For a limited time, you don’t drive down to Main Street U.S.A. to hear the tight harmonies of a barbershop quartet. Theatrical Outfit’s world premiere of Mark St. Germain and John Markus’ The Fabulous Lipitiones is an entertaining tale of a singing group about to make its way to the national barbershop singing competition.
Directed by Justin Anderson, the show features a talented cast whose harmonies are delighting audiences in a witty, charming musical about three aging men and their love of singing. A fourth member of the group literally keels over in the opening scene, and thus the group is forced to find another singer who can sing the music, only the one they find isn’t the all American guy they wanted.
The characters of Howard (Tom Key), Phil (William S. Murphey) and Wally (Glenn Rainey) recruit Bob (Daniel Hilton), a mechanic from the local auto shop in Babcock, Ga., after hearing him singing over the phone. What they don’t know is that he is a Sihk. What unfolds is twist of harmony, hilarity and acceptance.
Each of the four actors excel in singing in this classic style, and each one gives a memorable performance. Key’s performance is touching and funny as straight-laced character of Howard. Rainey provides laughs as Wally, but it is the contents of his i-Phone that induce the most amusement. Murphey creates a strong performance as the gruff Phil who comes to accept Bob, delightfully played by Hilton.
The show wants to make a statement on race, immigration and growing old, but it doesn’t quite accomplish all three successfully. It does, however, mange to execute the idea of Carpe Diem. While providing a fresh look at racism and immigration politics, there are places that don’t work all that well and distract, such as some of Phil’s demeaning comments to Bob.
With music direction and arrangements by Michael Monroe, the singing becomes the true star of the show. The acapella style of babershop features tight harmonies that blend together to sound as one, and the four cast members are flawless in their execution. In addition, Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay, have created a detailed set for the musical, which takes place mostly in Howard’s basement bar and practice area for the group.
Hilarious and amusing,The Fabulous Lipitones plays through April 21, 2013 at Theatrical Outfit. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The shows run time is an hour and a half with no intermission.