“Smokey Joe’s Café,” a music review opening today at Smith-Cotton High School in the Heckart Performing Arts Center, is a collective effort of S-C’s vocal music, drama and instrumental music departments.
“The really impressive thing about this show is that the students were able to take on more of a leadership role,” Anna Underhill Wooderson, S-C vocal music director, said.
Students not only learned the music for the show, but participated in costuming and set design.
“… With some help from volunteers and faculty, they really do the majority of the work,” she added.
The show is a compilation of musical numbers.
“The text of ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’ consists of nothing but song lyrics,” she said. “It’s all music.”
The music is a collection of numbers from songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and it features popular music from the 1950s and ’60s.
“The cast is made up of all vocal music students, but one,” Underhill Wooderson said. “(An) outstanding singer that is not in the music department.
Kayla Reed, a junior, will also be part of “Smokey Joe’s” cast.
All three show choirs, Cabaret, New Score and Broadway Velocity, plus Acapella Choir members are represented in the music review. Smokey Joe’s features singing and dancing with both solo and group performances.
“The music is the popular rock-n-roll style band from the ’50s and ’60s,” she added. “It is piano, it is keyboard, saxophone, drums, electric guitar and bass guitar.”
Instrumental music teachers supplied the music along with “some select instrumental students,” Underhill Wooderson added.
“’Smokey Joe’s Café’ is the setting for the show,” she said. “The setting is a fun little café set up with tables and chairs. The songs feature different cast members singing popular songs.”
Songs featured in the show will be “Poison Ivy,” “Jail House Rock,” “Stand by Me,” “Kansas City,” “On Broadway,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Yakety Yak” and “Hound Dog.”
In total, 19 students will be participating in the show plus three students who are involved with the band.
Underhill Wooderson added that the students loved working on music from the ’50s and ’60s.
“They were excited about it,” she said. “Typically, show choir kids love that time period because it includes couples dancing. They get to do some fun couples dancing. It’s an hour long — singing , dancing and all action.”
Underhill Wooderson said there was a great deal of music for the students to learn, but they enjoyed the challenge.
“They added that on top of their already developing programs for this year,” she noted. “These are the kids that just want a little bit more.”
S-C Director of Speech, and Theatre Education Teri Turner, who is on maternity leave, is pleased with the students’ work on the show.
“The students have really embraced the musical revue, ‘Smokey Joe’s Café,’” Turner said by email on Thursday. “I think the audience will have a great time singing along with hits from the ‘50’s and ’60s, such as ‘Kansas City,’ ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and ‘Stand by Me.’”
“Smokey Joe’s Café” will perform at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the S-C Heckart Performing Arts Center.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.