Written by John Markus and Mark St. Germain
Directed by John Markus
July 6, 2015...Burbank...The Colony Theatre is thrilled to present the first production of its 41st season, the California Premiere of THE FABULOUS LIPITONES by John Markus and Mark St. Germain, directed by John Markus, with Musical Direction by Sam Kriger and Choreography by Murphy Cross. THE FABULOUS LIPITONES will preview on Wednesday, July 22; Thursday, July 23; and Friday, July 24 at 8:00pm. It will open on Saturday, July 25 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, August 23.
A barbershop quartet that's sung together for nearly thirty years suddenly loses their lead singer when he drops dead at a regional competition, belting out a heart-stopping high B-flat in front of the judges. But he holds his note until the end of the song, and the quartet wins! Now, the three surviving members must put an end to their bickering and find a replacement in time for the Nationals. During a phone call, they hear a beautiful lead voice who could be their salvation – but when he shows up, he's a young Indian Sikh wearing a turban. And the quartet's bass singer is Archie Bunker. It's a wonderful comedy with music about the journey all four have to take to find their voice together. A CALIFORNIA PREMIERE.
"Pure fun from the opening scene to the final curtain call...A hit show for sure!"
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
JOHN MARKUS (Co-Author/Director) is an Emmy Award-winning writer who began his career in high school, supplying jokes about his rural Ohio hometown to Broadway columnist Earl Wilson. After graduating from Stanford University he moved to Los Angeles where he landed a job writing a revival of the animated Mighty Mouse. Accepted into Paramount's apprentice program, he was a staff writer on Working Stiffs, a short-lived sitcom starring Michael Keaton and Jim Belushi. After an assignment on Paramount's Emmy-winning Taxi, Markus joined the original writing staff of The Cosby Show. Promoted to Supervising Producer after the first six episodes, he returned for the show's second season as co-executive producer and show runner. He remained headwriter with the acclaimed series until 1991. During his tenure, he wrote or co-wrote 67 episodes, earning an Emmy, a Peabody, back-to-back Humanitas prizes, and a People's Choice award for "The Greatest Sitcom of All Time." He next co-created the Cosby spin-off A Different World, which ran for six seasons on NBC. Markus next co-created the critically-acclaimed Lateline with Al Franken for Paramount Network Television and NBC. He was consulting producer on The Larry Sanders Show, co-writing the Emmy-nominated Ellen Degeneres episode, "Ellen: Is She Or Isn't She?" A play, The Sons of Liberty, his first collaboration with Mark St. Germain, was staged as a prototype for an NBC television series at the American Place Theater and directed by Jerry Zaks. He became theater-struck. The Fabulous Lipitones debuted at Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta in Spring of 2013. This play with music has had productions at Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, George Street Playhouse in New Jersey, The Taproot in Seattle, and The Julie Harris Theater in Wellfleet, Mass., which Markus directed. He just finished "The Kings of BBQ Barbecue Kuwait," an award-winning documentary film chronicling the mission of cooking authentic-style BBQ for our troops stationed in The Mideast. He created the Destination America television series, "BBQ Pitmasters," which takes the first in-depth look at the world of competition barbecue. Back in ‘99, Markus was served some bad ribs grilled by now-Senator Al Franken, which set him on a quest: what is true low-and-slow Southern-style BBQ, and how does one make it? In the course of his culinary journey, he apprenticed under world champion Pitmasters Paul Kirk of Kansas City, aka The Baron of Barbecue, and Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson in Decatur, Alabama. Markus' own competition team, Central Pork West, cooks regularly on the New England BBQ circuit and has garnered many awards in the categories of chicken, ribs, and brisket. Just last year, The Kansas City Barbecue Society awarded him a PhB – an honorary status bestowed upon only a handful of proven Pitmasters.MARK ST. GERMAIN (Co-Author) wrote the play Freud's Last Session, which has broken box office records nation-wide. He also wrote Becoming Dr. Ruth, The Best of Enemies, Camping with Henry and Tom (Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards), The God Committee, Out of Gas on Lover's Leap, and Forgiving Typhoid Mary. With Randy Courts he wrote the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye, and Jack's Holiday. His musical Stand by Your Man was written for Nashville's Ryman Theater. Mark co-wrote the screenplay for Carroll Ballard's film Duma, and directed and produced the documentary My Dog featuring Richard Gere, Lynn Redgrave, and Billy Collins. He also wrote the award-winning children's book, Three Cups. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writer's Guild East, and is an Associate Artist at the Barrington Stage Company.
MURPHY CROSS (Choreographer) happily returns to the Colony Theatre where her Ovation and Tony award-winning show Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! has been featured twice - once before Broadway and once after! She also co-directed and choreographed The All Night Strut at The Colony with WetRock Entertainment partner Paul Kreppel. Murphy has choreographed for John Travolta, Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, Rip Taylor, Sally Struthers, Katherine Helmond, Garry Shandling and Howie Mandel, to drop a few names. Fun gigs have been HBO's Deadwood and Carnivale, Coach, Roseanne, Sabrina TheTeenage Witch, Yes, Dear... Other theatre choreography includes Annie Get Your Gun (with Donna McKechnie); Oh, Coward (Denver Theatre Center); Little Shop of Horrors; The Cradle Will Rock; Maybe Baby It's You (LA); Don't Hug Me; Both Barrels (Goodspeed); Anything Goes; A Good Swift Kick (Off Broadway); Noel & Gertie, and ...Forum. Murphy also directs and choreographs for Enrichment Works which brings theatre to Southern California schools to inspire learning. She is a Broadway alumna of A Chorus Line, Pal Joey, Division Street, and Bubbling Brown Sugar. Most recently she danced and sang in the lab of Jerry Mitchell's new show Gotta Dance! in NYC. www.murphycross.com
ABOUT THE CAST AND DESIGN TEAM
STEVE GUNDERSON (Wally Smith) co-wrote, starred in, and was the musical arranger for Off Broadway's Suds, which has gone on to have dozens of productions worldwide. He co-created (with Kathy Najimy), arranged, and starred in Off Broadway's critically acclaimed Back To Bacharach & David, which was revived in Hollywood with the participation of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. His new show, Everybody's Talkin': The Music of Harry Nilsson starring Tony Award winners Alice Ripley and Gregory Jbara had its world premiere in May at San Diego Rep Theatre. Acting credits include His Girl Friday, The Nightingale, and Memphis at La Jolla Playhouse; Hadrian VII, A Trip To Chinatown, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the Old Globe Theatre; David Mamet's Romance, Christopher Durang's Miss Witherspoon, and Hairspray (San Diego Critics Award Winner) at San Diego Rep; the National Tour of The Grapes of Wrath with Ed Harris, 8 (battling it out with opposing attorney Richard Dreyfuss) at the Birch Theatre, as well as major roles at Pasadena Playhouse, Laguna Playhouse, La Mirada Theatre, and the Alliance Theatre, working with such directors as Jack O'Brien, Moises Kaufman, and Christopher Ashley. For over two years he played "Sparky" in Off Broadway's Forever Plaid, and logged in over a thousand performances of the role in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Diego. Steve did multiple voices on The King of the Hill and (The New) Beavis & Butthead. Love to his family: Kaore and Wilbur.
ASANTE GUNEWARDENA (Baba Mati Singh – "Bob") hails from sunny southern California, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from Chapman University, Orange, CA. He furthered his education at Oklahoma City University, where he earned a Master of Music in Musical Theater. After completing his educational goals, he moved to New York City in pursuit of his musical career. Over the years, he has been a part of numerous musical groups spanning a cappella, jazz, pop, gospel, opera, and musical theater. Some of his favorite roles are Frederick in Pirates of Penzance and Lun Tha in The King and I.
DENNIS HOLLAND (Phil Rizzardi) Broadway/National Tour- The Music Man, Peter Pan; Off- Broadway- Sessions, Evening at the Algonguin, Bonnie and Clyde, Drift, Rope (Best Actor Award, Adonis Festival 2015; Regional- 1776 (Goodspeed), Guys and Dolls (Guthrie Theatre), The Sound of Music (Papermill Playhouse), Parade (Arden Theatre, Barrymore Award nominee 2014)), over 200 Audiobooks (Audiofile Earphone Award), dozens of documentaries and commercials, and numerous television and film credits.
JOHN RACCA (Howard Dunphy) is delighted to return to The Colony, where he last appeared in The Grand Tour (Papa Clairon). John recently lent his voice to NFL player Payton Manning, in a barbershop sequence (Men In Stripes) of a Directv commercial (you can see John in the print ads!). He appeared in the Dapper Dans, the barbershop quartet of Disneyland at the 50th Anniversary, and appears around town in The Perfect Gentlemen barbershop, stopping by the Queen Mary on July 4th. National tours in musicals include Meet Me In St. Louis (Boy Next Door), She Loves Me (Georg u/s), Jesus Christ Superstar (Annas), and Man Of La Mancha starring Robert Goulet (Paco). Debut: Sacramento Music Circus, 24 appearances including Camelot (Mordred), Grease (Doody), and Footloose (Principal Harry Clark). Regional: South Pacific (Emile DeBecque), Peter Pan (Captain Hook), La Cage Aux Folles (George), Oklahoma! (Curly), South Pacific (Lt. Cable), Finian's Rainbow (Woody). SoCal: White Christmas (Bob Wallace), Young Frankenstein (Victor Von Frankenstein), The Producers (Mr. Marks/ Jason Green), No, No, Nanette (Billy Early), Cabaret (Cliff), Anything Goes (Billy Crocker), Evita (Magaldi), Brigadoon (Charlie Dalrymple), The Melody Lingers On (Irving Berlin), West Side Story (Tony), Sunday In The Park With George (Louis), Jekyll & Hyde (Simon Stride), and many others. TV: General Hospital. John has toured in musicals on four continents; Taiwan (Evita), South America (Ray Conniff Singers), and appeared in cabaret houses and hotel restaurants across Western Europe including the Monte Carlo Casino. He has been a member of Actors Equity Association since 1983.
THE FABULOUS LIPITONES features a stellar design team. The Scenic Design is by David Potts (Emmy Award – HBO's Deadwood). The Costume Design is by Dianne K. Graebner (Ovation nominations – The Brothers Karamazov and Battle Hymn). The Lighting Design is by Bill E. Kickbush (USA International Ballet Competition, Utah Festival Opera). The Sound Design is by Drew Dalzell (Ovation Award – Songs for a New World). Props Design and Set Dressing is by Colony Theatre resident propmaster John M. McElveney and Scenic Art is by resident artist Orlando de la Paz.
ABOUT THE SCHEDULE AND PRICING
THE FABULOUS LIPITONES will open on Saturday, July 25 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, August 23. Performances for THE FABULOUS LIPITONES are Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 3:00pm & 8:00pm; and Sundays at 2:00pm. Ticket prices range from $25.00 - $49.00 (group discounts are available). THE FABULOUS LIPITONES will preview on Wednesday, July 22, Thursday, July 23, Friday, July 24 at 8:00pm at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street (at Cypress) adjacent to the Burbank Town Center Mall. Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $59.00. There are question-and-answer talkbacks after the performances on Friday, July 31 and Thursday, August 13. For tickets, call the Colony Theatre Box Office at 818/558-7000 ext. 15 or online at ColonyTheatre.org.
The Colony Theatre has long been a vibrant center of L.A.'s theatre life. Its subscribers renew at an astounding rate of 90%, and in 2012 the theatre received nine Ovation Award nominations, including the coveted one for Best Season. From its beginnings in 1975 as a 99-seat Equity-waiver theatre in Silver Lake, the company became so successful artistically, and built such a large subscriber base, that in 2000 it was able to move into a 270-seat state-of-the-art theatre created for it by the City of Burbank. As such, it became one of only a handful of mid-sized professional theatres in the L.A. area that produce a year-round season of plays and musicals, and that employ actors under contract with Actors' Equity Association. The theatre is located at 555 North Third Street, at the corner of Cypress, in the heart of Downtown Burbank. For further information, call (818) 558-7000. Fax number: (818) 558-7110. E-mail: email@example.com. Or visit our website at colonytheatre.org.