Comscore

Why was Smoky Joe's such a hit and After Midnight a Commercial failure?

Jarethan
Understudy
joined:2/10/11
I have to admit the seeing Smoky Joe's was total agony for me...I absolutely hated it; that said, After Midnight was so much more ambitious, and the audience reaction, I.e., enthusiastic applause vs. silly standing ovations, was so much more enthusiastic.

I have heard that the Tony's did it, but After Midnight had a great number as well. So, what am I missing?
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
I don't even see why the comparison. Even if they are both revues, the material and presentation are completely different. Timing and competition have a lot to do with too.
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Wayman_Wong
Broadway Star
joined:4/22/04
Blaxx is right. Other than both being revues that feature a lot of African-American performers, there's no real comparison. In the terms of material, a better parallel might be between 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' and 'Motown' (which both deal in music of the '60s). Ditto, for 'After Midnight' and 'Sophisticated Ladies' (which both celebrate the music of Duke Ellington). And yes, 'timing and competition.' 'Smokey Joe's' opened in a very weak season and got a chance to establish itself with little competition. In fact, 'Smokey Joe's' and 'Sunset Blvd.' were the only 2 shows up for 1995 Best Musical.
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
More people are drawn to Motown than to Duke Ellington.
yr pal,
joey




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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Wilmingtom
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/11
It's a shame that After Midnight opened after Motown, targeting the same audience and running at the same time. Both are worthy shows but Motown is a brand and After Midnight is a title. I thought the rotating celebrity bit might keep AM running a little longer but, alas. As a sidenote, I recently saw a very good community theater production of Smokey Joe's and was stricken all over again at how well that show is constructed, keeping you constantly engaged. SJ also had the advantage of being ahead of the jukebox curve. It was novel.
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HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
There's obviously not one, pat answer to a question this big. But, as others have said, I have to imagine the time period being featured is a big factor. If you look at the average age of those likely to buy theatre tickets, they're going to have much more of an emotional connection to the Motown music of the 60s and 70s than they are to music of the Cotton Club era. The cotton club era sound is that of their parents. Motown is their sound.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Because Smoky Joe's had a woman that did the shimmy and every night the audience would attend just to see if one of her breasts was going to fly out of that dress.
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brdway411
Broadway Star
joined:2/24/14
After Midnight reminds me more of Black and Blue.
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TappingMan
Swing
joined:10/20/12
I love both shows. Unfortunately I felt that After Midnight was so terrific as Cotton Club Parade at City Center.
They made bad changes.

Also the star power only singing three songs isn't very satisfying.
I also think a cast recording would have helped
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Susanswerphone
Understudy
joined:4/26/14
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adamgreer
Broadway Legend
joined:3/18/05
Smokey Joe's also opened in a season where, if I remember correctly, there was only one other new musical- Sunset Boulevard. There was also only 2 revivals- the Broderick H2$ and Stroman's Showboat.

I'm sure opening in a season with so few other shows helped, too.

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WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
Smokey Joe had 7 actors and a unit set.

After Midnight had, what, 20 people on stage and how big of a running crew to move the bandstand and make all those quick changes?

That is a big reason right there.
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Wilmingtom
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/11
Goth, why so puerile? DeLee couldn't have gotten her breast out of that costume unless she'd unzipped it and taken it off. Sheesh.
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Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
There was also only 2 revivals- the Broderick H2$ and Stroman's Showboat.

You forgot the disastrous Gentleman Prefer Blondes.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
"Goth, why so puerile?"

Perhaps you miss the point of the shimmy?
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/11
^ Cute, uptempo dance number? Just guessing.

 
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