Leiber and Stoller wrote songs for all voices and vocal styles. Or so you would gather from the guest cast members who will be joining Broadway's Smokey Joe's Cafe in the next few months.
Mar. 16-Apr. 4, country music star Pam Tillis will be lending her voice to the long-running Broadway production. Tillis is the daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis. Her most recent album, "Every Time," was released in June. She also recorded the song "Milk and Honey" on the "Prince of Egypt" Nashville recording.
Following Tillis is pop and blues singer Lou Rawls, appearing Apr. 6-18. Rawls' deep, smooth voice has been heard on such hit singles as "Natural Man" and "You're Gonna Miss My Lovin'." Over his career, he has won three Grammy Awards.
Gladys Knight will join the show May 11-22. Knight led the pop vocal group "the Pips" throughout the '60s and '70s, scoring such hits as "Midnight Train to Georgia," "Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Use My Imagination" and "You're the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me."
Yet another pop figure from the past will arrive in June, when Tony Orlando takes the stage at the Virginia Theatre June 8-20. As the head of Tony Orlando and Dawn, Orlando recorded such hits as "Candida," "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree" and "Knock Three Times." Jerry Zaks directed the revue, which opened March 2, 1995, and recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. Joey McKneely designed choreography for the nine-person ensemble cast. Some of the Leiber & Stoller songs featured are: "Kansas City," "Searchin'," "On Broadway," "I'm A Woman," "Poison Ivy," "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog."
For more information on Smokey Joe's Cafe at the Virginia Theatre call (212) 239-6200 or check out their website at http://www.smokeyjoescafe.com .
-- By Robert Simonson