There was an artist who was an innovator who kept laughing to keep from crying. His flair and panache demonstrated the harmonic rhythmic and lyrical conventions of jazz and blues music so that it could evolve on either side of the color line as Rock and Roll or Rhythm and Blues. His name was Louis Jordan, the pioneer, the great bandleader, saxophonist and songwriter whose style of sensibility, wit, and avant-garde in texture captured our hearts because he played for “The People.”
The musical “Five Guys Named Moe” let the “good times roll” by paying tribute to this legendary great by introducing us to Nomax (Stephen “Blu’ Allen), a newly single, broke, young man who is drinking his blues away.
What’s a young man to do when he has a bad case of the blues? Mourning the death of a relationship gone badly, there’s only one thing you can do–get drunk and sing your sorrows away while listening to the hit songs by Louis Jordan on your radio in the wee hours of the morning.
However, drowning his sorrows in alcohol and jazz music came to a screeching halt for Nomax when the melodious intervention of Five Guys Named Moe emerged directly out of the radio dressed in snazzy, dapper suits.
Big Moe (Lorenzo Rush), Little Moe (Darrian Ford), Eat Moe (James Earl Jones II), No Moe (Eric A. Lewis), and Four-Eyed Moe (Kelvin Roston Jr.) appeared to help Nomax get his life back on track and sing and dance his way back to love!
It took 25 numbers to get Nomax back on the right path –including “Beware, Brother, Beware,” “Safe, Sane and Single” and “What’s the Use of Getting Sober” (hmmm, songs that actually, promote the character’s behaviors and commitment phobias).
Nonetheless, the five velvet-smooth Moes had good intentions when they claimed they wanted to reform Nomax of his wrongful ways. In addition to their singing The Five Moes continued to amuse us with their superb choreography in a range of various exuberant performances, and their commitment to our amusement carried over when they put on fluffy yellow costumes for “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens,” and the “Push Ka Shi Pie” (the song that involved the entire audience in song and dance).
The band was extraordinary and brought Louis Jordan’s music back to life by celebrating and reintroducing his musical slant on Jazz during the 1930s-1950s with catchy, playful, clever and foot-tapping songs that were filled with an understanding of warm affection for people and our foibles.
Director Ron OJ Parson delivered by paying tribute to Jordan by telling his story and keeping his spirit alive through his music. He engaged the audience throughout the performance to partake in singing and dancing with the phenomenal cast. For a production that was meant to be staged at a larger venue, Parson made sure that the entire audience enjoyed themselves and had fun in an intimate setting at Court Theatre.
We highly recommend the musical “Five Guys Named Moe;” it was an unbeatable treat of fun and laughter that came with a high voltage of energy.
The Cast Includes:
Stephen “Blu’ Allen (Nomax)
Darrian Ford (Little Moe)
James Earl Jones II (Eat Moe)
Eric A. Lewis (No Moe)
Kelvin Roston Jr. (Four Eyed Moe)
Lorenzo Rush, Jr. (Big Moe)