Leiber and Stoller wrote songs for all voices and vocal styles. Or so you would gather from the guest cast members who have been joining Broadway's Smokey Joe's Cafe in recent months. 1999 has seen Pam Tillis and Lou Rawls come and go. Now Gladys Knight finishes up her two week stint with the musical, May 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