Let’s Immerse Ourselves in the Verse By Peter Filichia

“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,  Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free. Let us all be grateful for a land so fair As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”  Can you identify the song from which these words come? Believe me, you’ve heard the song hundreds of […]

The Genesis of Chicago

Chicago Reaches Its Majority By Peter Filichia

If a musical were a person, the revival of Chicago would now be old enough to drink in all fifty states. Precisely twenty-one years have passed since the revival of the Kander-Ebb-Fosse 1975 masterpiece opened its second Broadway run: three months at the Richard Rodgers, six years at the Shubert and then to the Ambassador […]

The Show Almost Called You're in Town

Urinetown Redux By Peter Filichia

Why have so many years passed since I played the cast album of Urinetown? Back in 2001, I had the disc on my CD player at a non-stop clip that threatened the claim that these silver slivers never wear out. T.S. (Cats) Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons; I was […]

The Lonny Price of Fame By Peter Filichia

Last week while I was attending the 29th annual Festival of New Musicals at New World Stages, a certain program bio caught my eye. The single white sheet for Prom Queen – which details Marc Hall’s struggles to take his boyfriend to The Big Dance at his Catholic School – provided information on its director […]



Last week we talked about lyricists who, when they needed a rhyme to fill out a line, might well have changed or invented a character’s name to match it. Really, were Drake and Mrs. Pugh the names of the butler and housekeeper that bookwriter Thomas Meehan had already written into Annie before Martin Charnin wrote, […]

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.