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Smokey Joe's Cafe

Thanks to the musical talents of Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber, rock ‘n roll is alive and well in Virginia, the Virginia Theatre at 245 W. 52nd St., Manhattan, that is. For inside the Virginia the songs of Leiber and Stoller are performed by a nine-piece ensemble cast of singers and dancers in Smokey Joe’s Café. The show uses a minimum of story continuity and no dialogue to string together the 19 songs sung and danced in ACT I and the 22 in Act II. This hurts the show’s cohesiveness and the Act I wanders in search of some kind of continuity or theme which makes the viewer yearn for intermission at various points along the way. However, in Act II the songs are sung and danced for the most part with a theme uniting them because the singers and dancers pair off in couples at tables in Smokey Joe’s Café, and their songs pertain to the relations between each couple. This gave the show a much needed underlying content that showcased the songs in a much more meaningful way than Act I.

The songs are sung and danced individually or in group depending on the number. There are enough memorable hits sprinkled among the 41 numbers to keep the feet from going to sleep, including On Broadway, Hound Dog, Treat Me Nice, Jailhouse Rock, Loving You, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, Love Potion No. 9, Stand By Me, and Kansas City. The staging is done with wit and imagination but with a minimalist approach regarding sets and props. Many of the set changes are conducted by the singers/dancers and they pull it off with efficiency and a minimum of aesthetic distance interruption. For example, in Act II, each of the couples carries in their own cocktail table and chairs, at which they sit and perform during their respective numbers. The costumes are bright and colorful and done well. One particularly effective number has a singer perform with larger-than-life mannequins that come to life an

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Smokey Joe's Cafe. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 17:09, August 03, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1686327.html