Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 19, 2014

Songwriting Kings

PSST! presents ’50s, ’60s hits in ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’

VALDOSTA — Hearing the song titles, you think of the Coasters, the Clovers, the Drifters, Ben E. King, and Elvis.

But, really, songs like “Poison Ivy,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Hound Dog,” “Yakkety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Fools Fall in Love,” “Stand By Me,” and many more belong to two men: songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Peach State Summer Theatre’s second musical of the 2014 season celebrates the songs of Leiber and Stoller.

Show director/choreographer Barbara Hartwig says “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” presents 20 Leiber-Stoller songs in the first act and 20 more in the second act.

There is no plot to “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” Instead, this song-and-dance revue presents stories within songs presented with humor, innuendo and some sexy moves, Hartwig says. PSST! gives this musical a PG rating.

Leiber and Stoller were songwriting kings of the 1950s and ’60s. They found success with hits such as “Hound Dog” and “Kansas City.” Their work with the Coasters brought more success. Elvis Presley sung several of their songs: “Jailhouse Rock,” “Love Me,” “Don’t,” “King Creole,” and “Loving You.”

They continued working in later years but never with that streak of success and genius that marked their earlier years. Leiber died in 2011. Stoller continues writing songs.

This show follows the successful opening of PSST!’s “Mary Poppins” two weeks ago. Peach State’s third and final show of the season, “42nd Street,” opens next week. All three shows will then play in rotating repertory through the end of July.

THE CAST: Jared Brodie, Michael Byrne, Desiree Dillon, Renita James, Tanisha Moore, David E. Foster, Robert McFletcher, Cedric J. Paige, Megan Wheeler.

DIRECTION, PRODUCTION: Barbara Hartwig, direction, choreography; Abby Vincent, stage manager; Ree Seminole, technical director; Matthew C. Mainella, musical direction; Caroline Hatchett, vocal direction; Ruth A. Brandvik, scene design; Genny Wynn, lighting design; Esther Iverson, costume design.


Peach State Summer Theatre presents “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 20, 21.

Where: Sawyer Theatre, Valdosta State University Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood.

Reservations, more information: Visit or call (229) 259-7770.

The Valdosta Daily Times is PSST!’s corporate sponsor.

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