The director Brook Hall (right)
'Smokey Joe's Cafe' brings a Broadway legend to Taiwan
By Scott Moses
Translated by Ann Lee
The legendary musical, "Smokey Joe's Cafe", was one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, closing on January 16, 2000 after an astounding 2,036 performances. Fortunately for Taiwan residents, this does not mark the last opportunity to enjoy this production, as it has been revived by New York director and seasoned actor Brook Hall.
The musical contains many different music styles, including rock, R&B and even some swing dancing. Each song contains a message about previous and, arguably, current struggles of American citizens. I am blown away by the song, "Woman", which speaks about how women can pride themselves in their ability do their jobs as well anyone else and maintain their beautiful looks at the same time. This was clearly true of the actresses, who are not only very beautiful but do an excellent job of dazzling with their fantastic vocal abilities. In particular, Mandy Gaines' beautiful voice thunders across the room like nothing I've ever heard before.
Gaines is an acclaimed jazz vocalist who has been involved in the music business for as long as she can remember. The American singer has performed around the world in places like France, Belgium, Thailand and China, in a list that seems to go on forever, and she apparently got her first big break in Asia when working on a project sponsored by Coca-Cola. Gaines is extremely talented and it would be a tragedy not to take this chance to see her perform.
Typically, this show does not have a storyline, but its director could not resist adding some extra spice to the performance, throwing in elements of surprise and romance in hopes of making it more exciting for Taiwanese audiences. For foreign viewers, it should be a relief to enjoy an American musical without worrying about Chinese subtitles. I'm personally really looking forward to this performance as it is one of the few things that reminds me of being back in my hometown, New York. This production certainly promises to be a great and memorable event that you won't want to miss.
The show will take place at National Taiwan Arts Education Center (47, NanHai Rd) from January 16 to 18, 2009. Ticket prices range from NT$500 to NT$900 and there is a 15% discount if you buy 5 or more. For further details, call the English booking hotline at (02) 2742-3595 or the arts center (02) 3393-9888.