ACT of Connecticut Kicks Off 2021-2022 Season Next Thursday with Smokey Joe's Cafe

ACT of Connecticut will welcome audiences back for their 2021-2022 Season with the record-breaking Broadway smash-hit musical revue, Smokey Joe’s Cafe - The Songs of Leiber and Stoller.

Directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran, Stephanie Pope Lofgren (Pippin, Chicago), the electrifying musical celebration of 1950’s Rock n’ Roll will begin performances on Thursday, September 30, 2021 and continue on through Sunday, October 24, 2021 at ACT of CT (36 Old Quarry Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877). Tickets are now available. 

ACT of CT’s Artistic Director, Daniel C. Levine says, "We are incredibly excited to welcome audiences back to ACT of CT for the start of our fourth season! SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE is the perfect ‘welcome back’ show and this cast is stunning; some of the best vocalists ever to perform at our theater. I guarantee that patrons will be all smiles while watching our dynamic production and will be singing these unforgettable and iconic songs long after exiting the theater!”

One of Broadway’s longest-running hits, Smokey Joe’s Cafe is a celebration of the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who virtually invented Rock ’n’ Roll. This high-energy and fast-paced show features nearly 40 of the greatest songs ever recorded including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand By Me,” “Yakety Yak,” “Hound Dog,” “On Broadway,” “Spanish Harlem,” and many more. Smokey Joe’s Cafe is not only a fun-filled night of 1950’s Rock n’ Roll, it's electrifying musical theatre that will leave you flying high!

Broadway veteran Stephanie Pope Lofgren makes her ACT of CT debut as the production’s director and choreographer. An original cast member of the musical’s West End production, Lofgren has more than ten Broadway credits to her name, including Pippin, Chicago, Fosse, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. She was hand-picked by Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon to appear in the first revival of Sweet Charity and Fosse’s Big Deal, and has shared the stage with such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Debbie Allen, Ben Vereen, Gregory Hines, and Phyllicia Rashad.

The cast of Smokey Joe’s Cafe will include Albert Guerzon, Arnold Harper II, Avionce Hoyles, Jordan Fife Hunt, Keyonna Knight, Courtney Long, Kelly MacMillan, and Juson Williams, along with Reggie Bromell and Val Moranto.

The design team for Smokey Joe’s Cafe includes scenic design and lighting by Jack Mehler, costume designs by Claudia Stefany, and sound design by John Salutz. John Bronson serves as musical director and Albert Guerzon is the associate choreographer. 

Performances of Smokey Joe’s Cafe run September 30 - October 24, with preview performances on September 30th and October 1st. Performance times are Thursdays at 7 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM with additional performances on Sunday, October 17 at 7 PM and Thursday, October 21 at 2 PM. Tickets range from $60-74 and are available for purchase by visiting actofct.org or by calling (475) 215-5497. 

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) professional Equity theatre located in Ridgefield, CT. Founded in 2018 by Katie Diamond, Daniel C. Levine, and Bryan Perri, ACT of CT presents limited engagement runs of well-known musicals, as well as world-premiere productions by the next generation of writers and composers. In addition to fully produced mainstage productions, ACT of CT’s programming also includes a New Works Series, a Broadway Unplugged Series, and an extensive theater education program. With its 182 seats and turntable stage, the theater offers an intimate, unique, and immersive theatrical experience for its patrons. Given the proximity to New York City, ACT of CT has access to top theatre talent and professionals and, in just three seasons, has become one of the most well-known and highly respected regional theatres in our area. ACT of CT is dedicated to inspiring, creating and nurturing a culturally diverse and equitable environment for its staff, creative teams, cast, musicians, crew members and audiences.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe - The Songs of Leiber and Stoller is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

For more information about ACT of CT, ticket and annual subscription sales, fall education programs, sponsor/donor opportunities, and other theater-related news and announcements, visit actofct.org.


The Cast

ALBERT GUERZON’s Broadway credits include Mamma Mia!, Ghost, Honeymoon In Vegas, and Escape to Margaritaville. National Tours include Mamma Mia! and Margaritaville.  Other favorite credits incllude The Wiz (La Jolla Playhouse), Yoshimi battles… (LJP), the world premiere of Twyla Tharp and Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Old Globe), Miss Saigon, and more recently, On This Side Of The World. 

ARNOLD HARPER II a proud Baltimore native, is thrilled to be back on stage, making his ACT debut with such an amazing cast. Fav credits: Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II / Ronnette), Kinky Boots (Simon Sr), and Five Guys Named Moe (Eat Moe).

AVIONCE HOYLES is a Rock Hill SC, native and a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy NY. Previous credits include; (Film/Tv) “FBI:Most Wanted,” “Orange is the New Black,” “60th Annual Grammy Awards,” (Theatre NY/Tour) Bat Out of Hell, Memphis the Musical, Songs for a New World, Rent, Sister Act, Rent, (Recordings) “Imagining Marvin,” “Songs of the Lion King,” and “Where the Sky Ends.”

JORDAN FIFE HUNT is so excited to be returning to ACT of CT after appearing in Evita in 2018. Off-Broadway: Emojiland (Original Cast; Original Cast Recording), Fiorello! Where’s Charley? (City Center Encores!). National tour: A Chorus Line (1st national revival). International: Sousatzka (Mirvish Theatre, Toronto). Regional: Hair (Waterfront Playhouse), Loch Ness (The Rev), The Wiz (Broadway Sacramento), West Side Story (Guthrie Theater), A Chorus Line (TUTS, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Riverside Theatre). TV: “Search Party” (HBO Max), “New Year’s Eve: From Lincoln Center” (PBS), “The A-List” (LOGO), “Todrick” (MTV). Film: SC7NARIO (Incline Productions). Training: The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Mike Ruckles Voice Studio.

KEYONNA KNIGHT was recently seen as the lead in the Off-Broadway revival of No Strings as well as performing in the acting company at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

COURTNEY LONG is making her debut in the ACT of Connecticut’s Production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Courtney is a recent graduate of Ithaca College with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Her most recent credits include Gyneciain Head Over Heels, Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act at Ithaca College, and Ronnette in Little Shop Of Horrors at Bools Flower Shop (Ithaca, NY. The First Site-Specific Production)

KELLY MACMILLAN Is thrilled to be making her ACT of CT debut in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Kelly recently made her television debut as a principal dancer on Apple TV’s “ROAR” (chor. Marguerite Derricks). Other credits include Footloose (The Muny) and Holland America Line/RWS. 

JUSON WILLIAMS a four-time Audelco Award-winner. Owner and operator of JW’s Inspirational Singers of NYC, who was featured in this season’s “America's Got Talent” on NBC. The National Tour of Smokey Joe’s Cafe catapulted his career and starred Gladys Knight. Some New York Credits include, The Color Purple, The Wiz, The Scottsboro Boys, Raisin, and Stormy Weather. Other regional credits include: The Music Man, Ain’t Misbehavin, Memphis, and It Ain’t Nothin But The Blues. Juson has appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and “The John Oliver Show.” In November, he will continue his journey in the Broadway-aimed biopic musical A Wonderful World, starring as the iconic Louis Armstrong. 

REGGIE BROMELL attended AMDA where he received his training in musical theater. Past credits include Memphis, Pippin and Dream Girls national / international tours. Notable regional credits include: Sister Act, In The Heights, The Bodyguard, Little Shop of Horrors, and Austen’s Pride.

VAL MORANTO is thrilled to be making her ACT of CT debut with Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Val’s theatrical highlights include the Broadway international tour of The Who’s Tommy, Mary Poppins at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Les Miserables at both the Ogunquit Playhouse & Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Fiddler on the Roof at both the Ogunquit Playhouse & Fulton Theatre & Priscilla: Queen of the Desert at the Shubert Theatre in Boston. Look for Val in “Love at the Steeplechase” now playing on the Hallmark Channel, on the upcoming Season 4 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and in Steven Spielberg’s Holiday release of West Side Story!