Hear the jukebox play
BEAVER CREEK – If you like Elvis, you’ll love “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” a musical revue that celebrates the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Elvis recorded 20 of their songs, including “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock.”Leiber and Stoller, teenagers transplanted to Los Angeles from the East Coast, were just 17 when the two met and found they shared a penchant for boogie woogie and blues music. They spent that summer writing songs that reflected their shared love of black pop music and before the year was out Jimmy Witherspoon had recorded and performed Leiber and Stoller’s “Real Ugly Woman” in concert. And three years later Big Mama Thorton recorded “Hound Dog.” “Leiber and Stoller, you could really say, they as much as anybody helped create rock ‘n’ roll. They’re kind of the Rogers and Hammerstein of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Kris Sabel, Vilar Center director.The duo penned 100s of songs. Some for the Coasters, Benny King, The Drifters and Peggy Lee. Some of songwriters’ greatest hits include “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” “I’m A Woman,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand By Me.””They created this Motown sound. They used Latin percussion, romantic string sections in concert with rhythm and blues. And it kind of ushered in the whole era of soul music,” Sabel said.In 1955 Atlantic Records signed the duo, the first group to be signed for an independent production deal, meaning Atlantic had to paid them for what they wrote and not demand any more.”It changed the whole course of the record industry,” Sabel said.Phoenix Productions, a huge international entertainment organization, is bringing “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Sunday at 7:30 p.m. It’s on its second national tour since Broadway, and the show is the longest running musical revue in the history of Broadway.There’s a very loose storyline in the show, but it’s heavy in dance and heavy in music. It takes place in the 1950s, and the costumes and style of dancing swing reflect that.”They have this song “Teach Me How To Shimmy,” and there’s this whole number where this woman wearing this incredible fringe dress does this incredible shimmy,” Sabel said.
If you don’t know all the songs, you’ll know 80 percent of them, Sable said. Tickets are $60/$70. For more information, visit http://www.vilarcenter.org or call 845-TIXS.Some of the people who recorded Leiber and Stoller’s music:BeatlesRolling StonesBeach BoysJames BrownLittle RichardBuddy HollyJerry Lee LewisFats Domino
The Everly BrothersBarbara StreisandJimi HendrixMuddy WatersJohnny MathisJoe WIlliamsCount BassieJohn MellencampTom JonesAretha Franklin
B.B. King Otis ReddingSongs you know”Smokey Joe’s Cafe”Sunday, 7:30 p.m.Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver CreekTickets cost $60/$70Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or firstname.lastname@example.orgVail Colorado