If you were coming of age in the Fifties and Sixties, the music you heard every day on the radio still lives in your head. “Yakety Yak,” “Searchin’,” “Charlie Brown,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Hound Dog” – to name a very few – are songs that never go away. But do you have any idea who wrote them? Probably not.
Brazosport Center Stages opens “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” tonight in the Freeport LNG venue, aka, the large theater. Directed by Jean Warren, it is really more of a musical revue than a play. It consists entirely of songs written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller performed by excellent musicians from our area. Just a few of the singers you will hear are Elon Coates, Lizzy Conger, Amber Crawford, Jacob Aguilar, Cameron Losoya, Mason Rod, Chayton Herbst, Maurice Williams, and some new folks whose names I can’t recall to tell you right now. But they are all good. (Send me a tip if you identify them in the photo below.) More photos are posted to the Flickr site here.
Lest you think this is a show for old timers, I can tell you that when I finished shooting photos of the invited dress rehearsal last night, I spotted some high schoolers on the third row and I asked a young man if he knew someone in the cast.
“No but I love this music,” he said.
“A gift to you from my generation,” I said.
“Wow. Thanks,” he said.
“Fee, fee, fi, fi, fo, fo, FUM, I smell smoke in the audi-tor-i-UM … ” I said.
It’s a great show. Come out, listen, and re-live to the birth of rock and roll – back when you could make out the words in the songs.
Maybe you can even learn how to shimmy.
Reservations available online at The Center web site. The remaining shows:
Saturday, Feb 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb 3 at 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb 8 and Saturday, Feb 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb 10 at 2:30 p.m.
2 thoughts on “Opening Tonight at Brazosport Center Stages: “Smokey Joe’s Cafe””
It was an awesome show last night. I was singing and shimmying in my seat as if it was just yesterday…
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“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” answers the question: Was there good pop music before the Beatles. Leiber and Stoller wrote across a range of styles and often with humor. And it was a kind of humor that teenagers could love.
By the way, Judy, if you kept your program, please send me the names of the two young women I couldn’t ID in the photo. I met both of them before the rehearsal but, I think you know how this works: If you are old enough to remember this music, then you are too old to remember names.