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. More…
Their generation-defining songs climbed the Billboard charts and provided hit after hit for icons like Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, The Coasters, and The Drifters. With themes of love won, lost, and imagined, their songs touched global audiences with wit and emotion.
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"'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." Full Review
"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 ... Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
"'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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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." Full Review
"'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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
See it if You want to see talented singers create nonstop entertainment in a show filled with magical moments. My favorite off -Broadway production!!
Don't see it if You want a play- each song tells its own story through song and dance. If you don't want a fun time that literally has people dancing out of
Also the theater (which has excellent sight lines.)
See it if Love rock and roll... singing to great music... amazing dance numbers... just having a good time.
Don't see it if you are looking for a musical theater show. This is a musical revue.
See it if you like jukebox musicals that are all about the music--and nothing else.
Don't see it if you're not particularly fond of musicals that don't have a storyline--or you're not a fan of the Lieber/Stoller songbook in the first place.
See it if you love the music of Lieber and Stoller or just music in general, dancing, and lots of fun.
Don't see it if you don't love music and dancing and are in for more serious shows.
See it if a fan of jukebox musicals or music from Leiber & Stroller. It’s a superb show and you will leave feeling happy. Go see Smokey Joe’s Cafe!
Don't see it if looking for a show with more depth and a story to go along with it.
See it if Impeccable cast, high-energy, perfectly directed, even some dancing with audience members in aisles. Not one weak link in the cast.
Don't see it if You are in the mood for a drama instead of a fast-paced musical.
See it if ... You loved olides, great singing some entertainment. Amazing performance!!!
Don't see it if Even the youngest child in the audience enjoyed the performance. Can't think of a reason you won't love it
See it if you enjoy musical revues with each song telling a story; you love talented singers and dancers performing
Don't see it if you don't enjoy revues even if the cast is super-talented
See it if you love great music especially songs from the 50s and 60s and want to be entertained with seeing these songs come to life on stage
Don't see it if If you need a story, If you don’t like music, if you want to see a play, if you don’t like to be entertained with singing and dancing
See it if You love the music of the 50's and 60's. Great singing and terrific dancing. Love the Elvis songs, the shimmy, etc.
Don't see it if You need a storyline. This is an all singing and dancing show. Don't love golden oldies.
See it if you want to hear vintage pop music classics brilliantly performed by one of the best casts in NYC. Family friendly, not to be missed!
Don't see it if you hate juke box musicals, don't like musicals, need a scripted story, or if you are deaf.
See it if This is the most energetic cast anywhere. Great singing and clever performances of great songs, and a wonderful, talented band as well.
Don't see it if You expect a plot, as each song is separately acted, danced, performed. Also don't see it if you don't like R&B and rock from the '50s & 60s
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