Theatre-By-The-Sea, RI

“…has assembled nine of the most delightfully talented performers for this all music revue. From the opening number, ‘Neighborhood,’ the audience is taken on a wonderfully entertaining trip down memory lane with 42 songs that are presented in such a manner that you wonder where the time went. A standing and thunderous ovation at the end was truly justified…”

“There are so many songs in this show and they are all so well presented…”

“Director/Choreographer Gary John La Rosa has to be credited with the flow of this show.”

“It was such a good show!”

“…wonderful production…”

“…absolutely outstanding…”“This show has it all folks – order your tickets today!!”

Don Gillis – Little Rhody Theatre

Firing up the juke box

Smokey Joe’s Café gives oldies a new spin at Matunuck
“If Doo-wop’s your thing, then head down to Matunuck, where Theatre-by-the-Sea is serving up a sizzling production of Smokey Joe’s Café, the nostalgic, Grammy-Award winning salute to the music of the ‘50’s.”

“…has cast well and was able to bring in talent that’s as good as you’ll hear in any touring production around here – probably better.”

“…’Saved’, a hand-clapping gospel number that brought the house down at the end of the first act.”

“The group had the style down, along with some smooth moves.”

“Call it a concert, a revue, whatever. It works...”

Channing Gray – Providence Journal

Hit Parade: The good times roll at Smokey Joe’s

“Smokey Joe’s Café is a dangerous show to see if dumb lines like ‘Fee-fee-fi-fi-fo-fo-fum, I smell smoke in the au-di-tor-i-um’ tend to do Mobius strip loops in your brain. But if you can handle the risk, and 50’s and 60’s rock and R&B gets your booty bopping, then the current Theatre-By-The –Sea production is where you’ll want to be.”

“This staging of Smokey Joe’s Café is paced and constructed to keep things flowing.”

“…‘Some Cats Know’ is a sinuous treat.”

“…a captivating rendition of ‘Spanish Harlem’ complemented by some lovely, low-key choreography. By the time the company, led with authority by Willis White, brought down the curtain with ‘Stand by Me’, they had also once more brought down the house.”

“…a rollicking romp down memory lane, and this production is certainly worthy of its material. You might even find yourself, as did the couple behind me, singing along.”

Bill Rodriguez – Providence Phoenix

Smokey Joe’s Café

“The final show at Theatre-by-the-Sea this season is Smokey Joe’s Café. It is a very high energy musical revue of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s music. 42 of their hit songs are sung and danced to by 9 talented performers with expert direction and choreography by Gary John La Rosa and fantastic music direction by Bill Stanley. What a dynamite way to close the summer season in Matunuck.”

Gary keeps things moving from number to number making it flow…with nonstop music from start to finish.”

Gary’s choreography is another seamless part of this show…”

“So for a superb evening of familiar standards…be sure to see Smokey Joe’s Café, you won’t be disappointed.”

Tony Annicone – Theater Mirror

Fast-paced, fun filled Smokey Joe’s Café resurrects the doo-wop days of the 1950’s

“Even if you weren’t around for the fun-filled days of doo-wop, the upbeat, catchy tunes of Smokey Joe’s Café, now showing at the Theatre-By-The-Sea, will keep you entertained.”

“It is obvious the entire company is having a blast as it performs this fast-paced, fun musical directed and choreographed by Gary John La Rosa.”

“…just pure fun…”

“fast-paced and exciting…” “songs that transport the audience…”

“Smokey Joe’s Café is sure to please.”

Anne Kumar – The Newport Daily News

Smokey Joe’s Café Wows ‘Em

“Theatre-By-The-Sea’s 69th season draws to a close with a rousing trip down memory lane courtesy of Smokey Joe’s Café.”

“The show opens and closes with two heartfelt renditions of ‘Neighborhood’ performed by the entire cast, featuring a large video screen and a nostalgic look at days gone by in the form of black and white slides. Despite such sentimental leanings Smokey Joe’s Café also delivers many laughs.”

“In fact, after seeing some impressive dancing in ‘On Broadway’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’ it is disappointing that there are not more ensemble dance numbers.”

Mark Morin – The Sun

Smokey Joe’s Café a rockin’ good time

“If you’re looking for a finger-snapping, toe-tapping good time, you’re sure to find it at Theatre-By-The-Sea’s production of Smokey Joe’s Café.”

“The entire show is a smooth blend of music, dance and pure nostalgia. And although the show doesn’t have a typical storyline, the songs flow in such a way as to create the power and feel of a story you want to hear again and again.”

“The golden age of rock ‘n’ roll is relived in Smokey Joe’s Café. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane.”

Stacey Cabral – The Herald News

Great Voices Make Smokey Joe’s The Place To Be

“Get ready to laugh. Get ready to rock. Get ready to roll. And get ready for old-fashioned entertainment, up-town style.”

“Smokey Joe’s Café the finale of Theatre-By-The-Sea’s summer musicals, mixes the rich history of foot-tapping pop tunes of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s with all-star talent to do the singin’, dancin’ and playin’.”

“Like a mountainous layer cake with fluffy whipped cream, the delivery at Smokey Joe’s is what really tastes fine.”

“The company, always beautifully costumed and directed to be in synch with one another. Plays often as a whole as well as in bits and pieces.”

“…outrageously entertaining…”

Michael Holtzman – The Call

Smokey Joe’s Café Terrific Musical at Theatre-By-The-Sea

“Credit the producers at Fourquest Entertainment for finding the perfect end of season show at Theatre-By-The-Sea. Smokey Joe’s Café is simply a delight to the eyes and ears….”

“If you want a story, go to the library, but if you want a couple of hours of musical numbers which will have you clappin’ and tappin’, then don’t miss this one .”

“Director/choreographer Gary John La Rosa is no stranger to this show, and he’s got the cast to make these great old songs sound almost new and he’s found everyone’s special gift and let’s them shine.”

“It’s always sad to see both the summer and the TBTS season end, but you can extend the sunshine a bit by visiting Smokey Joe’s Café before Sept. 8th.”

David Howard – East Providence Post

Smokey Joe’s Café Raises The Roof

“…One of the summer’s most entertaining nights out.”

“Imagine dusting off you favorite old 45’s, stacking them on top of one another on your ancient record player, and while you listen to them, live singers and dancers jump out of the woodwork to perform. That’s the feeling you get from Theatre-By-The-Sea’s rousing rendition of Smokey Joe’s Café, a hip-swaying, head-bobbing, toe-tapping collection of pop hits by legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.”

“Before the curtain rises, a blend of voices and harmonies oozes from a darkened stage, foreshadowing an evening of joyful music. There’s no attempt at plot, thankfully, although songs sharing similar sentiments are often loosely connected in skits with clever sight gags and fancy footwork. Many of the songs are little stories in and of themselves – the song writers thought of them as ‘playlets’ – which gives the production its share of memorable characters.”

“There isn’t a false note here, as a stellar cast, backed by a top-notch band, belts out one great tune after another.”

“…entertaining visual sequences…” “…excels again in the classic ‘On Broadway’” “…sets a blistering pace…”“…used to good effect…” “…a fun number…”

“There isn’t a dud in this show. It’s hard to imagine a better way to close out a summer season than by dipping into the menu at Smokey Joe’s Café.”

Doug Norris – South County Independent

Smokey Joe’s Café by the Sea

“With a monumental bang, Broadway has officially arrived at the beach.”

“Smokey Joe’s Café is taking audiences by storm at Theatre-By-The-Sea – and it promises to please music lovers endlessly.”

“Award-winning director Gary John La Rosa is at the helm of this joyful show, along with Musical Director Bill Stanley.”

“…this bluesy classic had the entire theater in stitches.”

“Whether you danced to the music then and want to relive a piece of history or you’re hearing the songs for the first time, Smokey Joe’s Café is a musical explosion that promises to bring you to an era of blue-light dinners, first kisses and hot summer nights.”

Amanda Roberge – The Narragansett Times

Smokey Joe’s Café A Toe-Tappin’ Good Time That’s All About The Music

“As the curtain came down, some folks older than me were glowing. ‘That was a wonderful show!’ said one. ‘I couldn’t stop my feet from tapping,’ said another. We’d just seen Smokey Joe’s Café, the final show of the season at Theatre-By-The-Sea.”

“TBTS’s version doesn’t rely on imitation. I applaud the director…”

Frank O’Donnell – The Valley Breeze

Smokey Joe’s Café

“Fourquest Entertainment wraps up the 2002 season at Matunuck’s Theatre-By-The-Sea with an outstanding performance of Leiber and Stoller’s award-winning song and dance sensation Smokey Joe’s Café.”

“This reviewer worked as a radio disc jockey in the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s, and I must say that Smokey Joe’s Café is a memory trip of major proportions.”

“Smokey Joe’s Café at Theatre-By-The-Sea is simply dynamic.

WOON 1240 AM

Foothiills Theatre, MA

Music smokin’ at Foothills

Smokey Joe’s’ cast shines in 42 songs

“If one judges a performing arts piece by sheer entertainment quotient, then Foothills Theatre Company’s season-concluding production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe succeeds sublimely. The music of the ’50s and ’60s songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller is legend, including such standards as ‘Kansas City,’ ‘Stand By Me,’ ‘Love Potion No. 9,’ ‘On Broadway,’ ‘Spanish Harlem,’ ‘Hound Dog,’ ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’ and ‘Poison Ivy.’ Artists associated with the hits include Elvis Presley, The Drifters, The Coasters, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.”

“Sunday’s crowd-pleasing hard-to-resist performance defies conventional category. It is simply a nonstop tour of the early days of rock ’n’ roll that glides effortlessly across the stage like a perfect world version of ‘American Idol.’ Even Simon Cowell would have trouble suppressing an approving smile at this display of talent.

“There really isn’t a weak link in this crisply performed ensemble. Gary John La Rosa’s direction and choreography are smoothly executed, and Ken Goldstein’s set design slyly alters from one song to the next, finally revealing at the opening of Act 2 the marvelous five-piece band stationed by the Smokey Joe’s Cafe sign hovering above. It might not be musical theater, but musically grand it is.”

Paul Kolas – Worcester Telegram & Gazette

This 'Smokey Joe' Is Hot: Cast of Worcester Foothills Theatre puts soul into their performance

“You may not know the names Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, but if you have spent any time on this planet, you are sure to have heard some of their songs. They wrote ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ songs that Elvis Presley made famous. They are responsible for the beautiful love song ‘Spanish Harlem’ and the evocative ‘Stand By Me,’ which is featured in the film by the same name. In fact, they wrote all 38 songs in Smokey Joe's Cafe, a well-known musical revue that is playing at Worcester Foothills Theatre through the month of May. And so it seems especially fitting that the Foothills' cast is a refreshing mixture of black and white singers, including five men who sing a wonderful blend of doo-wop harmonies.”

“This is not musical theater with a plot and characters that develop through the whole show. But each song has it's own sense of characters and sometimes a mini-plot that are enhanced by appealing costumes and snappy dance steps. The show's not all smoldering. There is some terrific humor, too.”

“Director and choreographer Gary John La Rosa has pulled together a polished soulful show. The kind that asks you to just kick back and enjoy yourself.”

David Brooks Andrews – Metrowest Daily News

© 2024 Gary John La Rosa