Smokey Joe’s Café
"Smokey Joe’s Café" is sunny, frothy entertainment that caps a stellar 2011-2012 season for WaterTower Theatre in Addison. As usual, WaterTower has placed an amusing, carefree musical to close its season and "Smokey Joe’s Café" is no exception. "Smokey Joe’s Café" is the theater equivalent to a blockbuster summer popcorn movie: animated, giddy and upbeat with its only goal to entertain.
"Smokey Joe’s Café" is a musical revue of songs written by the team of Jerry Leiber (lyrics) and Mike Stoller (music). "Smokey Joe’s Café" is presented with no silly threadbare plot to tie the songs together. In fact, "Smokey Joe’s Café" contains no spoken dialogue and presents its nearly 40 songs in no particular or chronological order. It received 5 Tony nominations in 1995 (zero wins) and won the 1996 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. "Smokey Joe’s Cafe" enjoyed a long run on Broadway with over 2,000 performances ranking it (currently) as the 30th longest running show in Broadway history.
While the songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller may not be household names, their songs have been recorded by dozens of artists and include many classics such as "On Broadway," "Kansas City," "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "I, Who Have Nothing," "I’m A Woman," "Love Potion #9," "Stand By Me," "Treat Me Right," "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock."
WaterTower’s "Smokey Joe’s Café" is so lively and entertaining that the audience finds it difficult not to sing along or jump out of their seats in dance. Assembling a fabulous cast, as Director Terry Martin has done, makes the revue a standout. There’s not a weak link in this all-singing cast. But it’s the contagious frequent quartet of Maurice Verrett Johnson, Walter Lee, Calvin S. Roberts and Akron Watson that shines the brightest.
Everything works in this show. Terry Martin directs whimsically. Music Director Scott Eckert will have you tapping your toes in beat. John de los Santos provides restrained and apropos choreography. Clare Floyd DeVries’ set and David Natinsky’s lighting provide the desired atmosphere.
"Smokey Joe’s Café" runs through August 12 at WaterTower Theatre at the Addison Theatre Center, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX. For info and tickets, visit www.watertowertheatre.org