Musicals and Miss America By Peter Filichia

I’ll offer half-hearted congratulations to Cara Mund, the first Miss North Dakota to become Miss America. My reservation? As part of the pageant’s Talent Competition, she didn’t sing a song from a Broadway musical. So with me, Mund’s name is Mud. To be fair, Mund was brave in defying the advice given by “Pageant Center,” […]


“The Music Man – what else?” So says Jeffrey Sheldrake in the 1960 Oscar-winning Best Picture The Apartment. The quip comes after he’s just handed over his theater tickets to Chuck Baxter, who then asked what Broadway show he’d be seeing. In 1959, fifty-eight years ago this week, on September 12th right here in front […]

Wildcat – Original Broadway Cast Recording 1960

Looking over a Possible “Hey, Look Me Over!” By Peter Filichia

Will Encores! ever do Wildcat? The 1960 musical is most famous for bringing Lucille Ball to Broadway, but it should also be remembered for its marvelous score. This was the initial collaboration for composer Cy Coleman and lyricist Carolyn Leigh – and the first time that each had a show in which every song was […]

Musical Theater's M.V.C.

Living Here Is Very Much Like Chop Suey By Peter Filichia

Given that August 29th is “National Chop Suey Day,” whom do we thank for inventing this succulent dish that has graced many a Column A and Column B? Should it be Qing Dynasty premier Li Hongzhang’s chef, who whipped it up during their visit to America in the late 1800s? A 19th century Chinese chef […]

Peter Filichia is the theater critic emeritus for the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey and News 12 New Jersey.

He is a columnist each Friday for and

Filichia is the author of Let’s Put on a Musical, now in its third printing; Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit of the Season / The Biggest Flop of the Season and Broadway Musical MVPs 1960-2010: The Most Valuable Players of the Last 50 Seasons. His new book, Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks will be published in May, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press.

He has been a columnist for Playbill,, Theatermania and Theater Week.

Before joining the Theatre World Awards in 1996 as host and head of the selection committee, Filichia served four terms as president of the Drama Desk. He has served on an assessment panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and is currently critic-in-residence for the University of Cincinnati-Conservatory of Music and the musical theater judge for the ASCAP Awards program.