Tuesday December 12th 2017

“Five Guys Named Moe” reviewed by Michael Horn

The Court Theatre opens its 63rd season with “Five Guys named Moe”; a lively musical tribute to the hit songs of saxphonist Louis Jordan. Directed by Ron OJ Parson and Felicia P. Fields, this a fun filled and energetic production that will keep you smiling.

 

Louis Jordan was one of the most popular and successful bandleaders of his day, but In the late ’30s and early ’40s, he turned away from the big band sound and developed a loose, hard-driving sound that came to be known as “jump music.” This music paved the way for the rhythm and blues and rock & roll music that emerged in the 1950’s.  Chuck Berry, James Brown and Ray Charles, among so many others, were inspired by Jordan’s music.

 

But, this is the story of Nomax, played by Stephen ‘Blu’ Allen, a young man who has wronged and lost his lady and wants to win her back.  He is despondent and begins drinking heavily as he listens to a late night radio show featuring the music of Louis Jordan.  Suddenly, from his console radio, emerges “Moe”, in fact Five Moes; Big Moe, No Moe, Little Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, and Eat Moe! Played by the very accomplished cast of Lorenzo Rush Jr., Eric A. Lewis, Darrian Ford, Kelvin Roston Jr., and James Earl Jones II, the Five Moes embark on a mission to hold him accountable for his actions and teach him the ways to win back his love.

 

The set by Courtney O’Neill was fabulous! Beyond the Moes pouring out of the radio, O’Neill has also cleverly designed the raised back set as a giant old fashioned console radio replete with tubes, condensors, and wires, and this is where the very talented band, led by Abdul Hamid Royal resides. At the very back of the stage we can see the reverse design of the radio’s front, very slick!  The band is truly outstanding and provides the sound and energy that Louis Jordan would have appreciated. Wow, were they good!

Act two of the play leads us to a cabaret where the Five Moes give a live performance as Nomax continues his education.  As I mentioned earlier, this production will keep you smiling, but it also will engage you as participants, as the Moes involve the audience in on-stage dancing, “Conga” style processions, and singing. Such fun! Ron Parson’s and Felicia Fields direct this production with a steady hand and keep it moving quickly from one musical number to the next.

 

The costumes by Michael Alan Stein and the lighting by Heather Gilbert strongly support the performances.  And let me say that the very capable group of Five Moes were absolutely terrific! They work so well together and seamlessly move in and out of each scene.  It was a pleasure to watch them work their magic.

 

Overall, this is one big party, with great music, a very clever set, and strong performances. It all adds up to a very enjoyable and entertaining two hours.

 

Five Guys Named Moe will run through October 8, 2017

 

Schedule:  Wed & Thurs.:   7:30PM

                   Fridays:              8:00PM

                   Saturdays:         3:00PM & 8:00PM

                   Sundays:           2:30PM & 7:30PM     

 

Location:   Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL

Tickets:      $44-$74 Box Office: (773) 753-4472 or www.Courttheatre.org

 

Parking is available in the garage next to the theater.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Five Guys Named Moe”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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