NEW COMPANY, SAME FACES - With the majority of the original cast in tact, Smoke on the Mountain is travelling to the Cumming Playhouse with the new Jasper-based North Georgia Acting Company. The show opened June 2 and will run through June 26.
For Ross Galbreath, creative director of a new Jasper-based acting company, theatrical productions should be all or nothing.
“The shows need to be 100 percent,” Galbreath said from his Jasper hair salon, Hollywood FX Studio off Bill Wigington Parkway. “They need to have the highest possible quality every time.”
Galbreath, who has more than flat irons and styling products up his sleeve, is bringing 20-years of entertainment industry experience to the new company, having worked for Walt Disney and on other live shows, independent films and special event productions in various roles, from directing to managing to producing and casting.
Galbreath has also supported Jasper’s 30-year-old theatrical troupe the Tater Patch Players with hair and makeup for the popular Steel Magnolias and Smoke on the Mountain productions.
Locally, however, the Florida native is perhaps best known for his show-stealing floats, which have been a favorite at Jasper Main Street parades since 2006.
Now Galbreath has launched his own acting group, the North Georgia Acting Company, and he has lofty goals for the fledging dramatic endeavor.
According to the mission statement, Galbreath envisions the company as an “outlet for creative involvement and offering educational, hands-on learning experience in all aspects of theatre for youth and adults.”
Not only does he plan to produce four full stage shows a year, Galbreath wants those shows to travel to neighboring cities of Ellijay, Cumming and Canton.
“You could say we’re a traveling group,” Galbreath said. “We want to approach community theatre in another way. I guess we just wanted to do something different. This way we can get more people involved and it will give people more options.”
Galbreath said he is open to doing a wide range of theatrical productions, thinking outside-the-box of the standard musical, drama and comedy.
“If people need entertainment we want to offer it,” he said, noting that parade floats and productions written in-house are part of the plan.
“We want to go beyond what people usually think of as community theatre,” he said. “This will give people here more options for entertainment. It’s like having the McDonald’s on the corner and the Burger King on the other corner. You just have more to choose from.”
Galbreath said he is also looking to offer a more versatile arena for performing artists in the area, bringing both hard work and satisfaction for those involved in the production.
“We have such great performers across North Georgia and we need to give the actors a challenge,” he said. “They need to be able to showcase their talents.”
For his first full stage production Galbreath has selected a play that will likely ring a few bells for Pickens residents.
Following the TPP production of Smoke on the Mountain last fall, which was one of the most successful shows in the troupe’s 30-year history, Galbreath said the cast approached him about continuing the show.
“They wanted to know if I would take it on,” Galbreath said, “and they were already really tight knit, like a family, so they wanted to stay together.”
After three months of rehearsals, which included two new cast members for the roles of Uncle Stanley and Pastor Oglethorpe, Smoke on the Mountain under the direction of the North Georgia Acting Company opened at the Cumming Playhouse on June 2 where it will run through June 26.
Over the course of the first four shows audiences swelled from around 60 on Thursday to a sell-out crowd Sunday.
Performances are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
You can learn more about Smoke on the Mountain or purchase tickets at www.playhousecumming.com.
Visit www.ngaactingcompany.com for more information about the North Georgia Acting Company.