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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: May 14, 2018

Ogunquit Playhouse opens with ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’

Written by: Bob Keyes

The cast of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”
Photo by Joseph Moran/Courtesy of Ogunquit Playhouse

It wasn’t the first, but “Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller” may well be the most famous of the jukebox musicals. With more than three dozen rock, R&B and pop songs, the musical revue features the hits of the songwriter duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote many of the most popular songs of the 1950s and ’60s. The musical opens the season at the Ogunquit Playhouse, with performances through June 9. The production is directed and choreographed by Emmy Award winner and Tony nominee Josh Bergasse. Among others, songs include “Stand by Me,” “I’m a Woman,” “Hound Dog,” “Fools Fall In Love,” “Yakety Yak,” “Love Potion #9,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Spanish Harlem.”

The show opened on Broadway in 1995 and became the longest-running revue in Broadway history, with more than 2,000 performances. There’s no theme to the show or any dialogue. It stars Broadway and off-Broadway veterans including Dwayne Cooper, who appeared on Broadway in “Motown” and “Hairspray” and several national tours; Emma Degerstedt, who appeared as the lead in the off-Broadway musical “Desperate Measures”; John Edwards, whose credits include the Broadway production and National Tour of “Jersey Boys”; and Dionne D. Figgins, who began her career as a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem and appeared in “Hot Feet,” “Memphis,” “Leap of Faith” and “Motown.”

The Ogunquit Playhouse has four other musicals lined up for the season: “Oklahoma!” from June 13 to July 7; “An American in Paris” from July 11 to Aug. 4; “Grumpy Old Men: The Musical,” Aug. 8 to Sept. 1; and “Jersey Boys,” Sept. 5 to Oct. 28.

In related news, the playhouse recently received two Independent Reviewers of New England Awards for its production of “Ragtime” last season.

“Smokey Joe’s Cafe”

WHERE: Ogunquit Playhouse, 10 Main St. (Route 1)
WHEN: May 16 to June 9
HOW MUCH: $52 to $103
INFO: 646-5511,

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