Penguin Rep Theatre (Joe Brancato, founding artistic director, and Andrew M. Horn, executive director) presents the New York premiere of “The Fabulous Lipitones,” a musical comedy by John Markus (head writer for “The Cosby Show”) and Mark St. Germain (“Freud’s Last Session,” “Becoming Dr. Ruth”), directed by Peter Flynn, and starring Broadway veterans P.J. Benjamin (“Wicked,” “Chicago”), Scott Mikita (Phantom of the Opera), and Joe Ricci (“A View from the Bridge”), joined by Rachid Sabitri, from August 8 through August 31 in Stony Point, New York.
When one of its members dies just before a competition, a barbershop quartet together since high school reluctantly recruits a replacement whose music and culture couldn’t be more different than theirs. “This leads to a very funny story – complete with classic songs and wonderful singing — about what it takes to create real harmony,” says Mr. Brancato.
The cast of “The Fabulous Lipitones” includes P.J. Benjamin (as Phil) who has starred as the Wizard of Oz in Wicked on Broadway and across the country for five plus years, and as the lovable Mr. Cellophane for over 2000 performances in the Broadway hit Chicago, as well as appearing on Broadway in “Torch Song Trilogy,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Pippin,” and “Charlie and Algernon;” Scott Mikita (as Howard), who has been a Swing in the Broadway company of “Phantom of the Opera” for 13 years, where he keeps over a dozen roles in his head at all times; Joe Ricci (as Wally) who made his Broadway debut as Mike in A View from the Bridge starring Liev Schrieber and Scarlett Johansson, and most recently played Angelo in the York Theatre’s production of Buddy’s Tavern; and Rachid Sabitri (as Bob) who has appeared in Rafta Rafta at London’s National Theatre and Romeo and Juliet in the West End, as well as being a regular character on the BBC radio soap “Silver Street.”
Playwright John Markus (Co-writer) wrote or co-wrote 67 episodes of “The Cosby Show,” earning an Emmy, a Peabody and two Humanitas prizes, co-created the Cosby spin-off “A Different World,” which ran for six seasons on NBC, and was consulting producer on “The Larry Sanders Show.”
Mark St. Germain (co-writer) is an award-winning playwright, author, film and television writer whose work for the stage includes the long-running Off Broadway hit “Freud’s Last Session,” “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” and “The Best of Enemies.”
Director Peter Flynn staged the star-studded Broadway concerts of “On the Twentieth Century ” starring Douglas Sills, Marin Mazzie, and Joanne Worley; Chess at the New Amsterdam Theater, starring Josh Groban; and “Funny Girl” (also at the New Amsterdam) starring Whoopi Goldberg, Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Gallagher, among others.
The production team for “The Fabulous Lipitones” includes designers Patrick Rizzotti (set), Charlotte Palmer-Lane (costumes), Betsy Adams (lights), and Beth Lake (sound); musical director Kyle Branzel; choreographer Lorna Ventura; properties/technical director Kyle Bridwell; and stage manager Nia Sciarretta.
Performance days and times are: Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. A special reduced-priced weekday matinee performance is slated for Friday, August 8, at 2:00 p.m. Performances are scheduled at Penguin Rep Theatre’s intimate, 108-seat theatre located at 7 Crickettown Road. The facility, a converted 1880s hay barn which was upgraded in 1986 and 2007, features air conditioning, wheelchair accessible rest rooms and entrance, upholstered theatre seats, and plenty of free parking.
Individual tickets are priced at $40 each (plus a $1 per ticket service charge). An early ordering discount ($32) is available if tickets are purchased prior to August 10. Discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more and young people (30 and under). To order tickets or for further information, visit Penguin Rep’s website at www.penguinrep.org or call 845-786-2873.