This past weekend, BHS Drama Society presented the musical “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”. This musical, while lesser-known, is a Tony award winning musical featuring the music of Lieber and Stoller. The music included well known songs like “On Broadway”, “Stand by Me”, “Jailhouse Rock” “Fools Fall in Love”. Many of Lieber & Stoller’s tunes were made famous by performs like Elvis & The Drifters.
Our version of Smokey Joe’s featured a cast of 27 students in grades 6 through 12. The show was cast to feature as many of our strong, talented singers as possible. During auditions in December, we met many new students who were auditioning for BHS Drama for the first time- and we were overwhelmed with the amount of talent the kids in this school system possess. It was an absolute pleasure to watch each member of the Smokey Joe’s cast shine in the spotlight during their solo features in the show.
In a school district the size of Bayonne, the competition is fierce during audition season for our musicals. The talent is outstanding, but most musicals can only true feature a handful of performers in principle roles. While these musicals are a blast to do, and ensemble members in such musical truly make or break the level of performance, Smokey Joe’s Cafe gave our kids the chance to really shine as solo singers, actors and dancers.
I can only hope the experience the students had was as positive as the experience that I had! As the kid’s vocal director, I typically get to watch each performance. For this show, however, I played the piano score- but had a great time playing on stage and participating in the show along with the kids and the rest of our rockin’ band.
Many thanks to Mr. Puchinksy for coming on board to conduct this show, and to the following Bayonne Art & Music Department Staff members who worked on this show:
Mr. Wolfer- Scenic Design (amazing, as always)
Mr. Good- Sound Design
Mr. Downes- Guitar
Mr. Fumento- Drums
And thanks, of course, to the rest of our rockstar staff:
Lori Alexander- Choreographer
Brittany Baran- Student Choreographer
Anthony Duffy- Costume Design & Master of All Trades
Brendan Wahlers- Lighting Tech, Acting Coach, All-around great guy
Alex Calianese- Set Construction
Steve Quinn- Light Design
And our amazing parent & teacher volunteers!
Kenny & Debbie Baran
Dennis & Tara Degnan
Most importantly, thank you to the cast for an incredible performance & an amazing experience for all!