Smokey Joe's Cafe | Royal George Theatre Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Smokey Joe's Cafe The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 4 2013

Songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller penned some of early rock 'n' roll's biggest hits. This musical revue, revived by Theo Ubique, strings together a few dozen of them in a plotless bender of nostalgia. For anyone interested, director Brenda Didier's cast—rife with good looks and strong voices—does a fine job of it. Melodramatic minidramas like "Charlie Brown" and "Love Potion #9" lend themselves to casual theatrics. Still, my mind wandered to the people behind the songs, rather than the characters in them. How did Big Mama Thornton, the African-American artist who first performed "Hound Dog," feel when Elvis Presley's version took off? But don't let my cynicism ruin a good knee-slapping romp through the total racial harmony of postwar America. —Keith Griffith

Price: $25-$46.50

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