Five Guys Named Moe – 1992
ACT I Nomax has a bad case of the blues – his lady has left him and he has no money. He tries to take comfort listening to a song on his radio at home (“Early in the Morning”). The neighbors next door yell at him, complaining about the noise, and Nomax yells right back, but turns off the radio and looks out the window. Suddenly there is a crash and a big puff of smoke, and “Five Guys Named Moe,” the greatest band around, materialize before the astonished Nomax. The Five Guys – No Moe, Little Moe, Four-eyed Moe, Big Moe, and Eat Moe – inform him that they’ve come to straighten him out and get him off his dependence on cigarettes, booze, and self-deception. He’s got to learn how to avoid getting hooked by a woman (“Beware, Brother, Beware”). The Moes do not entirely agree, however, on the right approach: Little Moe thinks that women should be treated as equals, but Eat Moe points out that Little Moe has been seen with a woman so “humungous” that she could hardly be considered his “equal”! (“I Like ’Em Fat Like That”) Nomax begins to lose patience with the five Moes, but they refuse to leave until he gets the message. They sing “Messy Bessy,” in which a man implores his woman not to get drunk, because it makes her so “messy.” Nomax fails to see how this song has anything to do with him and tries to escape, but they sit him down and sing another couple of instructive songs (“Pettin’ and Pokin’,” “Life Is So Peculiar”). Then No Moe asks Nomax to tell them what is going on between him and Lorraine. Nomax does, after all, love her, but forgets ever to tell her so (“I Know What I’ve Got”). Four-Eyed Moe warns him that he’d better tell her soon, or he’ll lose her and wind up like the lonely guy in “Azure Te.” Nomax admits that he’s forgotten birthdays, appointments, promises, etc., and wonders if maybe he ought to just start over with someone new. Loving and leaving, say the Moes, ain’t no way to live, even though the risks of having to deal with a real live wife might tempt a man to stay “Safe, Sane, and Single.” Nomax has got to stop taking this woman for granted; the Moes tell him he’s behaving like the “Saigo boy” in “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie.” This is an audience-participation song, for which the lyrics drop from the ceiling and the audience is encouraged just to have a good time singing, not to expect any particular enlightenment from it – indeed, it’s nonsense. As the song ends, No Moe tells the audience to go have a drink and meet them back on the stage in fifteen minutes. ACT II Everybody comes back feeling great. The Moes are reminded of the music, food, and drink they used to have in New Orleans at those parties where everybody was welcome (“Saturday Night Fish Fry”). Nomax is inspired to ask for another drink, and the Five Guys confront him with what looks like a drinking problem (“What’s the Use of Getting Sober When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again?”). The Five Moes are beginning to get Nomax’s attention, and he starts to reflect on his life (“If I Had Any Sense”) He knew he was headed the wrong way when he left his home, his parents, and his sweetheart, but he was too proud to turn back. He’s going to try to change. But trying isn’t good enough, say the Moes, just listen to what your friends are saying (“Dad Gum Your Hide Boy”). The Five Moes meanwhile are on their way to a gig. A drum roll introduces the Five Guys Named Moe at a cabaret, The Funky Butt Club. The show within the show, to which the audience enthusiastically contributes, also includes the Louis Jordan favorites “Let the Good Times Roll,” “Reet, Petite, and Gone,” “Caldonia,” “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,” “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin’,” “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” and “Look Out, Sister.” When the Moes find Nomax after the show, he says he finally gets it and wants to see Lorraine again. But is she ready to see him? Nomax gets on the phone to apologize to Lorraine, and to tell her he loves her (“Hurry Home,” “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t Ma’ Baby?). Just before he hangs up, we hear him say he’s on his way. The Five Guys Named Moe figure they’ve done their job and disappear again into thin air (“Five Guys Named Moe,” Band Play Out).
Nomax: Jerry Dixon Big Moe: Doug Eskew Four-Eyed Moe: Milton Craig Nealy No Moe: Kevin Ramsey Eat Moe: Jeffrey D. Sams Little Moe: Glenn Turner Piano: Reginald Royal Bass: Luico Hopper Drums: Brian Kirk Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Reggie Pittman Trombone: Gregory Charles Royal Saxophone, Clarinet: Mark Gross