Five Guys Named Moe Review - Let the Good Times Roll

A dazzling potpourri of song and dance will leave you breathless as you follow Nomax’s wake-up call courtesy of the Five Moe’s. With a kaleidoscope of Louis Jordan’s greatest hits – backed by a six-piece orchestra – the FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE keep the audience riveted to their seats with their energetic, finger-snapping, toe-tapping song, dance, and repartee. Meanwhile, audience members can’t help swaying, clapping, and even raising their voices to join right in.  

The Five Moe's - Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

There’s not much of a story to FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE – but, once the music starts, who cares? Heavy-drinking Nomax (Obba Babatunde) has managed to self-implode as he drunkenly staggers across the stage of life. He’s lost everything, especially his girlfriend, the absent Lorraine. Happily, this is a musical – and so it allows miraculous events to just appear. As Nomax bemoans his misery, there’s a radio in the corner playing a Jordan tune called – amazingly – “Five Guys Named Moe.” The impossible happens; and five gents materialize to cheer him up. Their names just happen to be No Moe (Jacques C. Smith), Big Moe (Octavius Womack), Little Moe (Trevon Davis), Four-eyed Moe (Rogelio Douglas, Jr.), and Eat Moe (Eric B. Anthony). Shades of plaid jackets, wing-tipped shoes, and melodies from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. These five Moe’s can out-sing and out-dance anyone around, and their energy and joie-de-vivre quickly begin to work their magic on the morose Nomax. Soon he’s singing and dancing with the best of them – but just maybe he’s learning something about himself too.

Obba Babatunde as Nomax - Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

From a book and hit jazz musical by Clarke Peters, FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE delights from beginning to end. Old favorites like “Caldonia,” “Is You is or is You ain’t my Baby?” and “Push Ka Pi Shie Pie” light up the theater and prove to be an impressive tribute to Louis Jordan, composer of both music and lyrics. Pretty soon, there isn’t a sad face on the stage or off as the ever-moving quintet weaves its way through the audience carrying tunes straight to everyone’s heart.

Obba Babatunde (seated), Jacques C. Smith, Trevon Davis, Octavius Womack, Rogelio Douglas, Jr., and Eric B. Anthony - Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

Musical director Abdul Hamid Royal guides the melodies from his piano bench as the non-stop orchestra keeps the action going. Kudos to director and choreographer Keith Young, who brings the heart and soul of Jordan’s tunes to vivid life. Not to be outdone, the production team does a terrific job of backing up and expanding the show. Edward E. Haynes, Jr.’s scenic design comes to fruition in his creation of the Alabam nightclub – all glitter and twinkle. Naila Aladdin Sanders’ costumes (including some fluffy chickens) fit right in, while Daniel Weingarten’s lighting and John Feinstein’s sound add to the merriment.

Cast of Five Guys Named Moe - Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

By the way, those “five guys” turn out to be likeable, playful, ingratiating characters who exuberantly offer the audience brilliant performances throughout. This is a bouncy, happy production which will keep you smiling. As the song says, “Let the Good Times Roll.”

FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE runs through June 11, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Ebony Repertory Theatre performs at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Tickets range from $30 to $55. For information and reservations, call 323-964-9766 or go online

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