Louis Jordan, AKA King of the Jukebox, was a musician active from the 1930’s until the 1970’s. As a tribute to him and in honor of Black History Month Westchester Broadway Theatre is showcasing their latest musical – Five Guys Named Moe – a show that is based on Jordan’s music. Created by Clarke Peters and originally produced by legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh, the show was first staged at both West End and on Broadway in the early 1990’s and also played again in London in 2017.
In the story, a man named Nomax is down on his luck and on his way to a self-destructive path, taking up drinking and smoking. He doesn’t treat his girlfriend well and she leaves him. Five guys named Moe (No Moe, Eat Moe, Big Moe, Little Moe and Four-Eyed Moe) appear before him. They call him out on his behavior and try to straighten him out.
The 25 songs featured in the show – all full-length – are diverse and in a variety of genres, ranging from 50’s to Doo-Wop to Calypso. The lyrics are often comical and the melodies catchy.
I recently saw the show at WBT and loved the energy in the room. All five “Moe’s” had contagious charisma and energy. Napoleon M. Douglas who played Nomax was also a delight to watch. He has an amazing voice and played the role of a guy down on his luck with beautiful restraint. One of the big highlights of the show for me was his solo, I know What I’ve Got.
Towards the end of the first act the audience were encouraged to participate: stand up, dance and sing the crowd-pleaser, Push Ka Pi Shi Pie (words are provided). This was really fun way to end the first act.
The second act included the famous Caldonia – also with audience participation. The show ended with the show-stopper – literally and figuratively – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby? It was a stunningly beautiful rendition.
Aside from the six performers, the band was also on the stage, which was a nice change from other shows at WBT, where the band is often hidden. The food was, as always, very good and very fresh.
This show was super fun and you may find yourself singing “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie” on your way home.Westchester Broadway Theatre is located at One Broadway Plaza, Elmsford, NY.
Photos by John Vecchiolla
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is a freelance writer and has written for several blogs, including The Huffington Post. She has been living in the New York City area for nineteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids, ages 13, 10 and 7.