The Colony Theatre Company
Barbara Beckley, Artistic Director

The Fabulous Lipitones

by John Markus & Mark St. Germain
Original Music by Randy Courts   Original Lyrics by Mark St. Germain

The Fabulous Lipitones
Steve Gunderson, Asante Gunewardena, Dennis Holland, John Racca

Musical Director
Scenic Designer
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Scenic Art
Production Stage Manager
Casting Director
Public Relations
Technical Director
Dialect Coach
Set Construction
Master Electrician
Assistant to Sound Designer
Production Crew
Light Board Operator
Sound Engineer
Stage Crew
Key Art
Production Photography

John Markus
Sam Kriger
Murphy Cross
David Potts
Dianne K. Graebner
Bill Kickbush
Drew Dalzell
John McElveney
Orlando de la Paz
Art Brickman
Patricia Cullen
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Nike Doukas
Red Colegrove, Le Sanne Bernandez/Grove Scenery
Watson Bradshaw
Heather Waters
Emily Abbott, Rene Parras Jr.
Brian Cordoba
Gillian C. Moon
Desanka Ilic, Rene Parras, Jr.
Orlando de la Paz
Michael Lamont

CAST (in order of speaking)

Howard Dunphy
Wally Smith
Phil Rizzardi
Baba Mati Das (Bob)

Voices of Ralph, Officer Frank Vandemutter, Skip
Voice of Ted, News Anchor

John Racca
Steve Gunderson
Dennis Holland
Asante Gunewardena

Larry Cedar
Kevin Symons


The Present


London, Ohio. A farm town 40 miles west of Columbis.
Basement of Howard Dunphy
Reno Grand Regency Auditorium, Rene, Nevada

There will be one 15 minute intermission
Running time: Approximately 2 hours

A Q&A with John Markus

What is your vision for The Fabulous Lipitones? Tell us about your inspirations.

JOHN MARKUS: Growing up in London, Ohio (pop. 6,000), I’ve held to my nostalgia for the traditional leanings of the Midwest. My family is Jewish—the only one in that farm town—but I played clarinet in small bands at Methodist church socials, Presbyterian picnics, and polka dances. As an “Other” who became a comedy writer, I cannot help but consider the darker lining of these traditions. The idea of enjoying while challenging everything old-fashioned appeals to me. Mark St. Germain and my vision was to celebrate, and yet shake up, the cultural comfort zone of these characters.

Talk a bit about the collaboration and how the show came about.

JM: Mark and I first worked together twenty years ago when he wrote episodes of “The Cosby Show.” From the get-go, he struck me as a writer’s writer, someone capable of hatching the big idea, with the discipline and prodigious gifts to execute it. We’ve collaborated on and off over the years, but two years ago he began semi-harassing me with phone calls broadly outlining a piece set in the world of competition barbershop, centered around a quartet losing its prized member. I didn’t see it then, but the calls kept coming. To get them to stop, we sat down at the picnic table in his backyard and fleshed out what became The Fabulous Lipitones. Writing this play with Mark, and now directing it, has been the most joyous creative experience of my career. But I do miss getting those calls.

Do you see the stories we tell as a catalyst for change?

JM: Those who carry prejudice or are set in their ways live by a narrow set of truths. They choose to cling to what they know rather go than risk the unknown. To allay fears, the more dark-hearted compensate by assuming a superior place to others, diminishing, even oppressing their subjects. A well-told story has the power to lead an audience gingerly into new territory. Engaged by identifiable characters and a compelling tale, an audience willingly travels from their cushioned seats into places unknown. And that’s when change happens—when what’s unknown becomes familiar. It’s subversive: I’ll gently nudge them through their fears.

Does comedy help people get there?

JM: Of course. As long as the laughter isn’t at the expense of character, or the manipulation of story. When there’s truth in your characters and their behaviors, laughter will encourage your audience to take any journey you want! And then, most satisfying of all, they feel rewarded for going along for the ride.

Did you know much about barbershop before The Fabulous Lipitones?

JM: I was a musician into my thirties. As a kid, my babysitter, a woman who lived across the street and insisted we call her Grandma Kaveney (Irish Catholic), took us in most Saturday nights. A great Midwestern cook, she did an amazing Johnny Marzetti—a casserole of ground beef, tomato, cheddar cheese, and elbow macaroni. And she’d use this delicacy as a bribe to get us to watch The Lawrence Welk Show with her. Sitting there with our sing-along “grandma,” stuffing ourselves with comfort food, I fell in love the show’s very fine musicianship and beautifully crafted music. Seriously. Today, I embarrass myself with my love of Barbershop, Dixieland, and Swing Bands. Needless to say, much of my time is spent alone.


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