It’s Your Last Chance to See Smokey Joe’s Cafe at Stage 42 — Closing November 4

It’s your last chance to catch the joyous off-Broadway revival of Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller, the all-new incarnation of the record-breaking Broadway hit. The revue, which was originally produced on Broadway in 1995 and was the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, closes Sunday, November 4. Information at www.smokeyjoescafemusical.com,  Stage 42, 422 West 42nd Street.

John Edwards, Jelani Remy, Dwayne Cooper and Kyle Taylor Parker Photo credit: Julia Russell

You know the bluesy rock ‘n roll songs and ballads, and I defy you not to tap your feet as the nine-member ensemble led by director choreographer Joshua Bergasse sing more than 30 classic songs like “Stand by Me,” “I’m a Woman,” “Hound Dog,” “Fools Fall In Love,” “On Broadway,” “Yakety Yak,” “Pearl’s a Singer,” “Treat Me Nice,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Love Potion #9,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Spanish Harlem.”

Emma Degerstedt with Jelani Remy, Shavey Brown, Dwayne Cooper and Max Sangerman Photo credit: Joan Marcus

The show’s stars bring a mix of Broadway and Off-Broadway musical expertise to Smokey Joe’s Café. Dwayne Cooper (Motown, Hairspray), Emma Degerstedt (Desperate Measures Off-Broadway), John Edwards (Jersey Boys), Dionne D. Figgins (Hot Feet, Memphis), Nicole Vanessa Ortiz (Spamilton Off-Broadway), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Jelani Remy (Disney’s The Lion King), Max Sangerman (Blue Man Group Off-Broadway), and Alysha Umphress (On The Town, American Idiot) stand out with their renditions of the classic Leiber & Stoller tunes. Music fans will also recognize the duo as the writers of songs for such legends as Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, The Coasters and The Drifters.

Kyle Taylor Parker, Dwayne Cooper, John Edwards and Jelani Remy Photo credit: Gary Ng

Smokey Joe’s Café has a playlist that keeps the audience rocking, with a wide range of tunes from joyous anthems (“Saved”) to comedic romps (“Charlie Brown”) to songs of yearning (“I Who Have Nothing”). The storytelling and community-building aspects of the songs celebrate the humor, passion, and heartbreak that infuse everyday lives. Bringing to life moments of friendship and unity, the revue is just what we need to bring our very-divided country together. The songs’ messages and emotions resonate today, perhaps with more power than ever.

Dionne D. Figgins and Dwayne Cooper Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Smokey Joe’s Cafe is directed and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse and features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, original vocal arrangements by Chapman Roberts, additional original vocal arrangements by Louis St. Louis, music direction by Matt Oestreicher and orchestrations by Sonny Paladino and Steve Margoshes. Music Supervision and new arrangements are also by Mr. Paladino. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting. The show was co-conceived by Stephen Helper and Jack Viertel. It is produced by Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel and Tom Viertel, who also produced the show’s original Broadway engagement.

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