'The Fabulous Lipitones' to open at Theater at the J


Bob Hay, Brett P. Carson, and Bob Brandenburg rehearse for the upcoming production of 'The Fabulous Lipitones' at Theater at the J. The show also stars Giovanni Barrio.

When a barbershop quartet loses their lead singer to a heart-stopping high "B-Flat" and they are expected to perform at the National Barbershop Convention and annual meeting of the SPEBSQSA (Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.). What do they do? As they desperately search for a new tenor, the parochial mid-westerners defy convention to welcome Bob as the unlikely replacement. Featuring favorite upbeat tunes, this new play is an uproarious comedy of misunderstanding, stereotypes and the path to perfect harmony.

This show, "The Fabulous Lipitones," will be staged March 31-April 10, at The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando's Theater at the J in their Harriett & Hymen Lake Cultural Center Auditorium.

As the producing director at Theater at the J, Kerry Giese gets to decide what shows to present. He needs to decide whether or not a show is family-friendly; whether or not they can accomplish a great production with the actors and actresses and designers available in the Orlando area; if they can afford to put on a great production; and most importantly will people buy tickets and come see the show? Without an audience, why do it?

He was browsing publishing companies' websites and considering shows. On the website of Dramatists Publishers, he brushed by a page for a show called "The Fabulous Lipitones." Initially, he clicked onto the next page because he had never heard of the show and he knew that no one in our community had ever heard of the show so it would be too hard to sell. Something drew him back. After reading a quick synopsis, the idea became more intriguing. He clicked on a "read the first few pages" button. He read those and was even more intrigued. He downloaded the full script and sat in his office reading it on the screen of his computer. He rarely laughs out loud when reading a script because he is always thinking about how he can stage the production. However, as he read the script for "The Fabulous Lipitones" he just kept laughing. Out loud. Anyone walking by his office would probably wonder what in the world was happening. No noise, no music and then a loud belly laugh. He couldn't stop laughing. Then, once he considered the message of this script, he realized he had to get it in front of an audience.

"As the world shrinks around us, we realize how inundated we are with other cultures and how much we need to try to understand others," Giese said. "We say we believe that we are all brothers and sisters but we don't always act that way. In 'The Fabulous Lipitones' we see four men trying to join diverse cultures, religious differences, and personal family traditions to make one voice."

To paraphrase what Bob says in the script, "How can we make harmony when there is no harmony between us?"

The Theater at the J is located inside The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando. "The Fabulous Lipitones" opens Thursday, March 31 and runs Thursday nights, Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons for two weekends. Tickets for this family-friendly show start at $20 and are available on http://www.orlandojcc.org.


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