Casting has been announced for the New York-bound production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller, which will play a May 16–June 9 engagement at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine before arriving at Off-Broadway's Stage 42 (422 W. 42nd St.) July 6.
Directed and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, the cast will feature Dwayne Cooper (Motown, Hairspray), Emma Degerstedt (Desperate Measures Off-Broadway), John Edwards (Jersey Boys), Dionne D. Figgins (Hot Feet, Memphis), Nicole Vanessa Ortiz (Spamilton Off-Broadway), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Jelani Remy (Disney’s The Lion King), Max Sangerman (Blue Man Group Off-Broadway), and Alysha Umphress (On The Town, American Idiot).
The revival, from the show’s original producers Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, and Tom Viertel, will officially open July 22.
The show, conceived by Stephen Helper and Viertel, celebrates the music of songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and features such tunes as "On Broadway," "Jailhouse Rock," "Hound Dog," and "Love Potion #9." It premiered on Broadway in 1995 and earned seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical. The production went on to play over 2,000 performances at the Virginia Theatre (now the August Wilson).
The production will also feature scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, original vocal arrangements by Chapman Roberts, and orchestrations by Steve Margoshes and Sonny Paladino. Music supervision and new arrangements are also by Paladino. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
The producing quartet first revealed plans for a revival in 2015. A developmental reading took place the following year with a cast that included Wayne Brady, Alysha Umphress, Emily Padgett, and Chester Gregory.