Closed 1h 30m
Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller
Midtown W
86

Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(386 Reviews)
Positive
92%
Mixed
8%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Great staging, Refreshing

About the Show

An all-new incarnation of the record-breaking Broadway hit revue celebrates the best songs of the legendary song writing duo, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

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Member Reviews (386)

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74
Great dancing, Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy, Doesn’t quite connect

See it if You want to see some great singing and dancing with basically zero plot or storyline. It’s a revue. No dialogue. Just good music.

Don't see it if You want anything more than song and dance. This is one staged number after another, nothing really connects them other than the cafe. Read more

94
Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Masterful, Amazing band

See it if Loved every toe tapping minute of it. The talent of the singers and musicians covered every inch of the theater. Will see again!

Don't see it if You don’t like revues. This is all songs non stop.., no plot.

Critic Reviews (32)

July 22nd, 2018

"A show that badly wants to be liked, but in its eagerness it comes across as relentless and overly polished...It only occasionally slows down enough to breathe...Bergasse has quite an array of talent and professionalism at his disposal...The production errs on the side of caution, and that is an error, indeed...There are moments in the production when fresh energy breaks through, though, and they often occur when the show pulls back and goes for simplicity."
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July 22nd, 2018

"As a showcase for Leiber and Stoller's breathtaking range, 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' is aces. If only the production had as much stylistic variety. The ensemble cast's vocal and dance skills are impressive, and the eight-member band sounds hot; but although the musical is entertaining, it is rarely emotionally engaging...As a clap-along experience for theatergoers of a certain age, 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' serves the right stuff. But those looking for heartier fare may leave feeling hungry."
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July 22nd, 2018

"Infectiously fun...Perfect lighthearted summer entertainment...The production's propulsive, nonstop energy barely leaves room for the audience, let alone the ensemble, to catch their breath...There's no narration or particular structure, just one terrific number after another, but the diversity of the musical styles keeps the proceedings from feeling repetitive...There are a few missteps. The musical staging can occasionally get a bit hokey, but that's more the exception than the rule."
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July 25th, 2018

“No plot, characters or dialogue — just songs...The production represents ‘Smokey Joe’s’ at its best, with nine talented performers and a swinging band leading the audience through a pleasant retrospective of baby boomer hits...While one may appreciate its classic songs and feel-good spirit, a sense of monotony kicks in before too long. Recognizing this, Bergasse has removed the intermission and emphasizes hyperkinetic movement and audience interaction.”
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July 22nd, 2018

"A remarkably enjoyable affair thanks to a powerhouse cast and reimagined staging...It also helps that these are some of the greatest songs from the American pop repertoire, still capable of stoking teenage dreams and salving emotional wounds...It's a simple concept that works extraordinarily well...The jukebox musical is here to stay, but 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' reminds us that there is a way to do it that minimizes cringes and maximizes smiles: by going back to the basics of the revue format."
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July 23rd, 2018

"Despite the powerhouse voices, savvy performance skills and slick dance moves the audience is treated to throughout the 90-minute production, the feel is that we're watching a group of friends letting off steam after another hard work week...Whether these songs are a fond part of your memories, or if each new tune is a fresh discovery, this wonderfully realized production of 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' will send you out to 42nd Street humming a full medley of them. What a fun, fun night out."
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July 26th, 2018

"The liveliest parts of this songbook revue are structured around the quartet consisting of Dwayne Cooper, John Edwards, Kyle Taylor Parker, and Jelani Remy...A high-volume, high-pressure entertainment -- barreling through forty songs in ninety minutes, often failing to stop for even a bit of applause -- riding a wave of energy so insistent that it can leave one enervated...In any case, summer is upon us and there may be an audience for this sort of shiny, empty bauble.
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July 22nd, 2018

"A slick entertainment packaged from nearly 40 of the team’s compositions...It is essentially the same jukebox show as its earlier incarnation...A feast of nostalgic ear-candy that is expertly dished out by a talented nine-member company...Trimming back the proceedings to a swift, intermission-free 90 minutes, they have reworked the winning song stack somewhat, but not appreciably so...The show unquestionably offers an entertaining romp through old-school rock ‘n’ roll."
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August 31st, 2018

"'Smokey Joe's Café: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller' is back in a new version and as directed and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse ('On the Town,' 'Cagney,' 'Sweet Charity,' NBC's 'Smash'), it is burning up the floor of Stage 42. The songs (pop, jazz, rock, R&B, blues, and gospel) of this prolific team which were originally sung by Elvis Presley, the Coasters, the Drifters, Ruth Brown, Perry Como, and Ben E. King should be familiar to all."
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July 24th, 2018

“Guaranteed to be clapping and singing along with this expert cast...There’s no plot to speak of, which allows the audience to simply enjoy the very talented artists...Transitions seamlessly from song to song...Points to Bergasse for putting actual musicians on stage and having them do their own song...The rollicking eight-piece band makes the café seem like a...fun place to hang out...Come for the nostalgia, stay for the songs and the transportive performances.”
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July 22nd, 2018

“Never underestimate the power of superbly performed, old fashioned, rock n’ roll...Bergasse imbues this exceptional production with attitude, soul, winking humor, ebullience, and energy...Pacing and flow couldn’t be better...Palladino’s top notch arrangements and wonderful, onstage band raise material to the level of gourmet- without pretension. You’ll bob in your seat, tap your feet and leave with cheeks sore from grinning."
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July 22nd, 2018

"A scintillating new production is likely to take New York by storm again...What's new is the clever way it's been staged. There's nothing cabaret-like about Joshua Bergasse's pacey direction and sizzly choreography...Given the mood defining lyrics and this cast's powerhouse singing and dancing and ability to reveal emotions, dialogue is unnecessary...Leiber and Stoller's songs fit this more connected and emotionally potent presentation very well."
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July 23rd, 2018

"'Smokey Joe’s Café' doesn’t mess around with plot contrivance or try to squeeze the songs into a theme. It’s just the songs, folks, no dialog, no patter. And really, the songs speak for themselves...Bergasse does a stunning job of choreographing the men in their group numbers...It wasn’t only the comic numbers that were terrific...'Smokey Joe’s Café' is a hand-clapping, finger-snapping, foot-stomping, good time at the theater."
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July 31st, 2018

“Features an incredibly energetic cast of nine performers…Boasts a talented quartet of male singers…While their combined sound is terrific, they display their own musical personalities as well…The cast and orchestra work extremely hard and their talents pay off because the audience loves the performance...'Smokey Joe’s Cafe' is a wondrous trip down musical memory lane. For those new to the music, the show is a great introduction to the talents of Lieber and Stoller.”
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July 25th, 2018

“Filled to the rim with knockout performances and musical moments that fly non-stop off the stage with such relish and energy...It’s impressive, but with so many songs stacked one on top of the other...My excitement started to wane...No story line to follow, nor any characterizations to pay attention to, just song after song performed with style and swagger...Cute, charming, funny, and vocally fantastic, but I’m learning that a plot-free review might just not be enough for this theatre junkie.”
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T
August 14th, 2018

"Hearing those songs delivered by a cast of nine extraordinary singers and dancers backed by a powerhouse eight-member band is an experience not to be missed...The cast fills Boritt’s towering Café set with solo numbers, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, and full company numbers that transport the adoring audience back to a glorious past with themes that reverberate in the present and continue to be relevant in the future...'Smokey Joe’s Café’s' current incarnation is a must-see show."
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July 22nd, 2018

"It is the most memorable example in the show of what we can call The Bergasse Workout, which I’m naming after the production’s inventive and obviously demanding director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse...A polished collection of musical numbers, a pleasant diversion...The revival feels more varied in tone, and includes some grit; Bergasse’s choreography often helps supply a sense of context."
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C
July 22nd, 2018

"A revue of three dozen of these toe-tappers, entitled 'Smokey Joe's Café,' made Broadway history two decades ago - and is now back in an energetic, excellently-performed revival at Stage 42. While this group of performers works superbly together, Bergasse does give each of his players their own chance to shine, and many of those numbers are among the show's strongest."
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July 28th, 2018

"Its approach…shouldn't prevent anyone with a melody in their head, rhythm in their bones, and nostalgia in their heart from boogying down…to see and hear this awesomely entertaining revival roll out a succession of mid-20th-century chart toppers. Nine gloriously talented, supercharged, ultra-personable performers…demonstrate a powerful arsenal of vocal, terpsichorean, and comic skills that keep the audience engaged for an intermission-less hour and 30 minutes."
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July 22nd, 2018

"This new production is filled with the same amazing songs that have and will last a lifetime. Soaked in a feeling of nostalgia, this irresistible show will also bring a new legion of fans...A throwback to a era gone by, when life was simpler and we didn’t read into things. Instead it is night filled with pop, R&B, gospel, little bit of rock, soul, a lot of doo-wop and is exactly what we need."
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July 22nd, 2018

"For theatregoers looking for a jolt of high energy, head-shaking, toe-tapping fun, a rocking and soulful new revival of 'Smokey Joe’s Cafe' didn’t open so much as explode...It’s hard to resist this hyperkinetic 90 minutes of pure, joyful, electric entertainment. I suggest you submit to its feel-good charm...There’s not a wrong note, nor a missed opportunity for humor or pizzazz, from start to finish. I am hard pressed to think of another ensemble as universally talented as the one assembled here."
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July 22nd, 2018

"Non-stop energy, a feel-good mood, powerhouse vocals, and a kick-ass band make for one must-see Off-Broadway revival...Under the ebullient direction and choreography and original vocal arrangements, a dynamic and expressive cast not only delivers the blockbuster tunes and period-style dance with pizzazz, but brilliantly enacts the storylines, characters, and emotions inherent in the songs’ lyrics...Each segment is a highlight and every performance a delight."
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August 6th, 2018

"Nine exuberant performers who frizzle with energy on the intimate off-Broadway stage without even trying...Director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse stages a snazzy production for this revival...Bergasse provides innovative new looks to old tunes, giving each performer a solo star turn...Not haute cuisine, 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' is a tasty must-see powerhouse menu of entertainment that hopefully will not be transferred to Broadway. It's happy just where it is."
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M
August 3rd, 2018

“A top-notch revival...Director-choreographer Bergasse...has infused the proceedings with a sense of joy that ripples through the superlative nine-person company...There’s no strongly discernible narrative theme...Rather it’s that sense of joy that provides the context. And the surprising variety of the songs themselves gives them a plentitude of opportunities to win over the audience...There is indeed probably something for everybody.”
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August 6th, 2018

"Things are smoking over at 'Smokey Joe’s Café'...The spectacular singer Alysha Umphress is on hand to work miracles with 'Trouble' and the poignant 'Pearl’s A Singer'...And the men are terrific too...The whole cast keeps delivering (and there’s even a little drag bit), and though two oversung numbers towards the end threaten to turn this into 'American Idol,' the show recovers and gets the audience standing."
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July 22nd, 2018

"An elaborately staged new production that presents Lieber and Stoller’s tunes that wallows in nostalgia and old-fashioned showmanship...A talented cast segues from song to song without pausing for dialogue, and restrict dramatization to the characters in the songs themselves...It’s an enjoyable showcase of classic rock-pop tunes that seldom really lets loose...Bergasse & Co. also color within the lines in other ways too, invoking a nostalgia that probably seemed dated even in 1995."
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July 22nd, 2018

"The revival is a home run. Do not hesitate to see it right. The nine main performers are superb, each one a star waiting to happen...Bergasse sets up little narratives in each song, so that Lieber and Stoller’s intent is realized whether it’s a hit or a rediscovered gem. What really comes across is that these songs have stood the test of time. You needn’t be contemporaneous to them to enjoy their magnificent melodies and lyrics. Frankly, this show comes at the right time."
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July 26th, 2018

"'Smokey Joe’s Café' makes a triumphant return as the music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller rocks the house...This hour and half show gives the audience the thrill of show-stopping and toe-tapping numbers...Joshua Bergasse does an amazing job directing and choreographing a talented cast of nine young performers...A remarkable tuneful funfest for the entire family."
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May 25th, 2018
For a previous production

"A stunning revival of the landmark musical revue that makes all other juke box musicals pale by comparison...Paladino's inventive musical treatments, plus Bergasse's brilliant character development and staging, turn this non-stop catalog of hits into a fully developed story of love, friendship, romance, and empowerment. No dialog is necessary as the interpretations of and transitions between the cleverly sequenced songs tell us everything we need to know."
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May 21st, 2018
For a previous production

"90 minutes of non-stop entertainment...If you are looking for the story behind the songs you won’t find it here. What you will find is a cast that works non stop from start to finish while all the time appearing to be having as good a time on stage as the audience is having while watching them. From the opening number to the final encore there is never a dull moment...All of the movements on stage go perfectly with this great music. The energy pumping out on stage is impossible to resist."
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T
May 20th, 2018
For a previous production

"Sensational, spectacular, stupendous, and superlative in every way...Theatergoers happily move, groove and share the blues to a potpourri of 40 songs...They all ensure theatergoers are having fun, while they clown around on stage, exert amazing energy acrobatically while dancing and singing, and make individual eye contact on stage and in the aisles, getting the crowd toe-tapping, clapping, swaying, and beating time in their seats."
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May 21st, 2018
For a previous production

"A nonstop succession of music and dance numbers. The 90-minute show...makes for a high-energy trip down memory lane...The hits just keep on coming as the composer’s seminal skills at blending traditional genres such as folk, blues, gospel and country are revealed by soloists, duos, trios, and quartets...'Stand by Me,' performed by Edwards and the company, crowned a show that very entertainingly brings back songs dear to many hearts."
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