TBR Theater Review: ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’ sizzles at the Engeman

September 30, 2021

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please take your seats

and grasp on to your armrests.

You’re about to be part of

a musical experience!

Oh, and

You WILL get the urge to

jump up, sing and dance.

GO for it!

You have just entered

SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ!!

On September 16, the lights came up once again on the Main Stage at the Engeman Theater since they were shuttered last March and there’s no better way to premier their 14th season of bringing professional theatre to Long Island audiences than with the Grammy Award winning and Tony nominated hit, Smokey Joe’s Café. This exceptional revue holds a special place at the Engeman since it was the very first show produced on their stage back in 2007.

The second the theater’s red curtains sweep open, we are catapulted into a dazzling world that is Broadway’s longest running musical review. This fast-paced show brims with 40 high powered hits by the prolific songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who wrote for icons like Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, The Coasters and The Drifters. The show is over in a blink of an eye and at the end all you want is an encore.

Since this is a musical revue it is devoid of dialogue, but the songs create little vignettes. It takes a talented ensemble to tell stories through song and that’s exactly what Deidre Goodwin has accomplished with her directorial choices, stunning choreography and perfect casting. Goodwin has placed the audience in the hands of these dynamic entertainers who ignite the house.

Soon the audience becomes a venerable character taking part in the show by punctuating the end of every song with enthusiastic cheers and applause. Audience response culminates with an explosive standing ovation at the curtain call. The one reprised song, Neighborhood, performed eloquently by the entire company, serves to connect the songs creating a scrapbook feel.

There are so many captivating moments in this show.

In Young Blood, we meet a quintet of male performers (Devinre Adams as Ken, Tasheim Ramsey Pack as Adrian, Christopher Brasfield as Victor, Brian Maurice Kinnard a Fred and Jeff Sullivan as Michael) with smooth dancing and powerful harmonies.

In Dance With Me, B.J. (Elizabeth Yetunde Adabale) wraps the lyrics around her BIG leather voice that sends chills. Adabale captivates each time she takes center stage.

As Pattie, Francesca Ferrari, in I Keep Forgettin’ and Pearl’s a Singer shows off her formidable vocal dexterity capable of filling the house with her high notes that fall into a gravelly blues sound that almost resurrects Janis Joplin.

DeLee, Alysha Morgan, in Teach Me How to Shimmy, stops the show with her incredible dance made even more exciting by costume designer David Withrow’s sparkling silver fringe mini dress, just one in his array of striking showpiece costumes that permit ease of movement.

Mars Storm Rucker as Brenda draped in Winthrow’s black gown replete with a mile long train, is sultry and seductive as they declare a no-nonsense ultimatum in the torch song Don Juan. Rucker returns with their gorgeous belting voice in Some Cats Know. Equipped with nothing more than a simple staged chair acting as their partner, this visual is reminiscent of a Bob Fosse Chicago routine.

Brasfield is a uniquely talented force with his comical whiskey guzzling D.W. Washburn, to his impressive falsetto that blasts into the stratosphere in his heart wrenching I (Who Have Nothing).

A battle of the sexes ensues when the female ensemble gives a scorching rendition of I’m a Woman that reads like a spiked heal smashing down on the men’s lascivious turn at Little Egypt.

Scenic designer David Goldstein has given each song its own setting by constructing a raised platform, stairs on one side and spiral staircase on the other against an abstract backdrop of city windows that are enhanced by John Burkland’s lighting design which morphs into a variety of colors from pinks to blues to whites to yellows behind the windowpanes signifying mood changes. An outstanding touch is the strings of vertical white lights that exhilarate and define On Broadway.

The songs never quit and the five piece band keeps the energy flowing. Highlighted instrumental solos add excitement to some numbers. Joel Levy’s saxophone fires up Spanish Harlem while Darnell White’s keyboard joins in the fun with Charlie Brown and Baby, That is Rock & Roll is infused with Ray Sabatello’s spirited guitar riffs and Russell Brown’s cool bass.

This is theatre at its best dropped right in the middle of Northport. From the moment you enter the Engeman, you are awed by the attention to detail from its well-appointed lobby to its stadium style seating. It is as if you have been lifted by a tornado of Oz-like proportion and dropped right in the middle of Broadway. That sensation continues all through this spectacular show until you step back outside only to realize you are indeed on bucolic Main Street.

Join the celebratory reopening of theatre at the Engeman with a show that is packed with hit songs, slick dance numbers and a first-rate cast. This is truly a feast for the mind and the soul.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Smokey Joe’s Cafe through Oct. 31. Tickets are $75 per person and include free valet parking. For more information or to order, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

BWW Review: SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE at the John W. Engeman Theater

Smithtown Matters – A Smoking Hot Show at the John W. Engeman Theater

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 AT 10:32PM

By Cindi Sansone-Braff

A Smoking Hot Show at the John W. Engeman Theater

A year and a half after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the theater industry, Northport’s beloved Engeman Theater is alive and well and thrilled to reopen their Main Stage, with Smokey Joe’s Cafe, a musical revue by the legendary songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  Was the audience happy to be back watching live theatre?  Did they like the show?  Saturday evening’s rousing standing ovation says it all. This Grammy award-winning and Tony Award-nominated hit show runs now through Halloween.

The original Broadway production at the Virginia Theatre, directed by Jerry Zaks, opened on March 2, 1995. This classic jukebox musical was the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history. The mega-hit collection of some of the greatest songs of the past century is the primary reason this show remains an audience favorite.  Many of these chart-topping hits were originally performed by musical legends like Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, The Coasters, and The Drifters.

Like most musical revues, Smokey Joe’s Cafe doesn’t have a unifying theme, dialogue, or book. However, it does have unforgettable tunes, robust dance numbers, non-stop 1950’s nostalgia, pulsating energy, and sensational vocals.  The wide range of musical genres, including folk, gospel, country, blues, R&B, doo-wop, and rock’ n’ roll, had the audience clapping, hooting, and toe-tapping throughout the evening.  The superb cast seemed to be having as much fun on stage performing these classic song and dance numbers as the audience had watching them.

Director and Choreographer Deirdre Goodwin imbued this sizzling production with an overabundance of heart, soul, and humor. The dazzling period costumes by David Withrow and the expertise of the formidable band gave the show added pizzazz.

For this show, two understudies with star power, Alysha Morgan as Delee and ElizabethYetunde Adabale as B.J., stepped in to fill the roles that Alia Munsch (Delee) and Kai Brittani White (B.J.) regularly perform.

Alysha Morgan’s “Teach Me How to Shimmy” performance was a real showstopper, and her spectacular white beaded costume accented her energetic shimmies.  She also delivered an emotion-packed version of “Falling.”

Elizabeth Yetunde Adabale gave Elvis a run for his money as she belted out “Hound Dog,” and her marvelous voice, with unbelievable range and control, thrilled the audience with her powerful rendition of “Fools Fall in Love.”

Tasheim Ramsey Pack, as Adrian, displayed his impressive vocal range when he sang the classic “Stand by Me,” and when the company joined him on stage, they revealed their pitch-perfect harmonies.

“Jailhouse Rock” was, for me, the highlight of the evening.  The unstoppable powerhouse, Jeff Sullivan as Michael, astounded the audience with his Elvis-like gyrations, energized interpretation of this blockbuster hit, and his athletic prowess as he shinnied down a long pole.  During the finale, he wowed the audience as he raced back up the pole in record time.

“Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown” were two upbeat, animated, funny song-and-dance numbers, where the entire company got to strut their stuff.  These songs also gave Brian Maurice Kinnard as Fred a chance to show off his physical comedy skills.  Throughout the show, Mr. Kinnard’s immense talents were evident.  He has a rich, lyric baritone voice and his versatile dance moves, including a quick split, were most impressive.

Christopher Brasfield was charismatic as Victor and killed the song, “I (Who Have Nothing).” He moved the audience with the raw emotion that spilled out of him with every heartrending word and piercing falsetto cry he uttered.

Mars Rucker played Brenda and gave a soaring solo with a sultry, mesmerizing performance of “Some Cats Know.”

“Saved,” a gospel revival number sung by Elizabeth Yetunde Adabale and company, ignited the audience with their colorful costumes, fun props, lively dance sequence, and strong vocals.

Francesca Ferrari portrayed Pattie and gave an unforgettable performance during “I Keep Forgettin.” Her voice was raw, biting, and soulful.  Ms. Ferrari gave a stand-out performance with her rendition of the ballad “Pearl’s a Singer.”

Devinré Adams as Ken showed his strengths as both a singer and a dancer during his stunning performance of “Spanish Harlem.”

This great date-night, family-friendly show is a crowd-pleaser and highly entertaining. You don’t want to miss it!  You may purchase tickets by calling (631) 261-2900 or online at www.EngemanTheater.com or in person at the Engeman Theater Box Office at 250 Main Street, Northport.

 

Cindi Sansone-Braff is an award-winning playwright. She has a BFA in Theatre from UCONN and is a member of the Dramatist Guilds. She is the author of two self-help books, Grant Me a Higher Love and Why Good People Can’t Leave Bad Relationships.

LIN – Engeman Serves Up A Musical Feast In Smokey Joe’s Cafe

Live Shows Return To The Engeman Stage After A 19-Month Pandemic Hiatus

By jake Pellegrino
jake@longislandergroup.com

The John W. Engeman Theater at North-port reopened with a jubilant celebration of everything that makes live theater great on Thurs. Sept. 16 with its production of “Smokey Joe’s Café.”

A musical revue, “Smokey Joe’s Café” takes the audience on a journey back to the ’50s and ’60s and though there is no setting or plot, what makes the show special is that it makes you feel connected to the characters and the time period through its music.

Additionally, this creates a unifying theme of togetherness and community which is ap-propriate given that it this is the first live pro-duction at the Engeman in 19 months. Evident by the packed house on opening weekend, the community is ready to to enjoy live entertainment in person again.

Just nine cast members pull off impres-sive acrobatics and prop effects and belt out classic hits of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller like “Neighborhood,” “Kansas City,” “Poi-son Ivy,” “Don Juan,” “Yakety Yak,” “On Broadway,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Love Potion No. 9.” Their acrobatics are espe-cially representative in a scene where the cast transforms their bodies into a human bicycle.

Lieber and Stoller were well known as the songwriters for artists such as Elvis Presley, The Coasters, The Drifters and Ben E. King. The pair were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

The cast also shows off their range with some powerhouse performances like “Neighborhood,” performed by the entire company; “Poison Ivy” performed by Dev-inré Adams, Tasheim Ramsey Pack, Brian Maurice Kinnard and Christopher Bras-field; and softer melodic tunes like “Falling” sung by Alia Munsch, and “Some Cats Know” performed by Mars Storm Rucker.

The show’s production value also matches the high-energy music in the show. The colorful costumes are authentically representative of the time as is the backdrop set representing windowpanes lit up with LED screens.

“Smokey Joe’s Café” runs until Oct. 31. Tickets are available online at Engemantheater.com or call the box office at 631-261-2900.

The Theatre Guide – Smokey Joe’s Cafe – Theatre Review

Smokey Joe’s Cafe – John W. Engeman Theater – The Theatre Guide

September 22nd, 2021

By Jessica Kennedy.

The days are getting cooler, pumpkin spice is in the air, and live theater is back on Long Island! After over 500 days, the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport opens its doors for its stunning rendition of Smokey Joe’s Cafe (September 16- October 31). This Grammy Award-winning and Tony Award- nominated musical revue is a wonderful way to welcome back excited theatergoers.

Directed and Choreographed by Deidre Goodwin, this musical revue- Broadway’s longest running- feels like the right way to celebrate the return to live theater. The program features 40 of the most iconic songs of the past century, including fan favorites like “Stand By Me,” “Charlie Brown,” and “On Broadway.” The line up of music lauds the songwriting of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, known for writing or co-writing over 70 chart hits, and for being inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

While the show follows no particular pattern or plot, the effect of this musical experience is no less cohesive and magical. The cast of nine performers works synchronously and seamlessly to create a flow from rhythm to rhythm, mood to mood. The songs which spotlight a lead singer are often beautifully complimented by the other performers supplying harmony, dance, and even acrobatic assists if the song calls for a little Cirque de Soleil inspired choreography! While each song was beautiful and unique in its own right, viewers are bound to have their personal favorites. Group performance stand outs for me include “Searchin,” “I’m a Woman,” and “Teach Me How to Shimmy,” while Mars Rucker delivered a show-stoppingly awesome rendition of “Don Juan,” and Elizabeth Adabale’s “Fools Fall in Love” left me breathless. I’m also a sucker for a great duet, and Francesca Ferrari and Tasheim Pack certainly delivered a powerful one with “Love Me/Don’t.”

Everyone will have their own favorites, but anyone in the audience will agree- the 2021/2022 season at Engeman is opening with a hit!

READ ONLINE

Newsday – Curtain Up! A behind-the-scenes look at how live theater returned to LI

Smokey Joe’s Cafe – John W. Engeman Theater – Newsday

September 2oth, 2021

By Daniel Bubbeo

When Northport’s John W. Engeman Theater opened on June 28, 2007, the curtain went up on its first production, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” a musical pastiche featuring hits like “Hound Dog,” “On Broadway” and 37 others from the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller songbook.

As the theater reopens this weekend with its first main stage musical since being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, it’s only fitting that “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” is getting an encore.

“It’s a perfect choice because of Engeman’s history with this show and because of how this show makes people feel, and we need some joy”

Director-choreographer Deidre Goodwin

“There’s catharsis in this show, which I think we also need, and the cast is smaller. Its music may be from a different time period, but it’s timeless,” said Goodwin.

From the set’s flashing lights to the even flashier numbers, Goodwin promises this production won’t be the same old song and dance as the Engeman’s first version. Still, nothing could have prepared anyone for the challenges COVID would bring to the production process.

But in the spirit of the old show-biz adage, “the show must go on.” Here’s a scene-by-scene rundown of what it took to put on “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” as live theater returns to Long Island.

For Goodwin, a seasoned director and performer who has appeared on Broadway in “Chicago,” “A Chorus Line” and more shows, finding the right actors for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” came from an audition process that was, to be sure, virtually unlike any she has experienced.

As a professional theater company, Engeman follows Actors Equity guidelines which means all cast and crew members must be fully vaccinated. In adherence with social-distancing and other safety protocols, the first round of auditions were all done by video submissions. “Auditioners were given the material they were to prepare and then they filmed it and we were able to view them,” Goodwin said.

A select number were then invited for phase 2, which was done in person at a Manhattan rehearsal studio. “They sang a song from the show or from their own book and then we did dance,” she said.

Though Goodwin couldn’t hazard a guess as to how many tried out, the live process took place on four separate days throughout a three-week period in August.

For Brian Kinnard, 36, a Chattanooga, Tennessee, native who landed the role of bass singer Fred, that live tryout brought back feelings that had been dormant since March 2020.

“Once the pandemic hit, I kind of shut down,” he said. “I stopped singing for about six months. My partner was like, ‘You stopped singing?’ and I said ‘Yeah, what’s the point.’ Then I started getting back because I missed it, I love it. At the audition, it felt warm and friendly being back in a room with people who were passionate about performing. Then when I got to sing, I felt like, hey, look what I can do?”

As the cast and crew gather together for the first time on Aug. 31 at NextGen Studios in Manhattan, the atmosphere bears a striking resemblance to a classroom on the opening day of the school year. Goodwin could just as well be a teacher welcoming her class of fresh faces — what she can see of them behind their masks — with an endearing blend of energy and enthusiasm in her pep talk about her plans for the show.

After the tedious task of filling out necessary paperwork, the cast introduces themselves, something they haven’t really had a chance to do. “Normally everyone’s hugged everyone. Today it’s more like, ‘Is it OK if I hug you?’ ” Kinnard said.

After about a half-hour, it’s time to get down to business. Cast members are pulled individually to another room down the hall for costume fittings while everyone else starts to harmonize with musical director Jaret Landon on the opening number “Neighborhood.” With only 11 in the cast, everyone can be spaced carefully apart, though singing with a mask on is not something anyone is used to unless they’re doing “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Being masked is an even bigger challenge for learning the dance routines, Goodwin said. “When I’m just teaching, it’s fine; when I’m just dancing, it’s fine; when I’m just talking, it’s fine,” she said, “but putting it all together is a challenge. Also when I’m teaching the choreography to people, I have to literally make sure they have enough time to catch their breath.”

Not that she or anyone else is complaining. “It’s a family we’re creating now and we’re taking care of each other. We would rather be uncomfortable and have this on than throw caution to the wind,” she said.

For Medford’s Ramsey Pack, who plays the tenor Adrian, being part of the “Smokey Joe’s” family has a deeper meaning. As a youngster participating in Broadway Dreams, a nonprofit organization that mentors and teaches performing skills to kids, he had the opportunity to work with Otis Sallid, who choreographed “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” on Broadway. “That was an incredible experience and he was a beautiful person,” Pack said.

The purpose of a set is to help tell the story of a show, said Tim Moran, Engeman’s technical director who has been constructing the theater’s sets since 2014.

“There’s going to be a bunch of bells and whistles that are going to pop,” Moran said of the “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” set. Loudest of those bells and whistles are sure to be the hundreds of colored lights that illuminate windows on the stage, a dual-layered staircase on which dancers will go through their paces and a firefighter’s pole in the middle of the stage that someone slides down (think of an iconic ‘50s rocker’s movie theme about “a warden who threw a party in the county jail”).

Like all Engeman sets, construction on this one starts at a warehouse in Ronkonkoma where the theater’s previous set pieces and Moran’s equipment are housed. “When we open a show on Saturday, that Monday we start building the next show and it usually takes about six weeks,” Moran said. That phase usually comes about a month after speaking with the set designer about his or her vision for the show.

Once the set is complete, it is dismantled then transported to the theater in Northport and reconstructed, usually about 10 days before opening night. “The lighting guy is going to help me install all this stuff, while this week I’m helping him install all the lights,” Moran said.

Shining all that light on the Engeman stage is Brian Kurtz, the lighting supervisor. Most of this particular day has been spent wiring all of those LEDs on the stage windows to create a rainbow of flashing colors. Once everything is fully wired, Moran’s biggest concern is maintenance.

“Things break, things are plugged in the wrong spot thing and you end up fixing them,” he said.

And once the set is built, the designer then offers his input on lighting. “What’s most interesting usually is that you put the lights up and then you start to put the set up and you find, oh, these don’t quite fit together. So you have to make adjustments. Once it’s all together, it works pretty well,” Kurtz said.

While the “Smokey Joe’s” set is less complicated than those of most other Engeman shows, the biggest challenge for both the designer and builder has been working strictly with materials already in the warehouse.

“Without having an income for the past year and a half, we’re trying to do this with found materials,” Moran said. “The designer really had to stretch his creativity to come up with a way to work with what we have, so we didn’t have to spend a ton of money on materials. I think he’s been pretty darn creative.”

After about three days, everyone seemed to be finding their groove during rehearsals in Manhattan. Spirits were high, the cast was bonding and then there was an unexpected sour note: Everyone was alerted that two cast members had tested positive for COVID-19.

The two actors were put in isolation, rehearsals were temporarily put on hold and all cast and crew were required to have a COVID test. There was also understandable anxiety by some of the performers.

“It made me feel afraid for sure,” said Francesca Ferrari, who hails from San Jose, California, and shows off a little of her rocker girl side as Pattie. “When the vaccinations rolled out, there was just an attitude of ‘we’re not going to get it.’ Then I remembered, no that’s not what they said.”

In addition to anxiety, there was also concern for their fellow actors. “First, we were just worried for our castmates that had to leave and be quarantined. We were just worried for their health,” said DevinRé Adams, 26, of Washington, D.C., who handles some of the ballads as the soulful Ken. “And then we were worried that the show could continue.”

So was Engeman, which took extra precautions to ensure that the remaining players stayed healthy. Everyone on site has had regular testing three times a week, masks have been worn all throughout rehearsal and understudies have gone on during rehearsals for the two who tested positive. If both performers test negative at the end of the isolation period and are given a doctor’s OK, they will be allowed to continue with the show, said Richard Dolce, producing artistic director of the Engeman.

Masking has continued to be a part of everyone’s wardrobe at all times in the theater. “Up until now in tech we have been masked and that is 100% great and fine,” said Ferrari. “Fortunately, there are a lot of solos in this show, so there’s only a few times when we’re all on stage together. And whenever we’re offstage, we have our masks on.”

On Sept. 11, the cast arrived on the Engeman stage for the first time and experienced that moment when all of the show’s elements start to mesh together. Working on the actual set and having technicians apply the proper lighting effects adds a whole new dimension for the actors.

“It’s like reading pages on a line versus a pop-up book,” said Jeff Sullivan, 28, of Newfoundland, Canada, who calls his character, Michael, a quintessential rocker. “We had taped outlines of the set in the rehearsal hall and then we come here and we’ve actually got two layers of something. We’re actually getting to walk down stairs.”

He seemed unfazed that the cast might have been a few steps behind walking down those stairs.

“Normally, when you get to tech, you pretty much know the show,” Sullivan said. “But because we lost a little rehearsal time, the first two days of rehearsal here in the theater were spent learning the remainder of the show. So that layered on an extra layer of ambitious. Now I feel like we’re ready, we’re really ready to do this.”

That feeling comes through even more on Sept. 14, the day the cast performs with the musicians for the first time. “Getting to feel that presence on stage. Having the band be just as important a piece of the show as we are is really powerful,” Ferrari said. “For one of my songs, ‘Pearl’s a Singer,’ I really get to interact with the band a little bit more. I get to spend time with the piano and then the guitar player. That’s exciting.”

For Pack, it “feels surreal” to have the chance to be in the show and perform it on Long Island for his family and friends. “That’s something that’s so fulfilling spiritually, to know that my family can come and support me on a stage again,” he said.

At long last, the “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” cast is all dressed and ready to go. Most of them, that is. Only nine of the 11 will be on stage tonight because the two actors who tested positive will have to sit out this performance, as well as the three previews and the opening weekend.

“It was just going to be too much for them to get up to speed in time for the opening,” Dolce said. “But they should be back next week.”

As the rehearsal unfolds, it becomes clear that Goodwin was able to seamlessly make any adjustments for the missing performers. The cast members were ready to go out there and give it their all. Alysha Morgan appears to have mastered the art of shimmying on the sexy “Teach Me How to Shimmy.” The male quartet soaked up the bright lights performing the Drifters hit “On Broadway.” And the entire cast took everyone to church on the gospel number “Saved.”

After the last number, the Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me,” the cast delivered a surprise number — not from the Leiber-Stoller catalog — for Goodwin: “Happy birthday.”

For Goodwin, the show may have been the best birthday present ever. Asked earlier, if the show was everything she expected, she replied “Yes. And more.”

It’s an usually warm night for September, as some ticketholders wait outside the theater around 30 minutes before showtime. Also standing outside is one of the Engeman’s staffers whose job is to make sure everyone presents their proof of COVID vaccination as well as a photo ID before entering.

The lobby and piano lounge are also filled with people, many of them Engeman regulars who are happy to finally be seeing a show there. “It’s one of our favorite things to do,” said Kelly Garone of Kings Park who was waiting for her husband to join her in the lounge. “It’s local and the productions are great.”

And with hand sanitizer stations installed and the theater’s proof of vaccination requirement, she felt safe. “Everybody’s vaccinated, so I feel comfortable,” she said.

Because wearing a mask isn’t required but suggested, the majority of the crowd chose not to wear one, which displeased Merrick subscriber Fani Gellman. “I think it’s great that the theater is open again, but I wish people would wear their masks. They’re foolish not to,” she said.

Though the theater accommodates 400 people, attendance was only a little more than 50% capacity. “It’s not surprising given the times we’re in,” Dolce said.

Even though it was a smaller crowd, it was clear they were excited to experience live theater again judging by the cheers and applause that greeted Dolce and the theater’s other owner, Kevin O’Neill, as they welcomed everyone back and thanked the community for its support during the 18-month hiatus.

And the applause kept building throughout the night with each number. Christopher Brasfield’s falsetto wowed the crowd on “I Who Have Nothing.” Sullivan slid into high gear sliding down that pole on “Jailhouse Rock.” Pack’s rendition of “Love Potion No. 9” was a formula for success. And all four leading ladies were invincible on that ode to female empowerment “I’m a Woman.”

And the finale, “Stand by Me,” was followed by a standing O.

READ ONLINE

WHAT “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”

WHEN | WHERE Through Oct. 31, John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport

INFO $75-$80; 631-261-2900, engemantheater.com

Connect With Engeman
7.9kFans
100Subscribers
3.3kFollowers
Send this to a friend