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The Fabulous Lipitones

a Musical Comedy
by Mark St. Germain & John Markus

COMPANY : Theatrical Outfit [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Balzer Theatre @ Herren's [WEBSITE]
ID# 4336

SHOWING : March 27, 2013 - April 21, 2013



Directed by Justin Anderson

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Harmony

When one of their founding members drops dead mid-performance, this small town America barbershop trio must race to find a new member for their quartet to win the national competition. Choosing a tenor who is a Pakistani Sikh with dubious immigration credentials makes their road to victory a funny and touching lesson in what it takes to create real harmony. A World Premiere Musical by award-winning playwright, Mark St. Germain, author of the hit show, "Freud's Last Session."

Director Justin Anderson
Bob Daniel Hilton
Howard Tom Key
Phil Bill Murphey
Wally Glenn Rainey
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


The Fabu-Less Lipitones
by playgoer
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
"The Fabulous Lipitones" reminds me of a high school show, giving a nice lesson about tolerance as three buddies consider taking on a fourth who comes from a very different background. Here, though, the buddies are members of a barbershop quartet that's been together for twenty years, up until the recent, unexpected death of the quartet's founder. They're on their way to a national SPEBSQSA competition, but only if they find an alto to round out their group. Along comes Bob, a Sikh mechanic. Conflict eventually resolves to harmony.

Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay have put together a terrific set that portrays a partially finished basement, with auditorium-style flooring and a curtain in front to stand in for competition scenes, along with proscenium areas for displaying projections. The photographs projected, taken by BreeAnne Clowdus, did nothing for me, but the audience chuckled at the mis-focused sequence accompanying an early competition scene. They also chuckled at the outrageously hideous final competition costumes designed by the Curley-Clays.

The cast all have fine voices, and the singing of oldies-but-goodies in barbershop harmony is pleasing, if not up to national standards. But then again the pre-recorded "Sons of Pitches," purportedly multiple national winners, sound unbalanced in their first number. Like the play itself, the singing is good, but doesn't come across as totally believable for the given situation.

There were a lot of line bobbles opening weekend, from the entire cast of four (William S. Murphey, Tom Key, Glenn Rainey, and Daniel Hilton). Even so, momentum kept up during the intermissionless runtime, leading up to an abrupt ending that seems tailor-made to egg the audience on to demand an encore. Unfortunately, the encore was the weakest singing of the evening.

While the program makes quite a point of having vetted the world premiere production with local Sikh organizations, the audience at the performance I saw seemed to delight most in the racial stereotypes voiced by Phil (William S. Murphey). The information on the Sikh religion came across as lessons, adding to the this-is-good-for-you tone of the show. I'm not sure the audience totally bought it.

All the characters are put into situations that do not make the actors' jobs easy. Daniel Hilton has to put on an Indian accent throughout and accomplish a vibrato that comes and goes (a good sight gag). Plump Glenn Rainey has to deal with sudden demand from raunchy ladies on his pharmaceutics dating website. Tom Key has to embody wimpiness, with one sudden outburst. William S. Murphey has to portray a one-time muscle hunk. Parts of all these characterizations don't ring true. As in a high school production, we're seeing actors, capable though they might be, who are not always physically right for their roles.

"The Fabulous Lipitones" isn't bad, but it isn't particularly good. Musical arrangements by Michael Monroe are pleasing, but Mark St. Germain's and John Markus' script seems thin, and director Justin Anderson has been unable to make more out of less. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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