(Disclosure: I was provided Press tickets for Smokey Joes Café.)
The 2013-2014 season at The Pasadena Playhouse has begun & for their current show, Smokey Joes Café, playing through October 13th, they are pulling out all the stops.
A unique premise, Smokey Joes Café borrows classic songs written by 1950′s dynamic songwriting duo, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. While, like me, you may not be too familiar with their names, you for sure know their songs, from Jailhouse Rock to Yakety Yak, Love Potion no. 9 & Stand By Me, these are just a few of the many hit songs these men wrote together. Smokey Joes Café finds the powerhouse, all-star triple threat cast utilizing their vocals & dancing, but, alas, not much dialogue. Their stories are told through the songs & left for the audience to create the in-between.
Although, if you’re like me, you will be too amazed by this musical-meets-concert to fill in anything else!
Act 1 very much has that “Broadway” vibe, which is fitting, since “On Broadway” is a highlight of the first half “Trouble” is the golden opportunity that we meet two of the ladies of this 9 person lineup. Kyra Little Da Costa & Adrianna Rose Lyons, these two sultry, sassy, sexy women light up & command the stage, as does our 3rd female vixen, Monique Midgette, whom is magnificent on numbers like “Fools Fall in Love” & later on ”You’re The Boss/Loving You”, along with Michael Sheppard.
Carly Thomas Smith is in a class by herself. With many solos & belting out like its nothing, she is a siren, a force to be reckoned with & it’s no doubt shown when Act 2 transitions to a jazz-y, cabaret style stage, with the band in full view on stage, especially on “Pearl’s A Singer” & “Treat Me Nice”.
The all-star numbers, featuring the men, like Young Blood & Poison Ivy, will have you wanting to get up & DANCE! Some favorite numbers for me were definitely “Shoppin’ For Clothes”, where mega star, LaVance Colley, shops for…you guessed it but not only that, the suits he is checking out, come to LIFE & dance, very a la Bedknobs & Broomsticks or Mary Poppins. I have always been a fan of dancing apparel!
Colley took my breath away on one of the closing numbers, “I (who have nothing)”. His voice was so strong, mighty & powerful, that I swore he must have been heard for miles. The expression, “Sending chills down my spine”, was literally taken to heart.
Director & Choreographer, Jeffrey Polk, along with Assistant Choreographer, JR Whittington, have created such outstanding routines that showcase each of this talented cast. They will absolutely have you leaving wanting to SHIMMY!
To think that just a few years ago, The Pasadena Playhouse was nearly at risk to close its doors for good. Thank goodness for generous donors who helped them meet their 2 million goal, so they can continue to bring New York City’s Broadway to Los Angeles. There is not a bad seat in this hacienda styled venue, with their infamous courtyard to enjoy yourself before & after the program.
Smokey Joes Café is ideal for all ages, & I think especially perfect for an afternoon or evening to take company/friends you’re not sure just how to entertain…even if they say, theatre is not for me! This musical is so unique & fun, they will leave thinking otherwise. Tickets are selling fast, so book NOW by clicking here, & have fun! xo
(*Disclosure: I was invited by The Pasadena Playhouse to review the show. All opinions are my own & its truly one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. Photos courtesy of Pasadena Playhouse.)