July 26, 2021 – The Muny at St. Louis’ Forest Park opened its 103rd season with a performance of Smokey Joe’s Coffee Monday evening with a crowd almost full. Smokey Joe’s Coffee has been Broadway’s longest-running musical revue and features 39 songs written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, including Stand by Me, Poison Ivy, Jail House Rock and Spanish Harlem.
There are many reasons to return to Muny and see Smokey Joe’s Coffee. First, the casting is dynamic. Second, the group, led by Music Director / Conductor Abdul Hamid Royal, provide top notch accompaniment. Third, the decoration of the whole is absolutely magnificent. Fourth, there are times in this production that simply shine, especially when the well-known hits of Lieber and Stoller are performed.
Before you go, understand that Smokey Joe’s Coffee is a simple musical review. Music is alone without the support of a book or a story. During times when lesser-known songs are being delivered, the show can become mundane. To overcome the lack of history, The Muny has assembled a charismatic and talented cast who support each other as a dedicated ensemble. From the first notes sung, it was obvious that this group of talented singers would offer exceptional voices with close harmonies. What you don’t see coming is the juggernaut that is Tiffany Mann. Ms. Mann is a vocal powerhouse who owns the stage. She and her gospel-like voice take you to church with every song she delivers. It was evident during the opening night recall that his work stood out among this incredibly talented ensemble. The rest of the cast includes Charl Brown, Michael Campayano, Mykal Kilgore, Hayley Podschun, Dee Roscioli, Christopher Sams, Nasia Thomas and Jason Veasey and all of them offer stellar vocal performances.
Edward E. Haynes, Jr. The set design is a nod to St. Louis’ historic Gaslight Square. The decor transports the public to the late 1950s and early 1960s. It has created an ensemble that is both nostalgic and beautiful. This magnificent set design, with its attention to detail, recalls the Tony Award-winning stage design of the Roundabout Theater Company for the 2016 revival of She loves Me.
Smokey Joe’s Coffee is an entertaining offer to open the new season at Muny. The show is sponsored by Ameren and runs until August 1. To purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or visit The Muny Box Office in Forest Park.
Next up at Muny is The Sound of Music, sponsored by Edward Jones, August 3-9, 2021. For more information, visit muny.org.