The Pembina Gorge will echo with laughter and gospel music as the Frost Fire Summer Theatre goes into full swing Saturday, July 1. The theatre, located in the heart of the Pembina River Gorge, has been showcasing Broadway hits for over 30 years, and this year’s show, “Smoke on the Mountain”, will make its debut performance on the Frost Fire stage.
By Melissa Anderson
“This is the first time that Frost Fire has produced ‘Smoke on the Mountain’. However, it is a show that we have talked about doing for a number of years, and this show has been a mainstay in Branson, Miss. for more than 20 years,” David Paukert, director for the performance, said.
David and Amy Jo Paukert have been involved with Frost Fire Summer Theatre for 24 years. They retired three years ago but were asked to come back to manage the theatre as it makes its transition from being a privately owned business to one owned by the Pembina Gorge Foundation.
“Frost Fire will always hold a special spot in our hearts, and we are honored to be a part of this exciting time in its rebirth,” the Paukerts said. “We owe so much to Dick and Judith Johnson for their great vision in what this area could become. It is a privilege to work with the Pembina Gorge Foundation as it works to make the Pembina Gorge a recreational destination.”
The Frost Fire Resort was recently purchased by the non-profit Pembina Gorge Foundation and is in a transition year as it works to make the Pembina Gorge and Frost Fire a premier tourist destination.
The summer theatre program is currently rebuilding the production staff but still believes this production will be a good show as it is not only entertaining but requires fewer production needs than most shows. It has a unit set, each actor has one costume, there isn’t a lot of choreography, and it has a small cast.
“The challenge is that each of the cast members not only has to be able to sing and act but also play at least one or more instruments. It also requires a variety of ages since it is a family of performers,” Paukert explained.
“Smoke on the Mountain” is set in the heart of North Carolina in 1938 – following the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus. As the family sings and “witnesses” at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Saturday Night Gospel Sing, they endear themselves to the audience as they share their weaknesses and triumphs.
“It’s sort of a mix of Mayberry RFD and Prairie Home Companion combined with great country, gospel and bluegrass music,” Paukert stated.
Want dinner and a show? No problem as the resort offers a delicious experience to set the mood to your trip back in time to a 1938 North Carolina country church.
“Since the show takes place in a small, rural North Carolina Church, we have decided to include our food service in the act and by offering an old fashioned church-style buffet for our theatre customers,” Paukert said.
Performances will take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning Saturday, July 1 with an evening show. Matinees will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays with evening performances at 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets are $12 for children and $30 for adults.
There will be a few special event weekends during the production of “Smoke on the Mountain”. The opening weekend, Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2, will honor veterans and current military with “Honor Our Veterans” Weekend.
“They will be recognized before the shows and receive a token of appreciation from the Pembina Gorge Foundation and cast. They will also receive a free item at the concessions,” Paukert stated.
The weekend of July 15-16 will be “Rendezvous Region” weekend with special activities to be held on Saturday and Sunday.
The final weekend of the season, August 5 and 6, will be “Pembina Gorge Foundation Weekend”.
“A variety of family activities promoting the beauty and recreational opportunities of the Gorge will be presented,” Paukert said.
Want to get your tickets in advance and want online convenience? The Frost Fire Summer Theatre is now providing a new online ticket service this year. Tickets reservations can be made by calling 701-549-3602 or by going to frostfiretheatre.com There is a special reduced rate for groups of ten or more.
“We are excited to be back up at Frost Fire again and look forward to seeing so many of the folks that we have gotten to know up there over the many years. It kind of feels like coming home,” Paukert said.
The Frost Fire Summer Theatre is thrilled to bring this outstanding, family friendly, stage production to the beautiful Frost Fire Theatre. Be sure to make one of the limited performances for an experience you won’t forget.