STAGES St. Louis presents 100th production, ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’ | St. Louis Public Radio

STAGES St. Louis presents 100th production, ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’

Jun 5, 2015

(From L to R): Brent Michael Diroma, Emily Afton and Kent Overshown

STAGES St. Louis opens its 29th season with its 100th production, the musical revue “Smokey Joe’s Café.” The show features songs from the legendary rock and roll songwriting team, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stroller.

“Smokey Joe’s Café” debuted in November 1994 at the Doolittle Theatre in Los Angeles and quickly became a Broadway staple in 1995 after opening at the Virginia Theatre. The production ran on Broadway for 2,036 performances. It has been nominated for seven Tony Awards and in 1996, the original cast won a Grammy for the “Best Musical Show Album.”

“Smokey Joe's Café” features nearly 40 songs from over three decades of American music, such as “Stand by Me,” “Jail House Rock,” “Hound Dog” and “I’m A Woman.” Since its start, several celebrity guests have appeared in the production, including Gladys Knight, Rick Springfield, Tony Orlando and Ben E. King.

“It’s the epitome of timeless music,” said Brent Michael Diroma, who plays the role of “Michael.” “It spans from a lot of roots in music which is R&B and Blues.”

The production features some commentary, as visitors will hear the storyline of each character. “It’s basically the lives, loves and aspirations of these characters and how they go forth,” Diroma added.

“We have a cast of nine, with 40 songs and it’s pretty solid,” said Emily Afton, who plays the role of “Patty.”

Kent Overshown, who plays “Adrian,” said that visitors who come to the show are in for a treat. “[The cast members] are working their butts off on this stage, giving you everything we’ve got, every single night,” he said.

“The relationship that we have in the show as characters is hard to explain outside of the context of the show,” Diroma said. “But we all experience the on-and-off love, touch-and-go separation and unity.”

Listen to the audio to hear music samples from the production, and watch the video below to see cast members during show rehearsals.

Check out the video below to see cast members during show rehearsals.

Related Event

Stages St. Louis Presents Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller's "Smokey Joe's Cafe"

  • When: May 29 - June 28, 2015 (Various Times)
  • Where: Kirkwood Civic Center's Robert G. Reim Theatre, 111 South Geyer Road
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.