“Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” a song and dance revue of hit tunes from the rock ’n’ roll era before the Beatles, will take the stage at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.
The lively show features nine cast members performing some of the best-known songs of the 1950s and 1960s. “Stand By Me,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Yakety Yak,” “Hound Dog,” “Spanish Harlem,” “On Broadway” and “Jailhouse” are among the several dozen standards on the program.
The original production of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” was a successful Broadway musical that had a five-year run and was nominated for eight Tony awards. The soundtrack for the musical won a Grammy Award in 1996.
“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” is a tribute to the contributions of a pair of close friends, Jerry Leiber, a native of Baltimore, Md., and Mike Stoller of Long Island, N.Y. Working together as record producers they were responsible for many enduring rock ’n’ roll melodies and lyrics. Stoller composed the music scores and Leiber, who died in 2011, wrote the lyrics. Their roster of star clients included The Coasters, The Drifters and many other hit bands. They were inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Leiber and Stoller virtually invented rock ’n’ roll, and their songs provide the basis for entertainment that illuminates a golden age of American culture,” said Paul Lormand, director of the Bardo Arts Center.
The show is part of the annual Galaxy of Stars Series, which debuted at WCU in 2005. All performances take place in the 900-seat Bardo Arts Center. In addition to “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” performances for the remainder of the 2013-14 season include 1964, a performance by a Beatles tribute band, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9; Squirm Burpee Circus, featuring comedy and circus-style antics, at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 2; and the long-running Broadway musical “The Fantasticks” at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 27.
Tickets for the Jan. 26 show are $20 for adults, $15 for WCU faculty and staff and $5 for students and children. For tickets and additional information, contact the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or visit the website bardoartscenter. wcu.edu.
“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” is sponsored by the Sylva law firm of Earwood and Moore.
News release prepared by Christy Martin.