Pop singer Gloria Gaynor will join the cast of Broadway's Smokey Joe's Cafe on Aug. 3 for a two-week stint scheduled to end Aug. 15. Gaynor indelibly carved her name in the annuls of pop history when she recorded the 70s disco anthem, "I Will Survive." Subsequent hits included "Never Can Say Goodbye."
Lesley Gore, the teenaged hitmaker of "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn To Cry" in the early 60s, left the show on July 25.
In recent months, Smokey Joe -- The Songs of Leiber and Stoller has played host to a steady stream of unlikely Broadway stars, harking back to the days when Barry and Fran Weissler's revival of Grease! gave the likes of Brooke Shields and Joe Piscopo their Broadway debuts. Such disparate artists as Ben E. King, Lou Rawls, Pam Tillis, Tony Orlando and Gladys Knight have entered the long-running musical -- Knight apparently enjoyed herself so much that she will return to the theatre Aug. 17-29.
Perhaps the most surprising -- nay, shocking -- of the upcoming guests is hard rocker Joan Jett, whose anthems "I Love Rock and Roll" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You" seem far removed from the work of Leiber and Stoller and the world of the Broadway revue. Jett's dates are yet to be determined.
Also expected, Oct. 19-31, is 80s teen heartthrob Rick Springfield, who parlayed a career as a soap star of "General Hospital" into a string of pop hits, most notably "Jesse's Girl." Smokey Joe's Cafe played its 1,775 performance at the Virginia Theatre June 2, becoming the longest running musical revue in Broadway history. The previous record holder was Bob Fosse's Dancin' with 1,774 performances.
The revue features some of Leiber & Stoller best known songs including "Kansas City," "Searchin'," "On Broadway," "I'm A Woman," "Poison Ivy," "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog."
Jerry Zaks directs with choreography by Joey McKneely.
For tickets call Tele-Charge at (212) 239 6200 or visit Smokey Joe's on the web at http://www.smokeyjoescafe.com.
-- By Robert Simonson