THEATER: “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” @ Capital Repertory Theatre

July 17th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Actors Benjamin Mapp and Christopher Brasfield make their Capital Repertory Theatre debuts in the toe-tapping

Actors Benjamin Mapp and Christopher Brasfield make their Capital Repertory Theatre debuts in the toe-tapping “Smokey Joe’s Café” at Capital Repertory Theatre through August 10

Review by Greg Haymes

The annual summertime offering at downtown Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre is all about a feel-good, light-hearted, music-laden revue, and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller” fits the bill perfectly.

For theater-goers of a certain age, it’s a sweet, sentimental stroll through the soundtrack of their youth. For younger viewers, it’s a rompin’ musical history lesson about the earliest days of rock ‘n’ roll when black was black, and white was white, and rarely if ever did the twain meet until the teenage songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller came along.

There’s no over-riding narrative arc to get in the way. There’s no story-line at all – unless you consider the lyrics of the 39 songs to be individual single-scene plays. Unlike other jukebox musicals based on songs from roughly the same era – “Leader of the Pack” or the current “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” for instance – it’s not a biographical portrait of struggling songwriters who finally hit it big. It’s not even really about Leiber and Stoller, the two songwriters who helped lay the foundation for rock ‘n’ roll.

In fact, there’s no dialogue at all. It’s all about the music.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement
Cartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Berkshire On StageAlbany PoetsThe LindaRamblin Jug Stompers