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Something familiar is on the menu at 'Smokey Joe's Cafe'

It's not likely that everyone is familiar with the musical Smokey Joe's Cafe. To be sure, it's not Phantom, Les Miz or even The Sound of Music.

(Never mind that it was the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, going strong for 2,036 performances from 1995 to 2000.)

What is likely is that everyone knows at least half a dozen songs from this show by the masters of rock 'n' roll, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller:

Kansas City.

Poison Ivy.

Charlie Brown.

Loving You (think Elvis).

Hound Dog (think Elvis again).

Jailhouse Rock (did these guys work for Elvis?).

Stand By Me.

And that's just a start.

There are 33 more songs that at least someone in the audience will know — Treat Me Nice (there we go with Elvis again), Yakety Yak, There Goes My Baby, Fools Fall in Love, for example — when the show opens Aug. 1 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre for an eight-week run.

"Smokey Joe's Cafe brings together a stellar ensemble cast from around the country," said Susan Haldeman, company manager.

The nine singers include several Show Palace favorites and a couple of newcomers.

The five-piece band is led by New York pianist Michael Ursua, who got his start as a walk-on singer/dancer at Richey Suncoast Theatre when he lived in New Port Richey.

"Michael is outstanding," said Nick Sessa, co-owner of the Show Palace. "He brings so much to this show, and he is having a great time doing it."

The singers include Phillip Lamar Boykin, who stopped the show when he sang Ol' Man River in the Show Palace production of Show Boat; Hudson's own Sara Del Beato, who played the lead in Nunsense Jamboree and has performed in theaters across the country; and Timothe Bittle, who did the opening number for Chicago and appeared as Richie in A Chorus Line and as a singer/dancer in Swing!, 50s and 60s Revue and Red Hot and Cole.

Also in the cast are Regina Fernandez (Georgie in Full Monty), Tiffany Lutz (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Illeana Kirven (50s and 60s Revue 2006), and Eric Jon Mahlum (Woolsey in Mame, 50s and 60s), plus newcomers Davron S. Monroe and Jason Goodson.

The director and choreographer is Katie Kerwin, with Ursua as music director.

>>if you go

Eight-week run

What: Smokey Joe's Cafe.

Where: Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson.

When: Aug. 1 to Sept. 21. Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays and 1:30 p.m. some Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Doors open two hours before the show for buffet and cash bar.

Tickets: $44 dinner and show; $32.95 show only; call for children's prices at (727) 863-7949 in west Pasco or toll-free elsewhere at 1-888-655-7469.

Something familiar is on the menu at 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' 07/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:06pm]
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