The Mamaroneck connection with Smokey Joe was made last year when Marty and John Farris chanced to meet the executive director of Inside Broadway, Michael Presser. When the couple learned that Smokey Joe’s Café was the show for 2009, they got very excited, since they had seen and enjoyed the play on Broadway. “We thought it would be a wonderful experience for the students at Mamaroneck High School, especially since it depicts the music from the 1960s,” said Mr. Farris. “We explained this to David and Kate Kies, whose son is at the high school, and they immediately joined us in sponsoring the play.”
Smokey Joe’s Café, performed by a professional cast, introduced the MHS crowd to such classics as “On Broadway,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand By Me.” A Broadway “smash” of 1995, the show features the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the duo who created many of the greatest hits for Elvis Presley (“Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock”) and groups like the Coasters (“Yakety Yak”) and the Drifters (“There Goes My Baby”). The show originally ran for 2,036 performances, making it the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards and its original cast recording won a Grammy.
“The whole thing was wonderfully received,” said Mr. Farris, who along with the other sponsors sat through both performances at the high school. “The students and the faculty clapped all the way through the production.”