Mamaroneck venues — one old, one new — join forces
(The cast of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” at the Emelin Theater includes, standing from left: Steven C. Rich, Brandon Lavon Hightower and Steven Charles, holding Derrian Tolden. Photo by Dan Ferrante.)
If someone says “Yakety Yak” and you blurt out “don’t talk back,” you know the work of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Their partnership gave the baby boom a soundtrack, including “Love Potion Number 9,” “Stand By Me,” and the Elvis hits “Loving You,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog.”
The next two weekends — June 29 through July 8 — Mamaroneck’s Westchester Sandbox and Emelin theaters join forces to produce the Leiber and Stoller musical “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” one of the earliest — and, by rights, most-aptly classified — “jukebox musicals.”
The move unites the host 275-seat Emelin — which has a 100-performance calendar of film, children’s and musical programs, but doesn’t produce its own theatrical events — and the 74-seat Sandbox, which this spring was home to two New York regional premieres: Its own “Next to Normal” and Little Radical Theatrics’ “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
The 40-year-old Emelin has the space, the 4-year-old Sandbox has the show.
The cast of nine New York-based actor-singer-dancers is directed by Kenneth M. Green, who was involved with the musical’s national tour, which starred Gladys Knight.
“Smokey Joe’s” — which runs six performances over the next two weekends — is a departure for the Emelin, which has been presenting, not producing, shows that run one weekend.
It’s a change in scale for the Sandbox, which has the potential to nearly quadruple its audience at each performance and expose new theatergoers to its work.
Lisa Reilly, the Emelin’s executive director, calls the partnership a “win-win.” She says she was impressed by what the Sandbox’s executive director, Dan Ferrante, and artistic director, Jason Summers, were able to do in their tiny storefront theater on East Boston Post Road.
“They’re doing a fantastic job and Jason and Dan clearly not only have their hearts in the right place, but also have a real aesthetic and a real sense of what they’re trying to achieve artistically,” Reilly says.
Ferrante says success of the partnership will be judged by how many people see “Smokey Joe’s,” but also by how many people will travel the seven-tenths of a mile down Boston Post Road to see shows at the Sandbox.
“Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck. 8 p.m. June 29-30, July 6-7; 3 p.m. July 1, 8. $28. 914-698-0098. www.emelin.org.