Five Guys Named Moe | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Five Guys Named Moe 

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Five Guys Named Moe, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. Playwright Clarke Peters's premise is flimsy even by musical revue standards: a young hip-hopper whose girl left him is drowning his woes in booze and the blues when out of an ancient radio appear five hepcats from the swinging era of 1940s jazz, come to share their wisdom as expressed in the gospel according to Louis Jordan and other disciples of bebop and boogie-woogie.

Director-choreographer Marc Robin has assembled a squad of songbirds whose fraternal banter, Crayola-hued suits, and thousand-watt smiles charm immediately. John Steven Crowley, Anthony Pierre Christopher, Sean Blake, Byron Willis, and Parrish Collier play, respectively, Big Moe, Little Moe, No Moe, the always hungry Eat Moe, and the bespectacled Four Eyed Moe. With Nikkieli Demone as their pupil, they saunter and slide their way through the rousing "Caldonia" and "Is You Is, or Is You Ain't (Ma Baby)?," the sweetly mournful "Azure Te," novelty numbers like "Safe, Sane and Single," and many, many more.

The "dialogue" might be as facile as "I'll bet you're gonna sing me another song, right?," and the unlikely setup might be a nightclub "rehearsal" complete with bandstand. But by the time we were singing along with the infectious calypso beat of "Push Ka Pi Shi Pie" or dancing in a conga line, we were having too much fun to question how we got there.

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