Five Guys Named Moe

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Five Guys Named Moe
Original logo
MusicLouis Jordan
LyricsLouis Jordan
BookClarke Peters
Productions1990 West End
1992 Broadway
2002 Chicago Drury Lane South
2010 Edinburgh Festival
2014–15 Arena Stage and Cleveland Play House
2017 Off-West End
AwardsLaurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment

Five Guys Named Moe is a musical with a book by Clarke Peters and lyrics and music by Louis Jordan and others. The musical is based on an earlier musical short of the same name by Louis Jordan from 1943.[1] It had its UK debut at the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre[2][3] followed by a short run at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, before moving to the West End for over four years in, and finally premiering on Broadway in 1992. It was revived in 2010 at Edinburgh Festival, starring Peters himself, and returned later in 2010 to the theatre in which it originally premiered. The musical won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.

Plot summary[edit]

Nomax, whose girlfriend has left him and who is without money, finds Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe, and Little Moe emerging from his 1930s-style radio to comfort him. They sing the hit songs of songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordan, whose new slant on jazz paved the way for rock and roll in the 1950s.

Production history[edit]

The musical was originally presented at the Cottesloe Theatre.[4] Cameron Mackintosh opened it on 14 December 1990 at London's West End Lyric Theatre.[5] The original Stratford East cast of Kenny Andrews, Paul J. Medford, Peter Alex Newton, Omar F. Okai, and Dig Wayne, were joined by Clinton Derricks-Carroll replacing Clarke Peters, all transferred with the production where it ran until 4 March 1995. It re-opened at the Albery Theatre on 25 May 1995[6] where it was recorded for commercial DVD with the following cast: Tee Jaye Jenkins, Trent Kendall, Monroe Kent III (Nomax), Jason Pennycooke, Richard D. Sharp and Feruma Williams.[7] The production ran with this cast until 13 January 1996. There was a successful UK and European tour that followed under the Musical direction of Fiz Shapur.

The Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Charles Augins, opened on 8 April 1992 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, where it ran for 445 performances and 19 previews. The cast included Jerry Dixon, Doug Eskew, Milton Craig Nealy, Kevin Ramsey, Jeffrey D. Sams, and Glenn Turner.

The "Moe" band was: Reginald Royal, piano; Luico Hopper, bass; Brian Kirk, drums; Reggie Pittman, trumpet & flugelhorn; Gregory Charles Royal, trombone; and Mark Gross, saxophone and clarinet.

Original cast recordings from both the London and Broadway productions were released.

In 1993, the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson in Los Angeles kicked off the first U.S. National tour. Doug Eskew and Milton Craig Nealy continued the roles they played on Broadway: Big Moe and Four-Eyed Moe, respectively. Keith Tyrone, Jeffrey Polk and Kevyn Bracket, joined the cast as No Moe, Little Moe and Eat Moe. The production opened on 15 July 1993 at the James A. Doolittle Theatre on the campus of UCLA. The subsequent tour included stops in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (Sept 29-Nov 6, 1993)[need more tour stop info] Cincinnati, OH at the Taft Theatre (18–23 January 1994).[8]

In 2002 a "Theater in the Round" production was mounted at the Drury Lane South Theatre in Chicago, IL. Directed by Marc Robin and starring Sean Blake (No Moe), John Steven Crowley (Big Moe), Anthony Pierre Christopher (Little Moe), Parrish Collier (Four-Eyed Moe) and Byron Glenn Willis (Eat Moe) with Nikkieli Dimone as Nomax. The production earned two Joseph Jefferson Nominations in the Director and Ensemble categories.

The 2010 Edinburgh Festival/West End production, directed by Paulette Randall and starring Clarke Peters himself as Nomax, as well as Ashley Campbell, Christopher Colquhoun, Carlton Connell, Paul Hazel and Horace Oliver as the Moes opened on 5 August 2010.

During the 2014–15 season, a new, re-imagined production was co-produced by Arena Stage and Cleveland Play House. This production featured the five Moes as 21st century musicians and a slightly modernized musical arrangement. The production ran 14 November – 28 December 2014 at Arena Stage and 23 January – 15 February 2015 in Cleveland Play House's Allen Theatre. The production was directed by Robert O'Hara.

Following a run in 2016 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a London Off-West End revival produced by Underbelly Productions in association with Cameron Mackintosh, Steven Harris and Westminster Council ran from 14 September 2017 at the Marble Arch Theatre, a new pop-up venue in Marble Arch specifically designed for the production that reflected the 1940 New Orleans jazz bars. The venue was originally stopped from opening in Victoria Embankment due to criticism from neighbours.[9]

From 7 September to 8 October 2017, Court Theatre in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood mounted a production featuring James Earl Jones II, Darrian Ford, Lorenzo Rush Jr., Kelvin Roston Jr., Eric Andrew Lewis, and Stephen Allen, directed by Ron OJ Parson with music direction by Abdul Hamid Royal.[10][11]

In their 2018–2019 season, Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee Wisconsin, mounted a production featuring Lorenzo Rush Jr., Gavin Lawrence, James Carrington, Shawn Holmes, Sean Anthony Jackson, and Kevin James Sievert, directed by Malkia Stampley, music direction by Christie Chiles Twillie, and choreography by Lanette Costas.

The show received a London fringe revival in 2021 at Upstairs at The Gatehouse. Direction and choreography was by resident director of the 2017 London production, Mykal Rand. Musical supervision by John Reddel and musical direction by Griffin Jenkins. The cast featured Juan Jackson as Nomax; and KM Drew Boatan, Christian Maynard, AJ Lewis, Andre Coulson, Kieran McGinn as the Moes.[12] The production has received favourable reviews.[13][14]

Song list[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1991 Laurence Olivier Award Best Entertainment Won
Best Actor in a Musical Paul J. Medford Nominated
Best Director of a Musical Charles Augins Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Won

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1992 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Clarke Peters Nominated


  1. ^ Five Guys Named Moe (1943) listing on IMDB, accessed 5 September 2012
  2. ^ "Cocoa Chat: Clarke Peters from Five Guys Named Moe". Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Production of Five Guys Named Moe".
  4. ^ Longman, Will (7 August 2017). "Clarke Peters on bringing Five Guys Named Moe to a brand new theatre in the heart of London". Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  5. ^ Five Guys Named Moe listing at the Lyric Theatre,, accessed 9 July 2009
  6. ^ Five Guys Named Moe listing, Noel Coward Theatre (formerly the Albery Theatre, accessed 9 July 2009
  7. ^ Kingston, Jeremy (29 May 1995). "Treading the familiar waters of the Jordan". The Times. (Features section)
  8. ^ DRAKE, SYLVIE (16 July 1993). "Theater Reviews : 'Five Guys Named Moe': Thin Book, Huge Party". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Clarke Peters' Five Guys Named Moe to open in new theatre". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Five Guys Named Moe at Court Theatre". Court Theatre. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  11. ^ Greene, Morgan. "Court completes casting for 'Five Guys Named Moe'". Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Five Guys Named Moe". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  13. ^ Stottor, Debra. "Five Guys Named Moe Review". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  14. ^ Jeffery, Heather. "Review: FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE/Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate 15 Dec 2021 – 16 Jan 2022". Retrieved 27 December 2021.

External links[edit]