Broadway classic Smokey Joe’s Cafe blended with Taiwanese flavors will make its debut in Taipei in the middle of next month, staged by a veteran American director employing Taiwanese performers.
Director Brook Hall, who has participated on more than 20 celebrated Broadway shows, said he hopes to “introduce a new style of musical theater” that local audiences have not seen before in other plays such as Chicago, The Lion King or Cats.
Apart from diverse music styles, that include the blues, R&B, rock ’n’ roll and even gospel, Hall said that he has added new roles, some romantic twists as well as a new story line to the revue.
Ideas have been adopted from a dozen other shows and revolve around the concept of “searching.”
Hall named the song Kansas City as a good example, saying it was “about going to another place and finding your dreams.”
Another piece, ’Cause I am a Woman, written in the 1960s at a time when women were identifying their potential besides being housewives, demonstrates women’s will to achieve the same accomplishments as men, while still remaining beautiful, he said.
Meanwhile, Hall said that from the choreography to the cast, he has also put some Taiwanese characteristics into his new work.
He described the 13 Taiwanese performers as “very talented,” stressing that they were “just as good as many people I have seen working in New York.”
The whole show will be in English, he said.
Chien Chao-lun, who will be playing the character Victor in the show, said that it would be the first time some of the dance steps have been seen in Taiwan.
Chien said that every song has a particular meaning that corresponds with the theme of the act.
The show will be held at the National Taiwan Arts Education Center from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18 and Chinese subtitles will be provided.
Smokey Joe’s Cafe, which was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won a Grammy Award in 1995, is the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history.
It showcases rock ’n’ roll and R&B songs such as Stand by Me, Jailhouse Rock, Love Potion No. 9 and many more.