BWW Reviews: THE FABULOUS LIPITONES, Hilarity and Heart on the GSP Stage
The Fabulous Lipitones, now on stage through December 14th at George Street Playhouse, has superb music and a story that will resonate with a broad audience. Make time to see it during the holiday season and enjoy the melodies and the mood of this original musical comedy. A hit show for sure.
Written by John Markus and Mark St. Germain, The Fabulous Lipitones has a humorous and insightful plot. Directed by Michael Mastro, his precise staging is perfectly paced. And the musical numbers are complimented by the clever choreography of Michael Lichtefeld. The multi-talented cast starring Broadway Veterans, Donald Corren, Wally Dunn and Jim Walton and You Tube Sensation Rohan Kymal are the ideal foursome for this production.
With set design by R. Michael Miller, lighting by Christopher J. Bailey, costume design by Esther Arroyo and sound design by Scott Killian, the creative team brings us right into the captivating world of the Lipitones.
The scene is set. Three middle aged men are struggling with life's issues as they determine the future of their barbershop quartet after the death of their lead singer. The national competition is just weeks away. Enter a young Indian man ready to audition for the open part. Yet his background is very different from this group who has been singing together since high school.
The four characters in The Fabulous Lipitones are distinctive. Phil Rizzardi (Donald Corren) is a three times divorced macho type, more interested in the future of his fitness business than in continuing the barbershop quartet. Wally Smith (Wally Dunn) is dappling in the world of internet dating. A pharmacist who lives with his mother, Wally aspires to meet the right "pharmacette" while striving to keep the Lipitones together. Howard Dunphy (Jim Walton) has a complex situation. He juggles the care of his ailing wife while continuing his dedication to the quartet. Most of the action takes place in Howard's downstairs rec room. It is Baba Mati Das (Rohan Kymal) who brings fresh talent to the Lipitones along with cultural diversity. And while there is a great interplay between the characters, complete with witty innuendos, there are also tensions punctuated by Phil's prejudicial comments. The differences in these men pose a threat to the future of the Lipitones.
The music in The Fabulous Lipitones in outstanding and the quartet delivers the pieces flawlessly. While barbershop quartets have been highlighted in other musicals, this show is driven by the incredible harmonies and songs that comprise the art of a capella.
Barbershop selections include favorites like I Ain't Got Nobody, I want a Girl and Beautiful Dreamer. And there are original songs are composed by Randy Courts and Mark St. Germain. The fine musical direction and vocal arrangements are by Steve Delehanty and additional musical direction is provided by Steven Freeman.
The Fabulous Lipitones is pure fun from the opening scene to the final curtain call. Performances will continue at George Street Playhouse through Sunday, December 14th. Tickets range from $25 to $68 and can be purchased by contacting the box office at (732) 246-7717 or visit www.GSPonline.org. The playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick's vibrant downtown restaurant and theatre district.
Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson