'Smokey Joe’s Café'

Many of the faces in Halifax County Little Theatre’s return of “Smokey Joe’s Café” are back, along with a few new faces including (kneeling) Minjune Kim and Kirk Compton; (sitting) Dawn Bushley, Tasha Dyer, Caleb Flowers, Michelle Duffer Crenshaw and Victoria Majors; (standing) Jessica Camp Snead, Lionel Best, Jessica Rose Hayes, Kassie Dyer, Daniel Lloyd, Sharron Garrett, Ike Penick, LeVar Medley, Sharonda Claiborne, Mario Sadler and Whitney Davis. The show opens Thursday, April 25, at The Prizery.

What does Halifax County Little Theatre do when everyone keeps saying, “Bring it back!” Well, they brought it back! “Smokey Joe’s Café” is comin’ back! The live band, the singers, the dancers and the great music of Leiber and Stoller are rockin’ and rollin’ again April 25 to May 5.

Directors Victoria and Bob Thomasson have surrounded themselves with many of the same singers and dancers from 2008, when they broke all box office records at The Prizery. They’ve added a few new local talents and band members and are hot in rehearsals for opening night.

Leiber and Stoller, while not household names locally, are responsible for numerous hit songs in the 50s and 60s – the songs of Elvis, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Searchers, Jerry Lee Lewis and many more. They were “the team.”

The songs and dances of these generations have withstood the test of time, and new audiences will fall in love with the music, just like their parents and grandparents did.

Eleven years ago, the shows were sold out well in advance, so get your group together and buy those tickets now.

Assisting the Thomassons in their endeavors are band members Ray Crawley, Kennedy Dyer, Sammy Garcia, Watt Meadows, Jane Sibley, John Sibley, Tony Thomas and Bob Thomasson himself. Most of these musicians were in the original show, and their experience and talents are assisting the younger new ones in capturing the musical vibes so important to the show.

The show is all about the vocals, though, assisted by the dances of the decades, and the Thomassons have assembled some of the original cast and added some bright new talents.

Choreography icon Pat Crew, along with Tricia Walker and Michelle Duffer Crenshaw, are busy plotting and planning every move, every shoulder twist and head turn, and every hand gesture to perfect the looks of the decades.

Featured as the singers and dancers in the show are Lionel Best, Dawn Bushley, Sharonda Claiborne, Kirk Compton, Michelle Duffer Crenshaw, Whitney Davis, Christian Dixon, Kassie Dyer, Tasha Dyer, Caleb Flowers, Sharron Garrett, Jessica Rose Hayes, Minjune Kim, Daniel Lloyd, Victoria Majors, LeVar Medley, Ike Penick, Mario Sadler and Jessica Camp Snead.

The music will roll again starting at 7:30 on Thursday night, April 25, to warm everyone up to a hot weekend, and the show will continue Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 3. Then, the show continues Tuesday, April 30, and that Thursday and Friday nights. Then, there will be a special Saturday afternoon matinee at 2, followed by the show that night at 7:30 and a final Sunday afternoon at 3.

That’s a lot of music in a short amount of time, but this way everyone can find one or two times that suit their schedules, because “Smokey Joe’s Café” is a show that people want to see more than once.

Tickets are currently on sale at The Prizery at 434-572-8339 or prizery.com. Tickets are also on sale for all Prizery events at the Visitor Center.

For all evening performances, Little Theatre will be hosting a Smokey Joe’s Cocktail Hour the hour before the evening performances, including a special signature drink, with all profits going to support the purchase of a special modern imagery projector The Prizery needs for their summer shows.