Smokey Joe's Café, the musical theatre review that was nominated for seven Tony awards and ran on Broadway for more than 2,000 performances, will come to the Centenary Stage this month, when the acclaimed New Jersey Youth Theatre brings their high-energy production to the Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center, July 26-29 in Hackettstown, NJ. Get a first look at the production in the photos below!
Fusing jazz and blues with good old fashioned rock and roll, Smokey Joe's Café is filled with wall-to-wall music by Hall of Fame songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller, one of the finest teams ever to have hits with Elvis Presley
, Ben E. King
, the Drifters, the Coasters, and everyone else who mattered in the early days of rock. From "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock" to "Spanish Harlem" and "Kansas City," the greatest tunes of the '50s and '60s come alive in a high-energy performance. The production is directed by NJTY’s Cynthia Meryl
, and is a co-production of the NJ Youth Theatre and NJPAC Summer Musical program.
Set in an idealized 1950’s era, the show spotlights a golden age of American music and pop culture with renditions of hits such as “On Broadway,” “Stand by Me,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Yakety Yak,” “Poison Ivy,” “Charlie Brown,” “Love Potion #9,” and many more. The Original Broadway cast soundtrack, Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs Of Leiber And Stoller won a Grammy Award in 1995.
Founded in 1991 by Broadway veteran Cynthia Meryl
, and based in Westfield, NJ, the New Jersey Youth Theatre has won several prestigious awards, including the Music Theatre International
Award for Excellence and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Citation of Excellence. Their production of “Sweeney Todd” won the Star Ledger “Obie Award” for Best Revival.
The cast of Smokey Joe’s Café includes Carolyn Ferraro (Lebanon), studying at Mason Gross; Alex Thompson (Maplewood), studying at Syracuse; Chaance Barnes (East Orange), studying at New Jersey City U; Ben Chavez (Rutherford), studying at NYU- Tisch; Matt Stoke (Cranford), studying at NYU – Tisch; Maeve Lynskey (Cranford), studying at Rider University; Erica Morreale (Cranford), studying at Boston Conservatory ; Dion Grier (Roselle Park); Kelly Plescia ( Metuchen ); Branden Mangan (West Orange), and Adam Biner (Fanwood) studying at Rutgers.
Performances for Smokey Joe’s Café will be Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $22.50-$27.50 with discounts for seniors, students, and children under 12, and they are available through the CSC Box office at 715 Grand Ave., open 1-5 PM Monday through Friday, and 2 hours prior to each performance. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.centenarystageco.org, or by calling the box office at 908-979-0900.
Photo credit: Warren Westura (except final picture, by Will Rothfuss)
Adam Biner and the Smokey Joe's Cafe cast heat up the stage with "Jailhouse Rock"
Alex Thompson with Ben Chavez, Branden Mangan, Matt Stoke, Dion Grier and Adam Biner
Dion Grier, Erica Morreale and Ben Chavez
Alex Thompson and the Cast of Smokey Joe's Cafe (Adam Biner, Carolyn Ferraro, Dion Grier, Matt Stoke, Erica Morreale and Alex Thompson) perform "Charlie Brown"
Carolyn Ferraro with Ben Chavez, Branden Mangan, Dion Grier and Alex Thompson as The Coasters
Portraying THE CLOVERS, Alex Thompson, Branden Mangan, Ben Chavez, Matt Stoke and Dion Grier performing "Love Potion #9"
Chaance Barnes , Adam Biner (foreground) with Maeve Lynskey, Matt Stoke, Kelly Plecia, Carolyn Ferraro (background)
The Cast of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE