The musical was originally presented at the Theatre Royal Stratford East by Philip Hedley as an in-house production. Cameron Mackintosh opened it on 14 December 1990 at London's West End Lyric Theatre. The original Stratford East cast of Kenny Andrews, Paul J. Medford, Peter Alex Newton, Omar F. Okai, and Dig Wayne, were joined by Clinton Derricks-Carroll replacing Clarke Peters, all transferred with the production where it ran until 4 March 1995. It re-opened at the Albery Theatre on 25 May 1995 where it was recorded for commercial DVD with the following cast: Tee Jaye Jenkins, Trent Kendall, Monroe Kent III (Nomax), Jason Pennycooke, Richard D. Sharp and Feruma Williams. The production ran with this cast until 13 January 1996.
The Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Charles Augins, opened on 8 April 1992 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, where it ran for 445 performances and 19 previews. The cast included Jerry Dixon, Doug Eskew, Milton Craig Nealy, Kevin Ramsey, Jeffrey D. Sams, and Glenn Turner.
The "Moe" band was: Reginald Royal, piano; Luico Hopper, bass; Brian Kirk, drums; Reggie Pittman, trumpet & flugelhorn; Gregory Charles Royal, trombone; and Mark Gross, saxophone and clarinet.
The 2010 Edinburgh Festival/West End production, directed by Paulette Randall and starring Clarke Peters himself as Nomax, as well as Ashley Campbell, Christopher Colquhoun, Carlton Connell, Paul Hazel and Horace Oliver as the Moes opened on 5th August 2010.