BWW Reviews: SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE Will Delight All!

August 19
5:55 AM 2014
BWW Reviews: SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE Will Delight All!

A show like Smokey Joe's Cafe SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE is a risk of a show to put on. it's actors singing old rock and roll songs on a stage. It's up to a very good director to give the show life. Smokey Joe's Cafe SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE which opened at the Woodlawn Friday night had a Director/Choreographer Chris Rodriguez that understands this fact and does an amazing job of breathing life into this show.

Following the theme of it's opening number, each song plays out as a story of these people and the lives they lead. Not only does this make this plotless show work but it cuts to a deeper level with an audience that lived in this time period often finding something in a song and the story it tells that they relate to.

This theme of a neighborhood with stories to tell can be seen even in the set design by both Kurt Wehner and Ben Grabill which can at first seem a bit pale but it seems to be a deliberate choice as to make this neighborhood any American neighborhood of the time. With lighting design by Matt Smith, It tries not to overuse any of the tricks up his sleeve but this leaves some of the songs kind of dry in the visual sense. Costume Designer Rose Kennedy is another strong point of this show. Nothing seems out of place and at some point in the show her talent shows off as large dancing suits come out and delight the crowned

While the male half of the cast was strong with stand out performances from Jerry Cordova. His voice was like those of the croners of the time and could make anyone swoon. Brain Hodges energetic performance lit up the stage every time he was on.

But the female singers were truly what made the show outstanding. Their Voices had the power to take you from sassy to heartbreak. Danielle King does what she does best and that is steal the show almost anytime she's on stage. Like i've said at the beginning, this show can be hard to pull off But the Woodlawn's production of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE has many moments that will have you laughing, Clapping, and yes I even found myself toe tapping. You'll leave the theater in such a light-hearted mood and with songs that will stick in your head for days after.

SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE Plays at The Woodlawn Theater until September 14, 2014

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