Smokey Joe's Café Broadway Revival Is “Coming Together”

News   Smokey Joe's Café Broadway Revival Is “Coming Together”
Revival had been announced for this summer.
Brenda Braxton, B.J. Crosby, DeLee Lively and Pattie Darcy Jones in Smokey Joe's Cafe
Brenda Braxton, B.J. Crosby, DeLee Lively and Pattie Darcy Jones in the original production of Smokey Joe's Cafe Joan Marcus

The Tony Award-nominated musical revue Smokey Joe's Café, featuring the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, which was initially announced for this summer is still “coming together” according to producers. But no dates have been confirmed.

A December 2015 Equity casting notice had said that producers Richard Frankel, Steve Baruch, Tom Viertel and Marc Routh, who ushered the show to Broadway in 1995, were reviving the long-running hit, which was slated to begin rehearsals on or about May 31 for an Aug. 18 opening night. Previews were to have begin on July 19. Auditions were held in January 2016, but no word has been made public since then.

An inquiry by brought this response from the producers: “All of the components are coming together and we hope to make an announcement in the near future about the production.”

According to the casting notice, Jerry Zaks — who was Tony-nominated for his direction of the 1995 production — was again to take the helm of the New York City revival. Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (After Midnight) was to choreograph with musical direction by Sonny Paladino. Frankel Green Theatrical Management was set to general manage with casting by Tara Rubin Casting.

Additional details, such as a cast and a Broadway theatre, have not yet been announced.

The revue features some of Leiber and Stoller's best known songs including “Kansas City,’ “Searchin',” “On Broadway,“ ”I'm A Woman,“ ”Poison Ivy,“ ”Yakety Yak,“ ”Charlie Brown,“ ”Jailhouse Rock“ and “Hound Dog.”

Cast members from the original production reunited Feb. 9, 2014 — exactly 19 years following its first performance on Feb. 9, 1995 — for a concert production at Feinstein's/54 Below under the direction of Tony nominee Brenda Braxton. Read more about the evening here. Smokey Joe's Café was eagerly embraced by audiences despite initial skepticism in the press when it opened. The show ran 2,036 performances; Smokey opened March 2, 1995, and closed Jan. 16, 2000.

The longest-running musical revue to play Broadway, it welcomed a slate of high-profile guest stars during its run, including Gladys Knight, Lesley Gore, Gloria Gaynor, Tony Orlando, Ben E. King, Pam Tillis and Lou Rawls.

It was nominated for seven 1995 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography (Joey McKneely), Best Direction (Zaks), Best Featured Actor (Victor Trent Cook), Best Featured Actress (Lively, Braxton and B.J. Crosby) and Best Musical.

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