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MF IN MJ By Peter Filichia

There will be those who’ll automatically say, “If I want to listen to Michael Jackson, I’ll listen to Michael Jackson himself. Why would I buy a cast album with all the songs he made famous only to hear them sung by other people?” There’s another way of looking at the situation. The power of the […]


HAPPY 20TH, HAIRSPRAY! By Peter Filichia

When you think of it, HAIRSPRAY will actually be celebrating two anniversaries this week. Twenty years have passed since the musical theater aficionados met the Turnblads of Baltimore. And aren’t we glad we did? In his 1988 film, John Waters gave us irrepressible teen Tracy Turnblad that songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman beautifully musicalized […]

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SHRINK RAP By Peter Filichia

Do psychiatrists really take off the entire month of August? Judith Rossner certainly substantiated this belief in her novel – called, naturally enough, AUGUST. However, a 2010 Wall Street Journal article said a psychiatrist’s skipping 31 consecutive midsummer days had become a thing of the past. That’s good news for our 21st-century musical theater characters, […]

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Getting into INTO THE WOODS Again By Peter Filichia

As a certain Witch sings, “Don’t you know what’s out there in the world?” Sure! There’s a new production of INTO THE WOODS at Broadway’s St. James Theatre. Can it really be 35 years since composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and bookwriter James Lapine debuted their new musical (and eventually won Tonys for it)? That question came […]

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It happened again this week. I met Marie, who lives in Alaska – Alaska, Pennsylvania – who’s been reading me since the days of THEATER WEEK. During lunch, my first question was, “So, how did you get interested in musicals?” Once again, the answer was one I receive from people who live in such places […]

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.