Smokey Joe's Cafe Takes Grammy

News   Smokey Joe's Cafe Takes Grammy
The original cast album of Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
Photo by Photo by Starla Smith

The original cast album of Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

The award was announced at the Feb. 28 Grammy ceremony broadcast on CBS TV.

Smokey Joe, a revue of pop songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was the only original cast album among the nominees. The others were revivals or concert productions. Fans of Smokey Joe could take special satisfaction in the Grammy, considering that the show had been shut-out of the 1995 Tony Awards.

Smokey Joe includes such standards as "Stand By Me," "Love Potion #9," "Hound Dog," "Spanish Harlem," "Yakety Yak," "Jailhouse Rock" and, appropriately, "On Broadway.

The Grammy-winning cast album was produced by Leiber, Stoller and Arif Mardin on Atlantic Records.Leiber and Stoller issued the following statement: "As far as we're concerned, the entire cast of Smokey Joe's Cafe won this Grammy.

They said a national tour will go out later this year. Australian and London productions are also being considered.

In other theatre-related Grammy news:
* Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors) and Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) shared the Grammy for Best Film or Television Song for their "Colors of the Wind," from the animated film Pocahontas. The song is also up for an Oscar.
* John Raitt, original star of Carousel and The Pajama Game, sang a slightly unsteady chorus of Irving Berlin's "Falling in Love Is Wonderful" with his daughter, pop star Bonnie Raitt, before presenting one of the awards.

Grammy voters for Best Musical Show Album differed from Playbill On-Line members, who chose the Matthew Broderick revival of Frank Loesser's How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as their favorite, in a poll conducted since Jan. 4 when the nominees were announced.

Smokey Joe had come in only fourth among Playbill On Line voters. These were the nominees, along with how many votes they received from Playbill On-Line members.

* How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (the Matthew Broderick revival) -- 66 votes.

* Anyone Can Whistle: Live at Carnegie Hall (the Bernadette Peters/ Madeline Kahn recording of the concert that benefitted Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS) -- 62 votes.

* Kiss of the Spider Woman (the Vanessa Williams recording) --59 votes.

* Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Music of Leiber and Stoller (the actual winner of the Grammy) -- 58 votes.

* Hello, Dolly! (the Carol Channing revival) 53 votes.

Many of those who voted by e-mail and through Playbill On-Line's electronic bulletin boards included comments.

Smokey Joe voters were the most vehement among those who appended comments to their votes, saying there was little doubt that Joe would take home the Grammy Wednesday night.

Several of the voters said they would have gone for Dolly!, but believed it had won the Grammy for its original cast album, which also featured Carol Channing. In fact, as reported by Playbill On-Line, the 1965 "Dolly!" original cast album lost the Grammy to "Funny Girl" but the title number won Song of the Year and Best Male Jazz Vocalist (Louis Armstrong). The new recording of "Dolly!" was the first cast album to earn a Grammy nomination for Varese Sarabande, a Los Angeles recording company that specializes in recordings of rare theatre songs, revivals, regional musicals and cabaret singers.

In the Playbill On-Line poll there were enthusiastic write-in campaigns for the Jekyll & Hyde cast album and the new Company album (the latter was released too recently to be eligible). Several sent in protest abstentions, saying there were too many recordings of revivals on the list.

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