Smokey Joe's Cafe | No Exit Cafe | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

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

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 11 2012

There are no frills on this tribute to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the writing team responsible for early rock classics like "Hound Dog" and "Stand by Me." No unifying theme, no dialogue, and no real plot—just 40-odd songs from the 1950s and '60s, presented in quick succession, often with one flowing into the next. But the cast bring a dazzling energy to Brenda Didier's staging for Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. The voices are strong (Robin Dasilva's and Vasily Deris's in particular), and the dancing is mesmerizing (Britt-Marie Sivertsen demonstrates her mastery in "Teach Me How to Shimmy"). As a result, the show feels like more than the sum of its parts. The intimacy of the space helps, too—no microphones required. And the performers make full use of the room, getting the audience and the three-piece band involved. Breaking down the fourth wall even further, the actors double as waiters. One began tying on her apron even before the last notes of the final song had died out. —Julia Thiel

Price: $25-$50

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