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Guest Blog: No second acts in American lives? Take that

Guest Blog: No second acts in American lives? Take that, Scott Fitzgerald!

By David Foil Call it a tipping point. Call it a watershed. Call it, by all means, a “magic moment.” However you characterize it, Barbara Cook’s concert at Carnegie Hall on January 29, 1975, was a kind of joyous pivotal event in our love affair with classic American songs. Columbia Masterworks’ live recording of the […]

Sondheim the Balladeer

Sondheim the Balladeer

The vast majority of Broadway ballads springs from boy-meets-girl, boy-loves-girl romance. But you know that Stephen Sondheim; he’s always looking for ways to expand musical theater horizons. So while the new anthology, Send in the Clowns: The Ballads of Stephen Sondheim – now available for digital downloads — does offer odes to love, it shows […]

Comedy Tonight!

Comedy Tonight!

In “Comedy Tonight,” one of Broadway’s best opening numbers (for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1962), Stephen Sondheim wrote “Weighty affairs will just have to wait” – a nice example of his deft wordplay. But this week, we’re talking about an eighty affair that just cannot wait. We must […]

Side by Side

Why You Should Hear a Waltz

I’ve often seen it happen, soon after Stephen Sondheim has taken the stage and is interviewed by a moderator. Eventually the moderator opens the floor to questions, and inevitably, someone asks, “Mr. Sondheim, of all your shows, what’s your favorite?” Just as inevitably, Sondheim answers, “I don’t have a favorite, but I have a least […]

What Cast Albums Give That Soundtracks Don’t, Part II

You may recall that last week I listed 25 of the best songs that cast albums offer that soundtracks do not – because, more often than not, the film versions dropped these musical gems. Although there are well more than a hundred that fit that category, I whittled my personal favorites list down to 50 […]

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.