VIDEO FLASHBACK: Showstoppers From The Original SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE
As reported on BroadwayWorld, an Equity casting notice has been posted for a Broadway revival of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, the songs of Leiber and Stoller. Jerry Zaks, who directed the original 1995 production, will helm the revival, which is aiming for an August 2016 opening.
Nominated for seven 1995 Tony Awards, SMOKEY'S JOE'S CAFÉ celebrates the pop hits written by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller during the 1950s and 60s, including "Kansas City," "On Broadway," "Poison Ivy," "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Hound Dog," 'I'm A Woman," " Love Potion #9," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Spanish Harlem."
The 1994-95 Broadway season was a strange one, with SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ being one of only two new musicals to open. The other, Andrew Lloyd Webber's SUNSET BOULEVARD, came up as the big winner at the Tony Awards, but SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ won the hearts of fans for 2036 performances, making it Broadway's longest running revue.
More than just a jukebox musical, Zaks and choreographer Joey McKneely worked hard to give dramatic narrative and theatricality to over three dozen songs that previously existed only on recordings or in concert performances.
Broadway lost a wonderful talent earlier this year with the passing of B.J. Crosby. She was also nominated for a Tony for her featured performance in SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, as was Victor Trent Cook. Here are the two of them in a classic scene where Cook pays homage to Elvis Presley's performance of "Treat Me Nice," and Crosby counters with a tribute to Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's original waxing of "Hound Dog."
While SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ was mostly a fun celebration, the show had its serious side, beautifully realized here by Ken Ard and Tony nominee Brenda Braxton's performance of "Spanish Harlem" and Victor Trent Cook's anguished rendition of "I (Who Have Nothing)"
Which of your Broadway favorites would you like to see in SMOKEY JOE's CAFE? Or maybe a young unknown will be bringing the house down. We'll find out next summer.