Black Rep vet Drummond Crenshaw stops the show with his role as Foe Eyed Mo.
Unity Theater vet Herman Gordon plays Eat Mo.
STL actor Sean Walton plays Little Moe
Actor Horace E. Smith plays Big Moe
by Marcus Ma’at Atkins
Last weekend, The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opened its third production of its 33rd Season with the award winning Broadway play, “Five Guys Named Mo.” that is currently staged at the Grandel Square Theatre (until March 24) .
Directed by Black Rep Founder and Producing Director, Ron Himes, the two hour ‘Mo’ extravaganza follows in step with the original production featuring the music of legendary jazz and pre-rock and roll horn player Louis Jordan (who’s song is the title for this musical fantasy).
‘Mo’ involves lead character Nomax (played by East St. Louis singer/performer Anthony Tarvin, Jr.) set in the 1992s(the year ‘Mo’ originally premiered on Broadway) whose girlfriend has left him and who is without money, finds Big Moe (played by Horace Smith), Four-Eyed Moe (played excellently by Drummond Crenshaw) , Eat Moe (played by Unity Theater’s Herman Gordon) , No Moe (played by the agile actor/dancer Gary Vincent), and Little Moe (played by STL actor Sean Walton) emerging from his 1930's-style radio to comfort him. As a result, they sing the hit songs of Jordan, to guide Nomax during his low points from love.
There is never a dull moment in this testosterone driven toe-tapping production (the only female presence is of Linda Kennedy whose voice is used for the dee-jay’s voice played on the Tarvin’s character’s radio). All of the characters do a grand of a job acting and singing (especially Crenshaw who plays the comic relief role with big glasses to the hilt). Another great element is the characters breaking the fourth wall and get the audience involved in some of the scenes including the call and response number (and volunteer Conga line driven) “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie” before the close of Act I.
The set was , designed Chris Pickett, kept with the theme of the production as its backdrop was the same as the main prop—the 1930s style radio and the musicians, led by veteran musical director Charles Creath, on the second level inside the backdrop’s radio.
Usually, the Black Rep doesn’t lose it footing when they do toe-tapping and colorful musicals, and “Mo’ is definitely does not stray from its winning formula. Besides, who can go wrong when the crowd is incorporated into the production?
FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE
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