Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre revisits golden oldies at 'Smokey Joe's Cafe'

wtatangelo@bradenton.comNovember 1, 2012 

A show that ran for about five years on Broadway beginning in 1995, "Smokey Joe's Cafe" eschews plot in favor of focusing on the hit pop and early rock 'n' roll songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

These are tunes you know, probably by heart, if you're of a certain age.

The songwriting duo's gaggle of golden oldies includes "Hound Dog," "Stand By Me," "There Goes My Baby" and "Love Potion No. 9," just to name a few.

The musical revue opens today at Florida Studio Theatre's Keating Theatre in downtown Sarasota.

It's being directed by returning FST player Kevyn Morrow, who has appeared in the Broadway productions of "A Chorus Line," "Dreamgirls," "The Scarlet Pimpernel and Dream" and, yes, "Smokey Joe's Cafe."

"For me, Smokey Joe's Cafe is one of the few shows where audiences leave the theater not humming or singing one song, but rather three or four -- not to mention dancing," Morrow said in a statement.

"Partially because it evokes a time we wistfully refer to as 'a simpler time,' but more so because of the great songs with great hooks written by a great songwriting team, Leiber and Stoller."

The cast features returning FST favorite Arthur Marks as Victor, as well as many new faces including Jason Veasey, James Harkness, Devin Roberts, Thomas Rainey, Brittany Avey, Karen Burthwright, Lianne Marie Dobbs and Allyson Kaye Daniel.

Details: Nov. 1-Jan. 3, Florida Studio Theatre's Keating Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $19 -- $42. Information: 941-366-9000 or floridstudiotheatre.org.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.

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