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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:

April 17, 2018

Cheryl Farley, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Patron Services
cfarley@ogunquitplayhouse.org

New York Bound Smokey Joe's Cafe Set to Open the Ogunquit Playhouse 2018 Season!

Ogunquit, ME – The Ogunquit Playhouse kicks off its 86th season with the all-new incarnation of the sizzling song and dance celebration Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller on stage May 16 to June 9. This exuberant production of the record breaking Broadway smash hit is directed and choreographed by Emmy Award-winner and Tony Award-nominee Josh Bergasse who will bring new life to more than 30 classic songs including “Stand by Me,” “I'm a Woman,” “Hound Dog,” “Fools Fall In Love,” “On Broadway,” “Yakety Yak,” “Pearl's a Singer,” “Treat Me Nice,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Love Potion #9,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Spanish Harlem.” The all-new production heads to Stage 42 (422 West 42nd Street, NYC) following its Ogunquit run.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the original producing team to create this fantastic show,” stated Executive Artistic Director, Bradford Kenney. “It has been our honor to work with Jack Viertel who conceived Smokey Joe’s Cafe with Stephen Helper and the New York producers, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, and Marc Routh, who have made this collaboration possible. It has also been our honor to bring this incredible creative team to Ogunquit led by Director/Choreographer Josh Bergasse and Tony Award-winning designers Beowulf Boritt and Jeff Croiter as well as Costume Designer Alejo Vietti and Sound Designer Peter Fitzgerald.”

Individual tickets are on sale now with prices starting at $52. Subscription packages are also available and guarantee the best seats for the best price. Prices start at only $247 for a five-show package and $147 for a three-show package. Gift certificates are also on sale. Tickets are available online at www.ogunquitplayhouse.org and through the Box Office located at 142 Main Street, Ogunquit or 207-646-5511.

The original production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller made history as Broadway’s longest running musical revue, earned a Grammy Award and multiple Tony Award nominations. The show celebrates the best songs of the legendary songwriting duo, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and their generation-defining songs that climbed the Billboard charts and provided hit after hit for icons like Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, The Coasters, and The Drifters. 

The cast of this all-new production features Broadway and Off-Broadway veterans including, Dwayne Cooper, who appeared on Broadway in Motown and Hairspray, and the National Tours of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Showboat, and Seussical The Musical; Emma Degerstedt who was most recently seen in the lead role in the Off-Broadway musical, Desperate Measures; John Edwards, whose credits include the Broadway production and National Tour of Jersey Boys, In the Heights at The Kennedy Center and the National Tour of Hairspray; Dionne D. Figgins, who began her career as a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, and has been seen on Broadway in Hot Feet, Memphis, Leap of Faith, and Motown. Also joining the cast are Nicole Vanessa Ortiz, who made her theatre debut as the leading lady in the Off-Broadway parody, Spamilton; Kyle Taylor Parker, who was most recently seen on NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” and the original Broadway productions of Kinky Boots and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Jelani Remy, who most recently starred as “Simba” in Broadway’s The Lion King; Max Sangerman, who starred in the first National tour of The Lightning Thief, as well as Blue Man Group Off-Broadway; and Alysha Umphress, who performed on Broadway in On the Town, American Idiot, and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, among others.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe is directed and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse and features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, original vocal arrangements by Chapman Roberts, and orchestrations by Steve Margoshes and Sonny Paladino. Music Supervision and new arrangements are also by Mr. Paladino.

The powerhouse ensemble is led by director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse, who most recently choreographed Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and received an Astaire Award and Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Circle Award nominations for his choreography on the acclaimed revival of On the Town. As a director/choreographer, Joshua co-directed and choreographed the acclaimed Bombshell on Broadway concert at the Minskoff Theatre, and directed and choreographed Hazel, a new musical at the Drury Lane Theatre last spring. His other New York choreography credits include Cagney for which he received Drama Desk, Astaire, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, and Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster at The New Group for which he received a Chita Rivera Award and a Lortel Award nomination. He also received an Emmy Award for his choreography on NBC’s musical drama “Smash.”

Scenic design for Smokey Joes Cafe is by Tony Award-winner Beowulf Boritt, whose many Broadway credits include Act One (Tony Award), The Scottsboro Boys (Tony Nomination), Therese Raquin (Tony Nomination), Come From Away, Meteor Shower, A Bronx Tale, Prince Of Broadway, Sunday in the Park with George, Hand To God, On The Town, Sondheim On Sondheim, Rock Of Ages, Chaplin, Bronx Bombers, Grace, and The Two And Only. Off-Broadway he has designed 100 shows including The Last Five Years, Sleepwalk With Me, and Miss Julie. He has also designed for The NYC Ballet, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and around the world in England, Russia, China, Australia, and Japan. In 2007 he received the OBIE Award for sustained excellence.

Costume Design for the production is by Alejo Vietti, who is a New York based costume designer born in Argentina. His credits include Broadway’s Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, Allegiance for which he received a Drama Desk nomination and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (also National Tour and West End, Olivier nomination, Australia, Japan and UK tour). His other New York credits include works for the Radio City Rockettes, City Center Encores, Roundabout, NYC Opera, Atlantic Theatre, and Irish Rep, among others. He has also designed for many regional and international theatres including Chicago Lyric Opera, Donesk Opera (Ukraine), Goodspeed, Guthrie, Hartford Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Ford’s Theatre, Long Wharf, Paper Mill Playhouse, and Pasadena Playhouse. He is a recipient of the TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award.

Tony Award-winner Jeff Croiter, joins the creative team as Lighting Designer. His many Broadway credits include Bandstand, Falsettos, Holiday Inn, Something Rotten, Disaster, Penn and TellerNewsies, and Peter and the Starcatcher for which he won a Tony Award. Off-Broadway he has designed the lighting for The Jerry Springer Opera; Tiny Beautiful Things; F-king A; Cost of Living; Good For Otto; Sweet Charity; Head of Passes; The Robber Bridegroom; King Lear; Loves Labors Lost; Fly By Night; Last Five Years; Old Jews Telling Jokes; Love, Loss and What I Wore; Almost Maine and The Voysey Inheritance. He has also designed for The Big Apple Circus; Penn & Teller at The Rio in Las Vegas; Rufus Wainwright’s Judy concert; Family Guy Sings; and Jennifer Muller The Works. Jeff has received a Tony Award, Hewes Design Award and Bass Award, and has been nominated for a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel, Ovation, IRNE and Audelco awards. 

Smokey Joe’s Cafe sound design is by Peter Fitzgerald whose recent designs include: John Lithgow’s Stories by Heart, China DollTrip of LoveSylvia, Penn & Teller on Broadway and the acclaimed production of Into the Woods at the Hobby Center in Houston. Mr. Fitzgerald designed the sound for: All the WayOld Jews Telling Jokes, The New York Philharmonic’s productions of Sweeney Todd and Carousel, Will Farrell’s You're Welcome America, Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out, Gypsy; Paul Simon’s The Capeman, The Will Rogers Follies, 42nd Street, La Cage Aux Folles, City of AngelsHello Dolly!, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas to name a few. Noted plays: Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-PlowBlithe SpiritThe Odd CoupleM. Butterfly, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. 

Sonny Paladino returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as Music Supervisor. Mr. Paladino was last in Ogunquit for the 2015 production of Saturday Night Fever. He most recently served as Music Supervisor for the new Broadway musical, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and is the Music Director for the upcoming new Broadway musical, Getting’ the Band Back Together. He was the Associate Conductor for The Last Ship (written by 16-time Grammy Award-winner, Sting), and the Tony Award-winning best revival, Pippin. Mr. Paladino’s other Broadway credits include, Jesus Christ Superstar, Billy Elliot, Grease, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia!, Promises, Promises, The Addams Family, and Women on the Verge.

Over the course of a 61-year partnership, Jerry Leiber (d. 2011) and Mike Stoller created enduring classics in a variety of genres including rhythm and blues, pop, country, jazz, cabaret, and—perhaps most notably—rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis Presley and the Coasters are only two of the many acts whose careers skyrocketed because of Leiber and Stoller’s creative partnership. The original Broadway production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller comprised of 39 Leiber and Stoller songs, was nominated for seven Tony Awards and still holds the record as the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history. Leiber and Stoller’s many honors and awards include Grammy Awards for Lifetime Achievement and for the Smokey Joe’s Cafe original cast album. They have also been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Ogunquit Playhouse season has four additional musicals slated for its stage in 2018: Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma! on stage June 13 to July 7 celebrating its 75th Anniversary since opening on Broadway; the first regional production of the sumptuous new musical An American in Paris hitting the Ogunquit stage July 11 to August 4; and the U.S. premiere of the hilarious new musical Grumpy Old Men the Musical on stage August 8 to September 1 just in time to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the classic 1993 Warner Brothers film starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. Closing out the season is the Regional premiere of the multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation Jersey Boys on stage September 5 to October 28. Elf the Musical will be produced for The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire just in time for the holidays November 28 to December 16, 2018. Tickets for Elf the Musical are available through The Music Hall at www.themusichall.org. For a complete list of show times, pricing and more information about the season visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.

About the Ogunquit Playhouse:
The Ogunquit Playhouse, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization listed on the National Historic Register, is located on Route One in Ogunquit, Maine and produces the finest Broadway musicals each season with performances Tuesday through Sunday, from May through October. Follow the Ogunquit Playhouse on Facebook (facebook.com/OgunquitPlayhouse), Twitter (@OgunquitPH) and Instagram (@ogunquitPH) for behind-the-scenes info, photos and fun throughout the season. For a complete list of show times, pricing and more information about the season visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.

 The cast of Smokey Joe's Cafe with Director/Choreographer Josh Bergasse (front center). Photo by Joseph Moran.

The cast of Smokey Joe's Cafe with Director/Choreographer Josh Bergasse (front center). Photo by Joseph Moran.

 
 John Edwards, Jelani Remy, Dwayne Cooper, and Kyle Taylor Parker  Photo by Julia Russell  Smokey Joe's Cafe 0001.jpg

John Edwards, Jelani Remy, Dwayne Cooper, and Kyle Taylor Parker

Photo by Julia Russell

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 Jelani Remy, Shavey Brown, John Edwards, and Dwayne Cooper  Photo by Joan Marcus  Smokey Joe's Cafe 0047.jpg

Jelani Remy, Shavey Brown, John Edwards, and Dwayne Cooper

Photo by Joan Marcus

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 Emma DegerstedtwithJelani Remy, Shavey Brown, Dwayne Cooper, and Max Sangerman  Photo by Joan Marcus  Smokey Joe's Cafe 0030.jpg

Emma DegerstedtwithJelani Remy, Shavey Brown, Dwayne Cooper, and Max Sangerman

Photo by Joan Marcus

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 Dionne D. Figgins and Dwayne Cooper  Photo by Joan Marcus  Smokey Joe's Cafe 0036.jpg

Dionne D. Figgins and Dwayne Cooper

Photo by Joan Marcus

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 Jelani Remy, Shavey Brown, John Edwards, Dwayne Cooper, and Max Sangerman  Photo by Joan Marcus  Smokey Joe's Cafe 0047.jpg

Jelani Remy, Shavey Brown, John Edwards, Dwayne Cooper, and Max Sangerman

Photo by Joan Marcus

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 Emma Degerstedt, Nicole Vanessa Ortiz, Dionne D. Figgins, and Alysha Umphress  Photo by Joan Marcus  Smokey Joe's Cafe 0047.jpg

Emma Degerstedt, Nicole Vanessa Ortiz, Dionne D. Figgins, and Alysha Umphress

Photo by Joan Marcus

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 Kyle Taylor Parker, Dwayne Cooper, John Edwards, and Jelani Remy  Photo by Gary Ng  Smokey Joe's Cafe 5906.jpg

Kyle Taylor Parker, Dwayne Cooper, John Edwards, and Jelani Remy

Photo by Gary Ng

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