Denise in “Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming.” – Photo by In the Liight Photography

Shows will be presented in the Old Country Church (formerly home to First Baptist Church of Madison) at Burritt on the Mountain.

Graner auditioned for Renaissance Theatre for her love “of theatre. They are a great production company. Gayl Miller, the director, emailed me about playing Denise Sanders. We met up and talked about it, and the rest is history.”

Set in 1945 after World War II, “Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming” has the Sanders family “reuniting one last time before they scatter for good. Denise is the daughter of Vera and Burl. She’s feisty, bossy and a bit of a rebel,” Graner said.

Appearance is Denise’s priority “and making sure it looks like she has the perfect life,” Graner said.

Would Graner befriend a real-life Denise? “I would love to be friends with her. She makes everything interesting. There’s never a dull moment when she’s around,” Graner said. “Denise and I are actually a lot alike in some ways.”

The cast includes Todd Hess (Rev. Oglethorpe), Mel White (Burl Sanders), Ronnie Bell (Vera Sanders), Dominick Desta (Dennis Sanders), John Abbot (Uncle Stanley), Michelle Huguley (June Sanders) and Barry Norwood (Cousin Cletous).

The crew includes music director Barry Norwood, assistant director Todd Hess, producers Bob Baker and Arecia Jones and costume mistress Margie Cumbie.

A senior at Bob Jones High School, Graner has appeared four years with Patriot Singers. “In June, we performed at St. Peter’s Basilica and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome,” she said. She is in Patriot Players, the advanced production class that competes at the State Trumbauer Festival.

Graner has appeared in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Thirteen – The Musical,” “Guys and Dolls,” soloed in “An Evening with Jason Robert Brown” and student directed “Annie.”

After high school, she hopes to attend the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York City.

Her parents are Clay and Anisa Graner. She has one brother, Austin.

Show times are Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 23- 25 at 7 p.m., along with a 2:30 matinee on Aug. 19. Tickets are $20. Call 256-536-2882 or visit burrittonthemountain.com.

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