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Talkin' Broadway V.J.

Broadway Television Network

When it was first announced that Broadway shows would be available via pay-per-view on cable television channels I looked at it with suspicion. I had thought that it might appear as wooden or just not like being there. I really didn't know how the experience would be.

Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller is Broadway Television Network's (BTN) premiere presentation of the final performance of the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history. They gathered together the original cast and taped the performance at the Virginia Theatre, and on Sunday, September 10 at 9 PM (EST) you'll be able to tune in for $24.95. The question is, is it worth it?

The revue features 40 classic rock n' roll hits of the 50's and 60's. Some of the songs are "Fools Fall in Love," "Hound Dog," "I'm a Woman," "Jailhouse Rock," "Poison Ivy," "Stand by Me," "Treat Me Nice," "Yakety Yak," and many others which are all familiar with the baby-boomer generation.

BTN promised a high quality show, and they certainly didn't skimp on expenses. Not only did they employ 15 cameras strategically positioned around the theatre, the sound was recorded in Surround Sound. For those with high-definition television sets, the picture quality will be unsurpassed. (I watched on a regular set and found the quality to be just fine.) From the moment the show begins, when a camera sweeps down from the balcony, you'll be magically transported to Broadway with the best seat in the house.

After watching the energetic cast for 15 minutes I was absorbed into the whole experience and forgot I was in my living room. The superb camera work and sound attributed to that you are there feeling. And what a cast! Ken Ard, Adrian Bailey, Matt Bogart, Brenda Braxton, Victor Trent Cook, B.J. Crosby, DeLee Lively, Deb Lyons, and Frederic B. Owens make up the company and each gets their moment in the spotlight.

If Smokey Joe's Cafe is any indication of the 11 more shows to come in the next 5 years, then Broadway Television Network should stand up and take a bow. They've put together an experience I think you'll enjoy. If $24.95 is more than you're willing to spend, why not invite a few friends over for a Broadway party and split the cost.

Prior to the airing there will be a pre-show, On The Aisle at Smokey Joe's Cafe broadcast live from Times Square at 8:30 PM (EST). Check with your local cable provider for which channel you can see the "free" pre-show, or sign up for the pay-per-view.

While there is nothing quite like seeing a live Broadway show, to answer my earlier question, is it worth it to see one on television at $24.95? I think so. A lot of care went into the making of Smokey Joe's Cafe and it shows.

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