Never before have I seen such perfection and expression of totally in sync synergy as flows in a tidal wave of laughter from the stage at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. The current show, The Fabulous Lipitones is simply peerless. To achieve that rare level requires the best from all involved; the writers, director cast and crew and it is all there in perfect harmony.
The show begins at the funeral of one of the four men who have for decades performed together as a barber shop quartet. Doing so has long been their passion and they are truly irrepressible. But things change, times change and as one of the characters expresses when asked if they do Doo Wop, “No Doo Wop is dead, Barber Shop Quartets are extinct.”
What evolves is the revelation of each character and their sometimes strained relationships over decades together. While they differ in many ways it is their music that keeps them bonded together such that when they hear Bob singing in the background during a phone conversation they invite Bob to audition as a possible replacement for their recently deceased partner. With misgivings expressed they nevertheless agree to grant Bob an audition. Then pandemonium erupts when Bob arrives for his audition.
It is a brilliant look at real world life and behavior properly and richly soaked in abundant humor. John Markus and Mark St. Germain co-wrote the play and Emmy Award winner Markus directed. Get to know a bit more about John Markus [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0549016/] and Mark St Germain [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1059505/] and it is abundantly clear that they brought enormous experience and talent to the project. Likewise Musical Director Sam Kriger is a man of established talent having among other things performed as vocal coach for the massively successful film Frozen [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0471280/].
But it is always the cast that must deliver from the writer through the director to the audience and that cast in this Colony Theatre presentation of The Fabulous Lipitones could not have been better. Steve Gunderson [Wally Smith], Dennis Holland [Phil Rizzardi], John Racca [Howard Dunphy] and Asante Gunedwardena [Bob] each perform at the pinnacle of their craft and deliver to the audience nearly two hours of pure joy and unstoppable laughter. Of course there are many others involved in presenting this great show and to each and all I offer my sincere kudos even as I must apologize for space constraints preventing naming all individually.
The theatre company itself with a shining 40 year history and this spectacular launch of its 41st season the Colony Theatre in Burbank, California is truly one of the brightest star in town. One major factor is clearly Barbara Beckley, Artistic Director whose charm and wit sets the mood with her offer of free cookies for $5 and a free pen for subscribing for the season. Maybe you need to be there but she is charming and funny.
In fact you absolutely need to be there for this show; The Fabulous Lipitones. It is quite possibly one of funniest and overall best shows I have ever seen; yes it is that good. The audience seemed to concur as they gave the performers a well-deserved standing ovation.
The Fabulous Lipitones is currently wowing audiences at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street, Burbank, California now through August 23rd. The Colony Theatre is conveniently located adjacent to the Burbank Town Center shopping mall which makes parking easy and free. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM and matinees on Saturday at 3:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. You may order tickets by calling 818-558-7000 Ext. 15 or online at www.colonytheatre.org.
This is the best damn show currently onstage in the greater Los Angeles area. Do not miss it.
Local theatre aficionados will also very much enjoy this book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/ron-irwin/hollywood-on-stage-a-critical-review-by-ron-irwin/paperback/product-22185952.html.
Copyright © 2015 Ron Irwin