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The live sounds of 30’s and 40’s jazz transform Court Theatre into a music venue in this production of Five Guys Named Moe. Written by Clarke Peters and directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson, with Music Director Abdul Hamid Royal and Associate Director Felica P. Fields, this lively musical is a tribute to the great songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordan (1908-1975), who went down in history as an innovator and popularizer of “jump blues,” a dance forward mix of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie, that paved the way for rock’n’roll in the 1950’s.

The uncomplicated plot provides the perfect canvas for Louis Jordan’s greatest hits and goes something like this: Nomax (Stephen ‘Blu’ Allen) is a clueless but perfectly lovable young lad who is broke and heartbroken because his girlfriend left him. Drinking at home one night and listening to Louis Jordan’s hits on the radio, depressed Nomax is whining about his life, when out of the blue (no pun intended) his radio erupts with five guys, who climb out one by one, introduce themselves as Big Moe (Lorenzo Rush Jr), Eat Moe (James Earl Jones II) , No Moe (Eric A. Lewis), Four-Eyed Moe (Kelvin Roston Jr), and Little Moe (Darrian Ford), and get the party started with ‘Five Guys Named Moe.’ Because five heads are better than one, The Five Moes are very helpful in trying to solve Nomax’s lady problem; the dynamic and superbly fun hits “I Like ‘Em Fat Like That” and “Messy Bessy” are prove of that. Not to mention “I know What I’ve Got” and “Safe, Sane and Single,” which were outstanding. Louis Jordan’s use of comedy in his songwriting had become one of the most prominent elements in his music, for he “laughed to keep from crying”. Besides, having been married five times, he most certainly contemplated the relations between the opposite sexes in his own life.

There was some great talent on that cleverly designed stage made to look like inside of an old radio (scenic design by Courtney O’Neill). Powerful voices, the most remarkable of them Darrian Ford’s [whose new original vocal jazz album, The New Standard, is set to release later this year], impressive dancing with occasional somersaults thrown in for a good measure (by James Earl Jones II), Lorenzo Rush, Jr’s commanding presence and hilarious relic, always on.

The band is no slouch either: led by the pianist/Music Director, winner of the NAACP Image Award for Broadway’s Five Guys Named Moe composer/arranger Abdul Hamid Royal, who had worked with many recording artists, such as Liza Minelli, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, and Christina Aguilera, to name just a few; it produces a tight sound.

By the end of the First Act, the audience is playfully forced to sing the silly lyrics to “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie,” and some fortunate first row attendees are dragged onto stage to dance with the cast and then led to the lobby bar. Hey, “What’s the Use Of Getting Sober?”, right?

Second Act takes us to The Funky Butt Club, where the Five Moes have a gig to do. The sounds of old jazz are like an anti-anxiety remedy, taking us to a different time far, far in the past, it seems. What great 63rd Season opener for Court Theatre! “Five Guys Named Moe” is being performed at Court Theatre through October 8th. For more show information visit www.courttheatre.org.

*Now extended through October 15th

Published in Upcoming Theatre
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 13:03

Court Theatre Announces 2017-2018 Season

Court Theatre proudly announces its 63rd season under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director and Executive Director Stephen J. Albert. The company’s 2017/18 season will feature the lively musical tribute to the hit songs of saxophonist and songwriter Louis Jordan, Five Guys Named Moe, written by Clarke Peters and directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson and Associate Director Felicia P. Fields; an exploration of the complex life of Emily Dickinson with The Belle of Amherst, written by William Luce, directed by Sean Graney and featuring Kate Fry; an electrifying story of love and family with Arthur Miller’s American masterpiece All My Sons, directed by Charles Newell and featuring Timothy Edward Kane and John Judd; the classic family drama Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, by Todd Kreidler, based on the screenplay by William Rose, directed by Marti Lyons and featuring Jacqueline Williams;and the Chicago Premiere of the story of remarkable Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with The Originalist, written by John Strand.

 

In addition to the mainstage season, Court’s 2014 production of Iphigenia in Aulis will be remounted in California at the invitation of the prestigious Getty Villa. This is the highest achievement for theatres producing Greek or Roman work. Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, returns to direct the script translated by Court’s Founding Artistic Director Nicholas Rudall, featuring members of the original cast.

 

“From a celebratory musical to a leading American poet, from Arthur Miller’s tragedy of the common man to a stage adaptation of an iconic film and a portrait of a notorious figure in American jurisprudence, Court Theatre welcomes an eclectic and powerful season,” says Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. “We are thrilled to invite a range of celebrated artists from Chicago and beyond to bring these stories to life for our audiences. It is also a distinct honor to bring our production of Iphigenia in Aulis to the leading American presenter of Classical Greek Theatre as the Getty Villa offers an incomparable setting for the study and enjoyment of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Roma, and Etruria.”

 

The 2017/18 Court Theatre Season Up-Close:

Five Guys Named Moe

September 7 - October 8, 2017

A Musical by Clarke Peters

Directed by Ron OJ Parson and Associate Director Felicia P. Fields

Music Direction by Abdul Hamid Royal

Featuring Louis Jordan’s Greatest Hits

 

A lively musical tribute to the hit songs of saxophonist and songwriter Louis Jordan, Five Guys Named Moe introduces Nomax: a broke, newly single guy singing the blues late into the night. Suddenly, five unexpected friends--Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe, and Little Moe--emerge from his radio to help ease his broken heart. Pioneering musician Louis Jordan’s new approach to jazz paved the way for rock and roll in the 1950s.

 

The Belle of Amherst

November 2 - December 3, 2017

By William Luce

Directed by Sean Graney

Featuring Kate Fry as Emily Dickinson

 

Emily Dickinson's own original poems, diary entries, and letters welcome us into her Massachusetts home, where she shares snippets of joy and creation amongst the heartache of an isolated and misunderstood life.

 

This 1976 play by William Luce offers a glance into the complex life of one of the most prolific poets of our time. Playwright and director Sean Graney returns to Court for the fourth time to direct The Belle of Amherst, with Kate Fry (Electra; Caroline, or Change) starring as Emily Dickinson.

 

All My Sons

January 11 - February 11, 2018

By Arthur Miller

Directed by Charles Newell

Featuring Timothy Edward Kane and John Judd

 

Local businessman and manufacturer Joe Keller developed a bitter history with his business partner after dealing with profound tragedy during World War II. Despite the odds, love blossoms between Joe’s son Chris and his partner’s daughter Ann. Joe is destined to face old dilemmas and defend his decisions in this electrifying family drama.

 

All My Sons established playwright Arthur Miller as an American theater icon, and won the 1947 Drama Critics' Award for Best New Play. Court Theatre’s production is directed by Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and features Timothy Edward Kane (An Iliad; One Man, Two Guvnors; Harvey) and John Judd. 

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

March 15 - April 15, 2018

By Todd Kreidler (based on the screenplay by William Rose)

Directed by Marti Lyons

Featuring Jacqueline Williams

 

Matt and Christina Drayton live a modern, white upper-class life in 1960s San Francisco, but their comfortable life is muddled when daughter Joey returns home with John Prentice, a black physician whom she has known for ten days and intends to marry. Suddenly, their longtime progressive values are challenged; Matt and Christina find themselves facing difficult personal questions about the future of their daughter and their family. And unfortunately for the Draytons, Joey and John aren’t their only surprise guests coming to dinner.

 

Chicago Premiere

The Originalist

May 10 - June 10, 2018

By John Strand

 

When a Harvard Law School graduate with decidedly different views takes on a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of America’s most brilliant and polarizing figures, she discovers in him an infuriating opponent and an unexpected mentor. Their relationship faces the ultimate test as they confront one of the most polarizing cases to reach the nation’s highest court.

 

Written by Charles MacArthur Award winner John Strand, this daring new work shows just how much passion for the law and risk it takes to defend one’s version of the truth.

 

Additional casting and creative team information to be announced at a later date.

 

Subscription Information

Five, four, and three play subscriptions to Court’s 2017/18 season range from $96 to $300 and are on sale now. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court’s website at www.CourtTheatre.org. Individual tickets for all shows will be available on August 1st.

 

Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.

 

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