Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller is a well executed production of over 35 songs written by the famed songwriting duo of the 1950's and 1960's (note: several of the songs performed had other songwriters attached as well). Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller gained great fame writing several of Elvis Presley's biggest hits. They penned the lyrics and the music for Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog which are both included in this show.
The nine performers in the current Chicago production are great representatives of what theater in Chicago can be. A few of the performers are more well rounded with their respective gifts and talents than some of the others, but that is to be expected in any showcase of talent.
Five men and four women belt out some of the most famous songs in the Leiber and Stoller catalog, but they also spend a great deal of time performing several songs that seemingly no one has ever heard of, but if you want to present a production that goes a couple of hours you will be filling it with several songs that aren't quite all that memorable.
The audience gets treated to Stand By Me, On Broadway, Love Potion #9 and Yakety Yak, along with thirty plus other tunes from a more innocent era.
The show is immensely entertaining and the cast deserves tremendous credit for providing a non-stop romp through some old early rock/pop tracks. Quite honestly, eight of the nine people on the stage are far more talented than pretty much anyone you will see on American Idol in any given season.
All in all, a wonderful night out at the theater or in the Royal George's case, the theatre. Valet parking is available and it is beyond reasonably priced.
Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted
Copyright Chicago and Then Some 2013