• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford Theatre’s ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’ opens Friday

Smokey Joe’s Café” comes to Woodford Theatre for three weekends of performances beginning Friday. A Broadway mainstay, this musical revue’s 39 songs are a celebration of the 1950s.

In her director’s notes, Tracey Bonner says, “Smokey Joe’s Café provides a soundtrack to our lives” – even for people who didn’t grow up in the era.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “music creates a dynamic rock and roll concert in the early days of the jukebox musical and trust me, if you don’t like one song – just sit tight, you are sure to like the next one,” says Bonner.

Music director Donna Bonner, who previously worked with her daughters, Tracey and Amanda, on a stage production at Dunbar High School, where she was music teacher, says she loves being a part of their creative process.

“It’s exciting and it’s also very humbling at times to see how they have created their art over the years,” says Donna. “And being able to work with them in that artist realm – it’s a pretty wonderful thing.” Amanda Bonner Church, her other daughter, performs in “Smokey Joe’s Café.”

As music director, Donna Bonner gets to work with a “very talented” group of nine singers/dancers who get to perform iconic tunes, including “Stand by Me,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “On Broadway” for their Woodford Theatre audiences.

“Doing that music,” says Bonner, “I think the audience will absolutely love it and want to sing along.” And they’ll get to hear “song after song after song” from this era in American music history, she adds.

Performances of “Smokey Joe’s Café” begin this weekend, May 18 to 20, with additional shows May 25 to 27 and May 31 to June 3. Friday andSaturday night performances begin at 8, with Sunday matinees at 2. A special Thursday night performance before the final weekend begins at 7:30.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students, and may be purchased by visiting woodfordtheatre.com or calling 873-0648.

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