As for revues, Smokey Joe's Café (Virginia Theatre), compiled from the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, has been developed by Jujamcyn's dramaturge in association with their in-house director, Jerry Zaks. "Developed," eh? Leiber and Stoller wrote "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Potion Number Nine," "Charlie Brown": rock 'n' roll rhythms combined with droll, memorable lyrics —a rare marriage in latter-day pop. So how have Jujamcyn "developed" this project? Well, the "concept" is to set it in Smokey Joe's Café, just liked every other compilation show set in a bar or café (cf. the current April in Paris and Swingtime Canteen, as well as Blues in the Night, etc.); they have an amiably fat black woman to sing the more sexually suggestive songs, just like every other compilation has a fat black woman who's sexually suggestive (I'm amazed that there aren't more objections to this patronizing but apparently indestructible stereotype). Zaks has drained the life and character out of these songs: he's taken the precise and made it bland. And just to make sure we don't mistake it for drama, every actor is sporting a switchboard operator's mike and headpiece down his or her left cheek. It's not good musically (the onstage band is lousy) or dramatically: dead rock, no roles.
from The New Criterion, May 1995