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The Overture Is about to Start

The Overture Is about to Start

By Peter Filichia — Everyone I know who got the recently released Arkiv CD of What Makes Sammy Run? has said the same thing to me: “What an overture!” Yes, it is, and for three good reasons. 1) There is no shortage of good songs. 2) There are dozens of musicians in the pit, with […]

Of These We Sing

Of These We Sing

By Peter Filichia — As we go to the polls this week, let’s talk about two musicals that deal with elections: Of Thee I Sing and its sequel Let ‘Em Eat Cake. Both had books by George S. Kaufman and Morris Ryskind, music by George Gershwin and lyrics by his brother Ira. Each musical had […]

Remembering Bock and Harnick

Remembering Bock and Harnick

By Peter Filichia — As October ends, let’s stop to remember a stellar Broadway songwriting team whose last two shows celebrated anniversaries this month. Forty-four years ago on Oct. 18, 1966, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s The Apple Tree opened. Forty years ago, on Oct. 19, 1970, their musical version of The Rothschilds debuted. Sad […]

Sammy's Back and Running

Sammy’s Back and Running

By Peter Filichia — Sept. 21, 1998. The pilot episode of Will & Grace airs on NBC. Will Truman and his friends – including Jack McFarland – are playing poker. Jack is stalling, wondering if he should hold or discard. And while he wonders, he starts singing to himself. “A room without windows,” he drones. […]

October's Party

October’s Party

By Peter Filichia — Quite often during the month of October, I start thinking of George Cooper’s poem “October’s Party.” You’re pardoned if you don’t know it. It was the poem I chose to memorize in seventh grade when Sister Monicella (doncha love those old nuns’ pseudonyms?) demanded that we memorize one. With “only” twenty-four […]

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.