Monday, October 29, 2018

See the last performances of Smokey Joe’s Café this week and enjoy a great meal Off-Broadway



It’s your last chance to catch the joyous off-Broadway revival of Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller, the all-new incarnation of the record-breaking Broadway hit. The revue, which was originally produced on Broadway in 1995 and was the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, closes Sunday, November 4. Stage 42, 422 West 42nd Street.

You know the bluesy rock ‘n roll songs and ballads, and I defy you not to tap your feet as the nine-member ensemble led by director choreographer Joshua Bergasse sing more than 30 classic songs like “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," "Jalihouse Rock" and "Spanish Harlem."

Credit: Gary Ng

The show’s stars bring a mix of Broadway and Off-Broadway musical expertise to Smokey Joe’s Café.  Dwayne Cooper (Motown, Hairspray), Emma Degerstedt (Desperate Measures Off-Broadway), John Edwards (Jersey Boys), Dionne D. Figgins (Hot Feet, Memphis), Nicole Vanessa Ortiz (Spamilton Off-Broadway), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Jelani Remy (Disney’s The Lion King), Max Sangerman (Blue Man Group Off-Broadway), and Alysha Umphress (On The Town, American Idiot) stand out with their renditions of the classic Leiber & Stoller tunes. Music fans will also recognize the duo as the writers of songs for such legends as Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, The Coasters and The Drifters.

Smokey Joe’s Café has a playlist that keeps the audience rocking, with a wide range of tunes from joyous anthems (“Saved”) to comedic romps (“Charlie Brown”) to songs of yearning (“I Who Have Nothing”). The storytelling and community-building aspects of the songs celebrate the humor, passion, and heartbreak that infuse everyday lives. Bringing to life moments of friendship and unity, the revue is just what we need to bring our very-divided country together. The songs’ messages and emotions resonate today, perhaps with more power than ever.

Credit: Joan Marcus

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, wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, original vocal arrangements by Chapman Roberts, additional original vocal arrangements by Louis St. Louis, music direction by Matt Oestreicher and orchestrations by Sonny Paladino and Steve Margoshes. Music Supervision and new arrangements are also by Mr. Paladino. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting. The show was co-conceived by Stephen Helper and Jack Viertel. It is produced by Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel and Tom Viertel, who also produced the show’s original Broadway engagement.

If You’re Hungry

For dinner, my perennial favorite is the quirky and always-amusing Chez Josephine, 414 West 42nd St. The style is early bordello, adorned with photos of Josephine Baker, the original owner’s mother. Food choices are classic French, and if you arrive at the right time, you’ll also enjoy live music entertainment that fits perfectly with the somewhat bawdy-elegant space. And it’s only a minute’s walk from the theater.

Chez Josephine

Marseille, a little further off at 630 9th Avenue, is quintessential French Mediterranean with a menu filled with mussels, bouillabaisse, and plenty of bistro ambiance and attitude. It’s always packed, so booked early. If you can’t get a table, ask to be seated at the bar.

For a proverbial quick bite to either tide you over before the show or offer a quick snack after, pretty much any of the ethnic restaurants on Ninth Avenue will do the trick. Two to take note of are Sticky’s Finger Joint, offering surprising healthy chicken fingers, at 598 9th Avenue.  Or, if something Asian is your preference, nightclub-y Obao at 647 9th Avenue, serves us reasonably priced pan-Asian selections with heavy emphasis on Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Enjoy Free Cider, Hard Cider and a Cider Pairing Dinner as Part of New York City Cider Week, November 5-11


It’s that time of the year when the leaves are changing, apple picking becomes your go-to weekend activity, and cider donuts are all the rage.  In true form, New York City gives the apple event a spirited kick!


New York City Cider Week returns for the eighth time from November 5 through 11, showcasing New York State’s booming hard cider industry, which late last year saw the opening of Brooklyn Cider House NYC's first cidery bar and restaurant under one roof.

Cider Week kicks off even before the actual week on Friday November 2 at The Bad Seed Brooklyn Taproom. Highlights of this year’s festival, spanning neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, include The Lower East Cider Fest, a one-night-only takeover of the Essex Street Market, the city’s most historic public market and perfect setting to show off cider's ability to elevate every culinary experience, on Thursday November 8.  Another high-profile event is Adventures in Heritage Cider: Unexpected Tastings with Cider in Love, focusing on the craftsmanship and quality of ciders made primarily from heirloom, wild, or cider-specific bittersweet and bittersharp apples, on Tuesday, November 6.

This year, Brooklyn Cider House has partnered with Cider Week to host two official closing events on November 11. If you haven’t tried their raw cider, half sour cider, dry cider or kinda dry cider, this is a chance to enjoy them all, and admission is free.

The day begins with the Bushwick Cider Festival and Market 11 am – 4 pm.  Brooklyn Cider House's 12,000-square-foot venue will transform into a cider and food market where you'll enjoy free cider tastings from a dozen different producers. there will also be delicious snacks to feast on from local food purveyors with craft cider available for purchase directly from many of the best producers in the state. Additionally, you can tour Brooklyn Cider House's cidery and barrel room and sample (if you dare) some raw cider from 80-year-old chestnut barrels.  Try one of their mixable cider drinks, too, like the Ciderosa, a libation of fresh squeezed orange juice with bone dry cider.


The true finale to New York City Cider Week happens at  6pm on November 11, when Brooklyn Cider House hosts Meet the Makers – a five-course cider pairing dinner featuring an exciting array of hard ciders including Eve's Cidery, Descendant Cider, Blackduck, Treasury Cider and Brooklyn Cider House, served to you by the producers themselves along with Executive Chef and Cider Maker Peter Yi. Tickets are $125 and can be bought in advance online. Seating is limited.

Participating cider makers throughout the week include Participating cider makers include: Angry Orchard (Walden), Bad Seed Cider (Highlands), Big Apple Hard Cider (New York City,) Black Diamond Cider (Trumansburg), Brooklyn Cider House (New Paltz), Descendant Cider (New York City), Diner Brew Co. (Mount Vernon), Doc's Draft Hard Cider (Warwick), East Hollow Cider (Petersburgh), Embark Craft Cider (Williamson), Eve’s Cidery (Van Etten), Graft Cider (Newburgh), Hardscrabble Cider (North Salem), Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider (Staatsburg) Kings Highway Fine Cider (Millerton), Kite & String Cider (Interlaken,) Metal House Cider (Esopus), Naked Flock (Warwick,) New York Cider Company (Ithaca), Nine Pin Cider (Albany), Orchard Hill Cider Mill (New Hampton), Original Sin Cider (New York City), Pennings Farm Cidery (Warwick), Rootstock Ciderworks (Williamson), Scrumpy Ewe Cider (Charlotteville), Slyboro Cider (Granville,) South Hill Cider (Ithaca), Steampunk Cider (Medina,) Treasury Cider (Hopewell Junction), Wayside Cider (Delhi), and Wölffer Estate Vineyard (Sagaponack).


ShareThis