“Let the good times roll!”
A song (and anthem) from the musical
Poor Nomax. He’s having trouble with his woman Lorraine, decides to drown his sorrows at the neighborhood bar, and stumbles into his place around 4:45 a.m. That’s a lot of liquid comfort. He manages to turn on the radio and the announcer No Moe (Jacques C. Smith) and his brothers Big Moe (Octavius Womack), Little Moe (Trevon Davis), Four-eyed Moe (Rogelio Douglas Jr. and the always ravenous Eat Moe (Eric B. Anthony) pops out scaring the hell out of an inebriated Nomax (the wonderful Obba Babatundé currently on the CBS daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful.) All the Moes are sharply dressed, work as one heartbeat when performing and are a great group of guys. The Moes try to advise Nomax on how to treat his partner of 16 years better, but Nomax is not having it. He wobbles around with a flask in hand and staggers all through the first act. It’s hard to tell he’s faltering toppling during the song “Push Ka Pi She” an up-tempo calypso song written by musician and bandleader Louis Jordan (1908-1975) who wrote the lyrics and the music and actor, director Clarke Peters (The Wire) wrote the Tony-nominated story. It’s good times for all and even Nomax gets into it. Maybe a little too much but his demeanor changes quickly.
Jordan has a fabulous repertoire of songs from beginning to end. He touches all genres of music. From boogie-woogie (“Reet, Petite and Gone”), earthy blues (“Know What I’ve Got”) to the upbeat hysterical (“Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens”) and a smooth sounding with an infectious beat (“Is You Is or is You Ain’t My Baby?). His songs and music are American standards filled with hope, cheer and humor. There’s no way you can get through this great show without clapping or stomping your feet until they ache from experiencing so much joy. Babatundé does an amazing job as the broken down Nomax who gets his swag back at the end. His astounding voice permeates throughout the theater and you can feel his temporary pain of missing Lorraine and trying to get back into the game of life, which hasn’t been treating him well lately. The five Moes shined individually as well as a group. All five men are superbly talented beyond expectations, beaming with pride who shares their great time with a satisfied audience.
Five Guys Named Moe plays this Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., at the Nate Holding Performance Arts Center, located at 4718 W. Washington Blvd in Los Angeles. For ticket information, call (323) 964-9766 or log on to ebonyrep.org