by Linda Lombardi, Literary Manager
The songs of Smokey Joe's Café are some of the most memorable hits from the glory days of rock 'n' roll. Some of us grew up with them. Some of us were introduced to them by our parents. Some of us are hearing them for the first time with this show. Whenever you first heard them, they stick with you. But beyond simply being hit songs, Leiber and Stoller knocked down racial and gender barriers. From "I'm a Woman" to "Hound Dog," to "There Goes My Baby," their songs had an impact on the lives of women and African Americans, while "Yakety Yak" and "Charlie Brown" tapped into the energy of the youth of the 1950s. Leiber and Stoller gave them a sound of their own. And what a sound! These songs are, as director Randy Johnson calls them, the great American songbook.
Which made me wonder...when the company of Smokey Joe's Café is strutting down the street, what are their theme songs? I was able to catch up with a few of them during previews to find out!
E. Faye Butler
Anything by Dinah Washington or Ella Fitzgerald
"Treat Me Nice" by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Nova Y. Payton
"Feeling Good" by Nina Simone
"Forever" by Chris Brown
"Let's Dance" by David Bowie
Randy Johnson, Director
"Court and Spark" by Joni Mitchell
Parker Esse, Choreographer
"On Broadway" by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Ryan Maxwell, Directing Assistant
Anything off Chico Hamilton's album The Dealer, especially "For Mods Only"
Now it's your turn ... what's your theme song?
(Photos: The cast of Smokey Joe’s Café—The Songs of Leiber and Stoller. Kara-Tameika Watkins, Nova Y. Payton, E. Faye Butler and Ashley Blair Fitzgerald in Smokey Joe’s Café—The Songs of Leiber and Stoller. Stephawn P. Stephens and the cast of Smokey Joe’s Café—The Songs of Leiber and Stoller. Photos by Teresa Wood.)