Smokey Joe’s a musical history lessonOpening night special planned with bogo

The director/choreographer of a show opening next week at the Permian Playhouse promises potential audience members that they will clap, tap their feet and sing along.
“Smokey Joe’s” opens Feb. 22 at the Permian Playhouse, 310 W. 42nd. “ You’ll be wrapped up in the music from the start. You’ll bob your head, tap your foot, clap your hands, and eventually, you won’t be able to help yourself … you’ll be singing along with us,” Lillestol said via email.
She said a live, five-person band along with “nine incredible singers, and a ton of music that you know and love” make the show something special.
“Smokey Joe’s Cafe is distinct in that it doesn’t comply with the traditional format. If you’re not a regular theater-goer or if you’re opposed to “musicals” in general, this show provides a great middle ground,” Lillestol said. “You won’t be following characters or a plot, there won’t be a dream ballet sequence, or a fairy tale love story. You just get to kick back and enjoy some music being presented to you in a larger than life way.”
The musical does not feature a concrete plot or established characters that you have to follow through the evening. Smokey Joe’s Cafe is a musical revue and celebration of lyricist Jerome Leiber and composer Mike Stoller’s greatest tunes.
Their names may not be household names but their music is certainly recognizable.
They helped create a number of rock icons with their music including The Drifters, The Coasters, Ben E. King, Dion and the Belmonts, Elvis Presley and more.
The show features 38 of their greatest hits including: Kansas City, On Broadway, Stand By Me, Jailhouse Rock, Love Potion No. 9, There Goes My Baby, Hound Dog, I’m a Woman, Neighborhood, Baby That is Rock n Roll, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, Poison Ivy and Young Blood.
Lillestol said the timing is right for the show. She said the last few years that the Playhouse’s seasons have focused on building and celebrating the Kaleidoscope Company, children’s theater education camps and theater school. “These shows have garnered audiences consisting of parents, family, friends, and school age children. I wanted to give a treat to the more seasoned generations and take the chance to introduce this incredible classic music to the younger generations with this enticing show.”
She said there is no shortage of talent in the Permian Basin to stage this musical.
“I wanted to seize the opportunity to grab a diverse cast of people to bring this musical revue to life. We have cast members who are in musical theater constantly, singers in bands, church worship singers, and music students from Midland, Odessa and Stanton.”
She said of the cast have never done a musical before. “The hope is that it will bring a fresh audience that may not be traditional musical theatre lovers into the Playhouse to show them what astounding talent is all around them.”