Monday, April 19, 2010

Smokey Joe's Cafe at the Riverside Dinner Theater (review)

Title: Smokey Joe's Cafe
Words and Music: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer: Rollin E. Wehman
Director: Stephen R. Hayes
Genre: Musical
Cost: $64.50 per person (includes meal, does not include bar bill or tip)

Today's performance at the Riverside is one of the best I have ever seen. And I do not say that lightly.

You see, we have been attending shows at the Riverside for several years. And we have seen some good shows, some not-so-good shows, and some great shows. But of all those shows, we have rarely given a standing ovation. Even for many of those great shows.

Today we stood and clapped. And the performers deserved it.

The meal of choice tonight was a apple-smoked bacon pork chop, mixed veggies, and a baked potato. And there were chunks of corn bread and the usual salad. Our server appeared to be a bit new to the process of being a waiter, but that was the only negative aspect of the evening (unless you count the bizarre hairdo we saw).

The play was a musical revue, which is new to not only us but also to the Riverside. And I liked the change. There was little to no plot at all, simply song and dance. There was some acting, but it was very sparse and very well played. The songs were straight out of the 50s and 60s, so I knew most of them having grown up listening to "oldies." And to say the performers sang well would be an injustice to their skill. There were many new faces in the cast making their debut, but they performed quite well.

Of particular note was the group of four men who sang many songs together. They reminded me of the Four Tops or something with their skill. And the star of the show, the one singer that gave these four a run for there money, was TaLon Thomas. She was Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight rolled up into one package.

So if you have not had a chance yet to see this particular performance at the Riverside, I suggest you do so while you still can.

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