The longest-running musical revue to play Broadway is making a triumphant return this summer as producers announced the comeback of hit revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
The Jukebox musical that garnered Tony award nominations for Broadway Black stars Victor Trent Cook, B.J. Crosby and the illustrious Brenda Braxton, is set for a revival, with rehearsals starting around the end of May, according to an Actors Equity audition posting. Previews are scheduled for July 19
Original producers Richard Frankel, Steve Baruch, Tom Viertel and Marc Routh are joining original cast Tony-nominated director Jerry Zaks to revive the hit revue. The show features songs by writers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, including fan favorites “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “I’m a Woman,” and “On Broadway.” After Midnight Choreographer,Warren Carlyle, has also signed on, along with musical direction by Sonny Paladino.
Smokey Joe’s opened on Broadway March 2, 1995 and despite harsh critical reviews, had substantial commercial success. The revue earned five Tony award nominations in 1995 including Best Featured Actress, Best Featured Actor, Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Musical. It also won the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album in 1996. After a nearly five year run and a bevy of special appearances, including Gloria Gaynor, Lou Rawls and Gladys Knight, the show closed Jan of 2000 after 2,036 performances.
In 2014, nearly 20 years after the first performance, Braxton directed original cast members for reunion concert performance of Smokey Joe’s at the famed Feinstein’s/ 54 Below.
“There’s so much history with us,” Braxton shared with the second of two sold-out crowds. “We weren’t just [together] on Broadway, we were a family.”
Production has yet to announce a venue.
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