Even though Smokey Joe's Cafe is closing Sunday, Jan. 16, their cast is already finding new work. Frederick B. Owens, the deepest voice in the Leiber-Stoller revue, will take on another rock bass role -- that of Caiphas the high priest, in Jesus Christ Superstar -- according to a Smokey Joe's press spokesperson.
Owens leads Smokey Joe's "Little Egypt" and "You're the Boss." Other theatrical credits include Black Nativity, Dreamgirls, Little Shop of Horrors, Home, Guys and Dolls and Othello.
The new revival of Jesus Christ Superstar will become Broadway's Ford Center for the Performing Arts' second tenant, after Ragtime closes January 16 (the same day as Smokey Joe's Cafe). The musical will go into the Ford Center March 23 for an April 16 opening.
Australian Edwards directs. Her past credits include the successful British tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, Whistle Down the Wind, the UK tour and Australian premiere of Aspects of Love and the Broadway-bound Peter Allen musical, The Boy From Oz. Anthony Van Laast joins her as choreographer.
Designing will be Peter J. Davidson (sets), Roger Kirk (costumes), Mark McCullough (lighting) and Richard Ryan (sound). Lloyd Webber will provide his own orchestrations. Superstar, the musicalized story of Jesus Christ from Palm Sunday through the crucifixion, made its world premiere on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Oct. 12, 1971. It ran there for 720 performances. The original London production ran for eight years and 3,358 performances, the fifth longest running West End show. Songs from the piece include the U.S. chart hits "I Don't Know How to Love Him" and "Superstar."