WMU News

"Smokey Joe's Cafe" is a rock 'n roll celebration

March 10, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Powerful performances and razor-sharp staging bring songs from the 1950s and '60s to life in "Smokey Joe's Cafe--the Songs of Leiber and Stoller" for five performances, March 18-20, in Miller Auditorium on the campus of Western Michigan University.

"Hound Dog," "Love Potion #9," "Stand By Me," "On Broadway," and "Jailhouse Rock," all written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, were the soundtrack to a generation.

Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Musical and nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Director, and Best Choreography, "Smokey Joe's Cafe" celebrates the world of first kisses and last dances, hot summer nights and cool midnight struts, blue-light diners and red hot rock and roll.

"We didn't write songs," Leiber and Stoller are fond of saying. "We wrote records."

The revolution in popular music that was born of the 45 rpm record, the juke box and the car radio began when Elvis Presleys recording of Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" smoked the charts in 1956. The hits continued from there: "Charlie Brown," "Loving You," "Treat Me Nice," "Kansas City," and countless others--an unprecedented string of Top 40 songs that defined the '50s and early '60s. The Coasters, Drifters, Peggy Lee and Elvis, all had their greatest success with Leiber and Stoller tunes.

Showtimes are Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 19, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 20, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $23 to $47 and are available by calling (269) 387-2300 or toll-free (800) 228-9858, online at <www.millerauditorium.com>, or by visiting the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office or the Epic Center Box Office in downtown Kalamazoo.

"Smokey Joe's Cafe" at Miller Auditorium is sponsored by WWMT Channel 3 and 107.7 WRKR FM.

Media contact: Tracey Lawie, 269 387-2309, tracey.lawie@wmich.edu

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