SummerTide Theatre presents “Smokey Joe’s Café”

Adam Greene

When the academic year is done and the curtain closes on the semester’s last performance in Galloway or Allen Bales theatre, most of the University’s student actors go home. Some, though, who auditioned and were cast before the school year ended, are preparing to begin rehearsals for the UA SummerTide Theatre, the professional summer theatre program of the University of Alabama.

This year, the SummerTide theatre group will perform “Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller.” Performed in revue-style and featuring popular songs such as “There Goes My Baby,” “Love Potion #9,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Yakety Yak,” the performance incorporates the hit music of the 1940s and 1950s.

SummerTide Theatre business manager Christopher Montpetit said he enjoys every one of the show’s songs.

“The entire production is a collection of songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller,” Montpetit said. “Many people don’t recognize their names, but everyone knows their songs. From ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and ‘Poison Ivy’ to ‘I’m a Woman’ and ‘Stand By Me,’ it’s a great night of classic songs.”

The production is set during the 1950s and features the classic themes of love lost and love won mixed with nostalgia and emotions. The musical first ran in Los Angeles in 1994 and has been performed since by various theatre companies.

Montpetit said SummerTide Theatre chose Smokey “Joe’s Café” because it was family-friendly oriented.

“We wanted to find a family-friendly musical, with a lot of singing and dancing, preferably with a small cast,” Montpetit said. “Smokey Joe’s Cafe was a perfect fit for this year. It has eight cast members total and is a popular jukebox musical.”

This year’s performance is directed by Edmond Williams, professor of theatre and founding chairman of UA’s Department of Theatre and Dance. Cast members include Alyssa Grubbs, Allie Jones, Drey Mitchell, Renee Reinicke, Corey Rives, Caroline Schmidt, Will Travis and Adam Vanek.

Montpetit said SummerTide Theatre, which debuted in 2004, runs through June of each summer.

“We always try to do it between the two summer holidays, Memorial Day and July 4, to get the most exposure,” Montpetit said. “We rehearse in our Tuscaloosa theater on campus during the month of May and then we travel down to Gulf Shores, Alabama where we perform the production in the George C. Meyer Performing Arts Center.”

The show will be performed from June 1-29, Tuesdays through Sundays at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for children under 10, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased at, by phone at 251-968-6721, or in person at the box office Tuesday through Sunday. The Performing Arts Center is located at 2022 West 2nd Street in Gulf Shores, Ala.