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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—One would think that, in 2014, a musical comedy about a barbershop quartet would be dated.
Not the case with the Fabulous Lipitones of London, Ohio. Playwrights John Markus and Mark St. Germain have skillfully made this play contemporary.
At the funeral for their lead voice, who died suddenly, the remaining middle aged trio are at odds about the fate of this fading group of harmonizing vocalists.
Wonderfully acted by Donald Corren as Phil, Jim Walton as Howard and Wally Dunn as Wally, now leaderless, the group realizes the waning popularity of barbershop quartets.
Phil thinks it’s best to let the group die a painless demise.
Wally, not quite ready to give up demands a vote and convinces Howard the “Fabulous Lipitones” still have enough kick in them to take the nationals. That is, if they find a replacement for their departed leader.
Overhearing a chance phone call, the trio becomes aware of the velvety vibrato voice of”‘Bob.”
Hoping he’s the group’s savior. Bob is invited to Howard’s basement to audition. When Bob shows up. Howard informs the group that ‘Bob’ is not your traditional Barbershop quartet singer.
Bob, a Sikh, reflects the ever-expanding American demographic and is delighted at the prospect of joining the Fabulous Lipitones and becoming “one of the guys.”
Delightfully played by Rohan Kymal, Bob is a charming and endearing character who’s longing to assimilate while holding on to his Sikh identity and becoming the needed fourth voice of the Fabulous Lipitones is both touching and humorous.
This crowd-pleasing, well-acted fun night of theater has good harmonizing and a likable group of guys with excellent chemistry.
The Fabulous Lipitones runs at the George Street Playhouse on Livingston Avenue through December 14. Tickets and information is available at the theatre’s website.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.