Ron Fassler Brings Back the Musical Memories By Peter Filichia

Ron Fassler undoubtedly agrees with John Rushton, the little tyke who insists, “Gee, it’s neat to be a newsboy,” in Working. For many of his early teenage years – roughly late 1967 to early 1973 – Fassler did that same job. Rushton never told us how he spent his earnings, but Fassler has: he attended […]


As events would have it, I heard Sammy Davis, Jr.’s recording of “The Candy Man” long before I saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Listen here. I enjoyed the Anthony Newley-Leslie Bricusse song along with much of America. Despite the music industry’s rock orientation, the easy-listenin’ ditty became a number-one hit. It also got Davis […]

Billy Porter Finds the Soul of Richard Rodgers By Peter Filichia

Billy Porter apparently agrees with Stephen Sondheim. While Sondheim was working (and struggling) with Richard Rodgers on the 1965 musical Do I Hear a Waltz? he came to the conclusion that the esteemed composer was “a man of infinite talent and limited soul.” Porter obviously appreciates that “infinite talent,” for in the last few years […]

Now Dreamgirls Will Never Leave You

By Peter Filichia London hasn’t made the mistake that Broadway did. For when the original Broadway cast album of Dreamgirls was recorded in 1982, ten of the twenty-eight Henry Krieger–Tom Eyen songs were missing from the LP and single CD. To be sure, when we discuss truncated musical theater recordings, we mourn Follies as the […]

See Hilary Morning, Noon and Knight By Peter Filichia

Needless to say, we all savor certain scores, songs and performances on original, revival and studio cast albums. In Half a Sixpence, we love hearing Tommy Steele play that banjo in “Money to Burn.” Through Hallelujah, Baby! we see how song styles gradually changed in the first six decades of the twentieth century thanks to Jule […]

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.