If you want a high-energy show, Smokey Joe’s Café is definitely for you.
Sep. 23, 2021
by Melissa Giordano
If you want a high-energy show, Smokey Joe’s Café is definitely for you. The musical revue, on Broadway from 1995-2000, highlights the music of songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The spectacle features their hit songs done back to back including “Love Potion Number 9”, “Yakity Yak”, “Stand By Me” and “Jailhouse Rock”. Believe me when I say that you will be dancing in your seat at some point.
Running through October 31st at the exquisite John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, this wonderful incarnation is directed and choreographed by Deidre Goodwin. Indeed, Ms. Goodwin’s brilliant and gorgeous ensemble cast seamlessly goes through each performance with joy and enthusiasm. Another highlight is the incredible band that sits on stage with the cast conducted by Darnell White with Musical Direction by Jaret Landon. It seems safe to say that they are having as much fun as the cast is. Additionally, David Goldstein’s set is fun and colorful. This is beautifully enhanced by John Burkland’s lighting and David Withrow’s fabulous costumes.
You’ll be amazed at the whirlwind experience of this show. The constant singing in this show is astonishing. And, they do this for two acts. A typical musical has around twenty five numbers, give or take. This show has about forty. As an audience, we should make sure we appreciate how much work goes into these performances.
And so, The Engeman certainly has another hit on their hands with this mounting of Smokey Joe’s Café. Fun fact: Smokey Joe’s was actually first show when the Engeman opened years ago and it’s the first show since reopening after the pandemic. Full circle moment, indeed. Is this production consistently produced? Sure. However, when you have a Broadway caliber cast, wonderful director, and an amazing band, you simply have to indulge.
Based on the music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Directed & Choreographed by Deidre Goodwin (Broadway: A Chorus Line, Chicago; TV/Film: Chicago, Every Little Step, Ocean’s 8, Chicago Med., Pose, 30 Rock), Musical Direction by Jaret Landon, Scenic Design by David Goldstein, Costume Design by David Withrow, Lighting by John Burkland, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Prop Design by Kristie Moschetta, Casting by Gayle Seay, Scott Wojcik and Holly Buczek of WOJCIK/SEAY CASTING, Stage Management by Leila Scandar
Starring Devinré Adams as Ken, Christopher Brasfield as Victor, Francesca Farrari as Pattie, Brian Maurice Kinnard as Fred, Alia Munsch as DeLee, Tasheim Ramsey Pack as Adrian, Mars Rucker as Brenda, Jeff Sullivan as Michael, and Kai Brittani White as B.J with Elizabeth Yetunde Adabale, Zenni Corbin, AJ Lockhart, and Alysha Morgan.