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Book Your Tickets Five Guys Named Moe

About

Staged in a very special pop up venue with authentic 1940s cocktail bar and bandstand, this scorching new production whisks you straight back to the style, sass and red-hot soul of a New Orleans jazz club where the party’s just about to begin…  Nomax is single, broke and drinking his sorrows away when five guys named Moe – Big Moe, Little Moe, Eat Moe, Know Moe and Four-Eyed Moe – appear out of nowhere to help him straighten out and sing and dance his way to love!  Featuring the irresistible hits of the original king of jazz Louis Jordan, including Is You Or Ain’t You My Baby, Early in the Morning and Saturday Night Fish Fry, Five Guys Named Moe is directed by Clarke Peters (The Wire) with choreography by Andrew Wright (Half a Sixpence, Singin’ In The Rain).

The bourbon’s flowin’ and the music’s swingin’, so come on down… ain’t no party like a Five Guys party!
SASS, SOUL, SEX APPEAL. Pure entertainment, total fun!

WhatsOnStage.com

The music is playin'
& the bourbon is flowin'

Watch our brand new trailer!

A scorching production ... An exuberant tribute to the healing power of music

The Stage

Edward Baruwa

Nomax

Edward Baruwa

Nomax

Theatre credits include: Motown (Shaftesbury Theatre); Peter Pan in Concert (Adelphi Theatre); Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios); Little Shop of Horrors (Aberystwyth Arts Centre); Sister Act (UK Tour); Smokey Joe’s Café (Landor Theatre); Avenue Q, (Noel Coward Theatre & Gielgud Theatre); Les Miserables (Queens Theatre); Porgy and Bess; (Savoy Theatre), Dancing in the Streets; (Cambridge/Aldwych Theatre); Jerry Springer the Opera (Cambridge Theatre); Miss Saigon (Original UK Tour); The Rocky Horror Show (European Tour); and The Wiz (Hackney Empire). Feature Film credits include: Florence Foster Jenkins and London Road.

Ian Carlyle

Four-Eyed Moe

Ian Carlyle

Four-Eyed Moe

Recent theatre credits include: Showboat (Sheffield Crucible); Sister Act (National Theatre Dublin); Notre Dame de Paris (International Tour); Jesus Christ Superstar (UK National Arena Tour); We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre) Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre); Miss Saigon (UK Tour)and Disney’s The Lion King (Lyceum).

Idriss Kargbo

Little Moe

Idriss Kargbo

Little Moe

Credits include Wicked (Apollo Victoria); Shrek The Musical (UK Tour) Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic); Disney’s The Lion King; (Lyceum); Thriller Live! (Lyric Theatre) and Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane). Film credits include Been So Long.

Dex Lee

Know Moe

Dex Lee

Know Moe

Most recently appeared in The Wild Party (The Other Palace). His theatre credits include: Grease (Curve, Leicester); Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (Royal Court Theatre); In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse) Hairspray (UK Tour); Carrie (Southwark Playhouse) and The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick Theatre).

Horace Oliver

Big Moe

Horace Oliver

Big Moe

Horace trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

Theatre credits include: My One and Only (Piccadilly); Stand By Me (West End and UK Tour); 42nd Street (Apollo); Poison (Tricycle); Sophisticated Ladies (Globe); Five Guys Named Moe (Stratford East); Gone With The Wind (New London Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera Ireland); Carmen Jones (World Tour); Porgy & Bess (Glynebourne Festival Opera); The Wizard Of Oz (Leicester Haymarket); The Wiz (Birmingham Rep).

Television includes: Eastenders, Casualty, (BBC); Judge John Deed, (BBC); Brazen Hussies (BBC Film); Grange Hill (BBC); The Bill (ITV); Press Gang (ITV)

Film includes The Boys From Country Clare (Ceilidh Productions); Lost In London (Merry Go Round Films); Ellis Island (Telepictures).

 

Emile Ruddock

Eat Moe

Emile Ruddock

Eat Moe

Recent theatre credits include: Crazy For You (Watermill Theatre); Kiss Me Kate (UK Tour); The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick Theatre and Young Vic Theatre); Avenue Q (Rugby Theatre); 42nd Street Gala (London Palladium and Dominion Theatre) and 42nd Street (Rugby Theatre).His film and television credits include: The X Factor 2015 (Backing Dancer); The 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and Got to Dance 2013 with ‘The Pulse Collective’.

Mykal Rand

Big Moe & Nomax Alternate & Ensemble / Resident Director & Choreographer

Mykal Rand

Big Moe & Nomax Alternate & Ensemble / Resident Director & Choreographer

Performance credits include: Tom Collins in Rent (Triumph Proscenium Productions, West End, Mark Goucher, UK Tour and Hands Turn Productions, Dublin): Electra in Starlight Express (RUG, BKL and MEHR Entertainment): Simba in The Lion King (Disney, West End): Charlie in Show Boat (David Ian Productions, West End), Ken in Smokey Joes Café (ATG, Istanbul), Gitlow in Purlie (Bridewell): The Boss in Hot Stuff, (Leicester Haymarket): Rhythm Boy, My One & Only, (ATG, West End): Stretch in Oh! What a Night (UK Tour).

He can also be seen playing an Apostle in the Emmy award-winning version of Jesus Christ Superstar (Really Useful Films).

Mykal’s director and choreographer credits include: The Colour Purple in Concert (British Theatre Academy/Danielle Tarento Productions), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin, (Theatre Royal Stratford East) Rent, (Mark Goucher Productions, UK Tour), Evita, Grease (Bronowski/Danielle Tarento Productions, Festival Ljubljana), Starlight Express (R.U.G/BKL, U.K. Tour, Asian Tour), Hair (Bronowski Productions, Festival Ljubljana), Jesus Christ Superstar (Bronowski Productions, Festival Ljubljana), Fame (Bronowski Productions, Monaco), Smokey Joe’s Café (Landor Theatre): Supernatural (Giant Olive Theatre): Purlie (Bridewell Theatre): Passion (Bridewell Theatre), Release The Beat (Arcola Theatre) and Golden Boy (Greenwich Theatre).

Omari Douglas

Know Moe & Eat Moe Alternate and Ensemble

Omari Douglas

Know Moe & Eat Moe Alternate and Ensemble

Omari graduated from the Arts Educational Schools, London in 2015.

Theatre includes: Tristan and Yseult (Kneehigh – Shakespeare’s Globe / UK Tour); The Life (Southwark Playhouse); Annie Get Your Gun (Crucible, Sheffield); When the Waters Recede (Theatre by the Lake); Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air); Hairspray (Curve, Leicester / UK Tour); High Society (Old Vic); Elegies For AngelsPunks And Raging Queens (Criterion).

Radio includes: Friday Night Is Music Night: We Can Be Heroes.

 

Adrian Hansel

Four-Eyed Moe Alternate and Ensemble

Adrian Hansel

Four-Eyed Moe Alternate and Ensemble

Adrian trained at London Studio Centre.

West End Theatre credits include: Carousel (National Theatre); Dancin’ in the Streets (PlayHouse Theatre); Fame (Cambridge Theatre); All You Need is Love (Queens Theatre) and Starlight Express (Apollo Victoria Theatre).

He originated the role of Seaweed J Stubbs in Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and consequently was a guest solo singer on numerous tours with Michael Ball.

Other credits include Josh Groban (O2 Arena); Adele (Wembley Stadium); Hoods (Workshop); But I’m a Cheerleader (Workshop); Amazing World Of Gumball (Nickelodeon) and Mary Poppins Returns (Disney).

Keenan Francis-Munn

Little Moe Understudy

Keenan Francis-Munn

Little Moe Understudy

Keenan is 20 years old and is represented by the Sylvia Young Agency.

Theatre credits include: Lord of the Flies (Regents Park & UK Tour); The Lion King (Lyceum); Thriller Live (Lyric/European Tour); The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick); Soul (Hackney Empire) and most recently Filthy Business (Hampstead Theatre).

Television credits include: Oliver TwistCasualty, Doctors (BBC) and This Morning Christmas (ITV).

Radio Includes: BBC Radio 1 World War.

CLARKE PETERS

DIRECTOR

CLARKE PETERS

DIRECTOR

Clarke Peters has a long-established and wide-ranging career in theatre, television, radio and film. His many stage credits include: King Lear (Shakespeare in the Park), David Mamet’s RaceChicagoThe Iceman Cometh (New York), Guys and DollsMa Rainey’s Black Bottom and Mourning Becomes Electra (National Theatre)Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), Driving Miss DaisyKiss of the SpiderwomanLittle Shop of HorrorsBlues in the Night and, of course, the hit jazz musical Five Guys Named Moe also written by Clarke. Other theatre credits include: Othello at Sheffield Crucible, the home of his directing debut of Blues for Mr Charlie followed by King, The Musical in the West End.

Clarke’s films include: Spike Lee’s Red Hook SummerNotting HillMona LisaBad EducationMarley and MeFreedomlandThe BenefactorEndgame, Mandela: The Prison Years and Nativity!

Clarke is also well known for his very varied and popular television career which includes regular appearances in The WireTreméJericho, The DivideChance andThe Corner. He has also guest-starred in Jonathan CreekHolby CityUnderground, Show Me a Hero, Midsomer MurdersDeath in ParadiseTrue DetectiveMemphis BeatLondon Spy, DamagesLife on Mars and Law and Order – Trial by Jury and Person of Interest. 

ANDREW WRIGHT

MUSICAL STAGING & CHOREOGRAPHY

ANDREW WRIGHT

MUSICAL STAGING & CHOREOGRAPHY

Andrew is a double Olivier Award nominee. Choreography includes: Half A Sixpence for Cameron Mackintosh (Chichester Festival Theatre, Noel Coward Theatre), Singin’ In The Rain  (Chichester Festival Theatre, Palace Theatre, UK National Tour, Japan, Asia, Russia and Australia; winner of Best Choreographer WhatsOnStage Awards 2013 and nominated for Best Choreographer Olivier Awards 2012), Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Savoy Theatre, UK National Tour; nominated for Best Choreographer Olivier Awards 2016 and Broadway World Awards 2014/16), Barnum  (Theatre in the Park, Chichester, UK National Tour), 42nd Street  (Chichester Festival Theatre, Curve Theatre, Leicester), The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound  (Minerva Theatre), High Society (UK National Tour), Wonderful Town (UK National Tour), Betty Blue Eyes  (UK National Tour), Saturday Night Fever  (UK National Tour), A Little Night Music  (Palace Theatre), Follies (Royal Albert Hall), the world premiere of Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal, Bath, Noel Coward Theatre, Toronto), The Showgirl Within  (Garrick Theatre) and Almost Like Being In Love  (National Theatre).

TAKIS

SET & COSTUME DESIGNER

TAKIS

SET & COSTUME DESIGNER

takis is an internationally renowned performance designer based in London. His diverse body of work encompasses West End and leading UK theatres, major International Musicals, Opera, Ballet and Circus productions.

Musicals include: Side Show (Southwark Playhouse), In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre & Southwark Playhouse), Hairspray (UK National Tour), The LKY Musical(Singapore Marina Bay Sands), Grease (Norway), Spring Awakening for NYMT, Oliver!The Sound of Music & Chicago (Leicester Curve), The Jungle Book (Citizens Theatre), West Side Story (NYMT, Victoria Warehouse Manchester), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Arts Ed), A Tale of Two Cities (Theatre Royal Brighton); Aristophanes Now, Choruses and In the Light of the Night (Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus Greece/Greek Festival).

Theatre includes: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Clytemnestra and Measure for Measure (Sherman Theatre), Am I Dead Yet?, Fear and I caught Crabs in Walberswick (Bush Theatre), The Memory of Water (New Vic Theatre/SJT), Bacchae (Royal & Derngate), Napoli (West Yorkshire Playhouse & tour), The Good Person of Sichuan (Mercury Theatre), Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing (Chester Open Air Theatre); Midnight Your Time, Dusk Rings a Bell, Lidless (HightTide/Edinburgh Festival), The Early Bird (Finborough Theatre/ Project Art Centre-Dublin), Signs of a Star Shaped Diva (Theatre Royal Stratford East and tour), The Marriage Bed (Hong Kong/ NY); Invasion (Soho Theatre).

Site Specific/Installations include: Plus or Minus, Suit Your Self (Design Museum Helsinki), Rover (Hampton Court Palace), Stovepipe (National Theatre/HighTide), Ditch (Old Vic/HighTide), Forgotten Peacock (Design Museum/The Brunswick); Installation 496 (RADA), Goldfish (Paris Fashion Week); Mythological Installation Oedipus (Bucharest Museum of Contemporary Art); Visual Performance in Baroque Spirit (Venice Carnival).

Film includes: Widow’s Walk (feature film), Narcopolis (feature film), Half Light (short film), Eve (short film).

He has been nominated for Best Set Design awards for the productions of Side Show (Southwark Playhouse), In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse and King’s Cross Theatre), Fear (Bush Theatre), His Teeth (Only Connect) and Stovepipe (National Theatre/HighTide).

takis studied Costume and Set Design at the Romanian National University of Arts in Bucharest and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on the Theatre Technical Arts Course. He undertook practice based research at London College of Fashion, researching new methodologies of design in Fashion and Performance and he is currently completing his Doctoral research at Aalto University, Finland.

takis.info @takis_DESIGN

PHILIP GLADWELL

LIGHTING DESIGNER

PHILIP GLADWELL

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Credits include: Cymbeline (Royal Shakespeare Company); Trainspotting (Glasgow Citz); The James Plays (NT Scotland); Milk, Swallow, Ciara (Traverse); The World of Extreme Happiness, Love the Sinner (National Theatre); After Miss Julie (UK Tour); Mr. Burns, Before The Party (Almeida); Fraulein Julie (Schaubuhne, Barbican); Blanc de Blanc (Sydney Opera House/ Hippodrome); Laila (UK Tour); The Seagull (Regent’s Park); The Twits, Liberian Girl, God Bless The Child, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, No Quarter, Kebab (Royal Court); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Barbican); Hairspray, Jackie the Musical (UK Tours); First Love is the Revolution, The Boy Who Fell into A Book, Pastoral (Soho Theatre); The Sound of Music, Gypsy, The King and I, Chicago (Curve Leicester); Limbo (London/International Tour); The Member of the Wedding (Young Vic); Testing The Echo (Out Of Joint); Gobsmacked (Edinburgh Festival/International Tour); The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse); Enjoy (West Yorkshire Playhouse); The Infidel (Stratford East); Mogadishu, Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith); One For the Road, Hedda Gabler, The Duchess of Malfi (Northampton); The Fahrenheit Twins, Low Pay? Don’t Pay! (Told by an Idiot); If Only (Chichester);1984, Macbeth, Too Clever by Half, You Can’t Take it With You (Royal Exchange); and Terminus (Abbey Dublin, Edinburgh Festival, Irish and Australian Tour, USA).

BEN HARRISON

SOUND DESIGNER

BEN HARRISON

SOUND DESIGNER

Credits include: Cabaret, Scrooge, Soul Sister, Dreamboats & Petticoats and The Country Girl (West End & UK Tours); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Return To The Forbidden Planet, Happy Days The Musical, Carnaby Street, High Society, Blood Brothers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dr Dolittle, Jekyll & Hyde, Tommy, Save The Last Dance For Me, The Boy Friend, Half A Sixpence, The Roy Orbison Story, This Is Elvis, Laughter In The Rain (UK tours); Starlight Express and Evita (International Tours); Whistle Down The Wind (UK & American Tours); Dancing In The Streets (West End & International Tours); Into The Woods(West Yorkshire Playhouse); Bugsy Malone (Hammersmith Lyric); Hedda Gabler (Northampton Royal); The Prodigals (Coventry Belgrade & Edinburgh Fringe); The King & I and Hairspray (Leicester Curve & UK Tour); Obama The Mamba (Leicester Curve & The Lowry); Simply Cinderella, The Pillowman, Hot Stuff, Gypsy, Hello Dolly!, Oliver, Piaf, Sweeney Todd, Chicago and The Sound of Music (Leicester Curve).

Between 2002 and 2007 Ben was Head of Sound at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre where he designed: West Side Story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Macbeth, An Illustrious Corpse, Beautiful Thing, The Fortune Club, East, Divine, The Bogus Woman (also Adelaide & New York), The Good Woman of Schezuan, Pacific Overtures, The Happy Prince and The Wizard of Oz.

Ben recently designed the ‘Curtain Up’ exhibition at the V&A Museum celebrating 40 years of theatre in London & New York.

STEVE HILL

MUSICAL SUPERVISOR

STEVE HILL

MUSICAL SUPERVISOR

Steve was the Musical Director for the original UK tour of Five Guys Named Moe in 1995. He was Musical Supervisor for the UK tours of Fame and The House That Nat Built.

As Musical Director credits include: RENT (Duke Of Yorks); A Model Girl (Greenwich); Bent (Trafalgar Studios); Hair (Gate Theatre); Fame (Victoria Palace); The Rat Pack (Portugal); The Rocky Horror Show, Spend Spend Spend, Carousel, Smokey Joe’s Café, 42nd Street (UK Tours); West Side Story, Little Shop Of Horrors, Oliver!, The Wizard Of Oz, Anything Goes (Wyvern Theatre, Swindon) and Guys & Dolls (Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham).

As Assistant MD his credits include: The Genius Of Ray Charles (Theatre Royal, Haymarket); Songs My Mother Taught Me (Savoy Theatre, London) and the UK tours of Hollywood And Broadway and Magic Of The Musicals.

On numerous concert tours he has worked with Michael Ball, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, Sarah Brightman, Elaine Paige and Andrea Bocelli as well as being been Lorna Luft’s MD/Accompanist on many occasions. In 1999 Steve was privileged to accompany the late Larry Adler at Pizza In The Park, London and also performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Big Band. From 1992 to 1995 he was Musical Director for the CSE (Combined Services Entertainment).

Steve has published three books: The Beatles For Jazz Piano, Thelonious Monk – Straight No Chaser and Jazz Club Piano Solos (Volume 1), and composed the score for Diamond (Kings Head Theatre), incidental music for the play My Bed Was Too Comfy (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton) and the theme tune for children’s cartoon series Raindrops.

WILL BURTON CDG FOR DGA

CASTING

WILL BURTON CDG FOR DGA

CASTING

Will has worked at DGA for almost 10 years.

As well as being the associate casting director at DGA, Will also casts projects in his own right as a freelancer.

Theatre includes: 42nd Street (Drury Lane); Bat Out Of Hell (Coliseum); Beautiful Game (Cambridge); Bombay Dreams (Apollo); Brighton Rock (Almeida); Carousel (ENO); Cats (Palladium, UK & International Tours); Chicago (West End & UK Tour); A Chorus Line (Palladium); Closer To Heaven (Arts); Crazy For You(Regents Park); Evita (Adelphi); Fiddler On The Roof (Savoy); Five Guys Named Moe (Marble Arch Theatre); Ghost (Piccadilly); Gone With The Wind (New London); Groundhog Day (Old Vic); Hairspray (Shaftesbury & UK Tours); Hello Dolly (Regents Park); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Palladium & UK Tour); Jekyll & Hyde (Old Vic); Jerry Springer: The Opera (Cambridge); Jesus Christ Superstar (Regents Park); Kismet (ENO); Lord Of The Rings (Drury Lane); Mamma Mia! (Worldwide); Matilda (Cambridge); Million Dollar Quartet (UK Tour); Monty Python’s Spamalot (Palace); Mrs Henderson Presents (Noel Coward); Notre Dame De Paris (Dominion); On The Town (ENO); Once (Phoenix); Our House (Cambridge); Ragtime (Piccadilly); Saturday Night Fever (Palladium); School of Rock (Adult Casting, New London); Shrek (Drury Lane & UK Tour); Sister Act (Palladium); Spend Spend Spend (Piccadilly); Starlight Express (Germany); Stephen Ward(Aldwych); Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd (ENO); The Commitments (Palace & UK Tour); The Full Monty (Prince Of Wales); The Woman In White (Palace); Urinetown (Apollo); Viva Forever (Piccadilly); West Side Story (Prince Edward); Whistle Down The Wind (Aldwych) and the Wizard of Oz (Palladium).

Regional casting includes: 42nd Street, Kiss Me Kate (Theatre Du Chatelet); Ain’t Misbehavin’, A Chorus Line, Guys & Dolls, Oliver!, My Fair Lady, Sweet Charity(Sheffield Crucible); Divorce Me Darling! (Chichester); Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be, The Etienne Sisters (Stratford East) and Paper Dolls (Tricycle).

Film: The Phantom of the Opera (Warner Brothers).

Film Ensemble Casting: Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Mary Poppins Returns (Disney); Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (Universal Pictures).

UK Dancer Casting: Nine (The Weinstein Company).

Television: Any Dream Will Do, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, I’d Do Anything, Somewhere Over The Rainbow (BBC1), Jerry Springer: The Opera, Kombat Opera (BBC2), The Sound of Music Live (ITV) and The Universe (BBC2).

David Grindrod Associates are members of The Casting Directors Guild of Great Britain and have recently been appointed as Associate Artist of the Old Vic Theatre under Matthew Warchus’ artistic direction.

 

@WBurtonCasting

DAVID CAMERON

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR / CHOREOGRAPHER

DAVID CAMERON

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR / CHOREOGRAPHER

David is a performer, choreographer, director and teacher.

He received his BFA from Howard University School of Fine Arts in Washington DC where he worked with the DC Repertory Dance Co, the DC Black Repertory Theatre Co and Yelode Acting Co.  He taught at the Duke Ellington High School for the Performing Arts in Washington, where he helped formulate the Acting curriculum.

He was the Resident Director for the original Australian, West End, and English national touring productions of Five Guys Named Moe, the Associate Choreographer for the Broadway production and the Associate Director for the 2002 English national tour.

Other Broadway credits include: Ain’t Misbehaving, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Treemonisha and Owen’s Song. Off Broadway: Child of the Sun, NEC`s Salute To Black Classics, The Lion in Winter, The Mojo and the Sayso and Spiritual Journey.  Film credits include Aurora with Sophia Loren, Guts and Glory, The Gorilla, Genesis, Juba and Other Jewels and All God’s Children.

He now resides in the Netherlands where he has staged the vocal group 21st Century for Arjan van Dijk Produktiebureau, was the Resident Director for Mahalia, The Young Messiah and The New York Spirit for Stardust Theatre and created the musical staging and choreography for the American Song Book Production of Larry….This Funny World. He was also the host and lead male vocalist in the Dutch Production of The Soul of Motown.

Alongside his wife, jazz vocalist Adrienne West, he created and toured Royal Court based on the works of Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole, and the concert series Evolution. They appeared together in George Gershwin: The Musical Gala and David was Executive Producer on her albums The View (Timeless Records) and With Love to Ella and Joe (Dot Time Records).

UNDERBELLY

PRODUCER

UNDERBELLY

PRODUCER

Underbelly is a UK based, live entertainment company. Their events and festivals division operates one of the largest operations at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe selling, in 2016, 234,000 tickets for over 140 shows over 25 days. 2017 marks the ninth year of Underbelly on the Southbank. This year, the Udderbelly and London Wonderground festivals join forces for the first Underbelly Festival Southbank.

Elsewhere Underbelly also produces Edinburgh’s Christmas and Udderbelly Festival in Hong Kong. Underbelly also produces West End Live in Trafalgar Square, and Pride in London, for Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre, and produced the 2015 Rugby World Cup fanzone in Richmond. Through their Underbelly Productions arm they produce and promote live shows in London’s West End, throughout the UK and on tour internationally. In 2016 Underbelly sold over 1.3 million tickets to their various events. underbelly.co.uk

LOUIS JORDAN

LOUIS JORDAN (JULY 8, 1908 – FEBRUARY 4, 1975)

LOUIS JORDAN

LOUIS JORDAN (JULY 8, 1908 – FEBRUARY 4, 1975)

Louis Jordan – often called “the Father of Rhythm & Blues” and “the Grandfather of Rock ‘n Roll” – ruled the R&B charts of the 1940s like no other performer.

Born into a musical family (his father was a local music teacher) in Brinkley, Akansas, Jordan majored in music at Arkansas Baptist College before heading to Philadelphia and then New York. After serving stints with jazz bands and swing orchestras on both the clarinet and saxophone, he was invited to join the legendary Savoy Ballroom Orchestra under bandleader Chick Webb where he began singing lead and regularly dueted with a young Ella Fitzgerald.

He broke off in 1938 to form his own group (as singer, saxophonist and bandleader), pioneering a wild – and wildly popular – amalgam of jazz and blues. The syncopated shuffle rhythms of Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five became known as “jump blues” or “jumpin’ jive,” their appeal stemming from a lively evocation of good times and a swinging style that ranged from hot jazz to bluesy boogie.

Throughout the Forties he launched 57 singles onto the R&B charts, 18 of which went to number one including Choo Choo Ch’Boogie (18 weeks), Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens (17 weeks), Saturday Night Fish Fry (12 weeks), Caldonia (7 weeks) and Jack, You’re Dead (7 weeks), all of which feature in Five Guys Named Moe. From 1943 to 1950 he was dubbed “King of the Juke Boxes” and occupied the top position for a total of 113 weeks, peaking in 1946 with seventeen songs in the upper reaches of the R&B chart. His popularity led to starring roles in a series of musical film shorts including Caldonia, Look Out Sister,and Reet, Petite and Gone.

Jordan supplied a good deal of the slang of early rock and roll and his freewheeling style and incorporation of electric guitar and organ provided a bridge between big-band swing, jazz and rhythm & blues. His hit Saturday Night Fish Fry is a worthy contender for the label of first rock and roll record and contains many of the genre’s key ingredients: distorted electric guitar, use of the word “rocking,” party-themed lyrics, and danceable, uptempo music. Jordan’s breathless, manic, half-spoken delivery, can even be seen as an early example of rapping.

As well as Fitzgerald (who he partnered with on several records) Jordan’s peers and contemporaries included Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby and through his tenure at Decca Records he had a huge influence on labelmate Bill Haley whose breakthrough single Rock Around the Clock was produced by regular Jordan collaborator Milt Gabler. Jordan’s influence has been acknowledged by Ray Charles, Little Richard, Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris and rock ‘n roll pioneer Chuck Berry, who declared on The Tonight Show, “I identify myself with Louis Jordan more than any other artist.”

He was married five times and died of a heart attack in 1975.

In 1987 he was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, just three years before the premiere of Five Guys Named Moe, which, along with Buddy, sparked the modern trend of “jukebox musicals,” a genre which continues to dominate both the West End and Broadway today with Mama Mia! (ABBA), We Will Rock You (Queen), Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons), Beautiful (Carole King) and countless others.

His biography, Let the Good Times Roll by British jazz historian John Chilton was published in 1997.