‘Five Guys Named Moe’ jazz/blues tribute pure ‘honeyed delight’

WEST HARTFORD — You might mistakenly think a musical about a guy who has just lost his gal, sweet Lorraine, after six years of cultivating a relationship, a fellow with no money, stuck in sadness in the darkest hours of the night, would be a downer.

Yet, when our sorry hero Nomax, a convincingly desperate Marcus Canada, admits his abject despair, his radio from the 1930’s offers him an amazing parade of hope. Enter Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe and Little Moe to literally save his soul and his day.

Get ready for the snappy and snazzy jazzy and blues stuffed magic of “Five Guys Named Moe” by Clarke Peters, featuring the greatest hits by saxophonist Louis Jordan shining brightly at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford through Feb. 27.

In the midst of a cold and dry winter in New England, you owe yourself this sunny and special musical delight.

Come make the acquaintance of Big Moe (Darren Lorenzo), Four-Eyed Moe (Jacquez Linder-Long), Eat Moe (Arnold Harper II), No Moe (Josh Walker) and Little Moe (Devin Price) who deliver a fully packed suitcase of more than two dozen hits that will have you singing and dancing along with glee.

Tunes like “I Like ‘Em Fat Like That,” “Messy Bessy,” “Safe, Sane & Single,” “Saturday Night Fish Fry,” “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,” “Choo Choo Ch’boogie” and “Is You Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” jump and jive across James F. Rotondo II’s inviting stage under the direction of conductor Dexter Pettaway Sr.

A spectacular favorite was the sing and dance along hit “Push Ka Pi She Pie” that invited the audience in for the fun.

Along the way, Nomax is forced to see the errors of his way, smoking and drinking too much, failing to remember Lorraine’s birthday and, in general, not being a stand up kind of guy. Eventually the lessons sink in and Nomax pledges to reform and start anew. Hallelujah!

Brittney Griffin does a stellar job as both choreographer and director. This African-American tribute to jazz and the blues is pure honeyed delight.

A talk back with the cast follows the Sunday show. Don’t forget your vaccination card, ID and mask.

For tickets ($37.50 to $50), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford, at 860-523-5900, Ext. 10, or visit playhouseonpark.org. Performances are Tuesday at 2 pm, Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm

Do yourself a favor and bop on over to Playhouse on Park for a painless and spirited injection of pure rhythm and joy.

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