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JUNO – AND NOT THAT 2007 TEEN MOVIE By Peter Filichia

“How could a musical that boasted what many have called Blitzstein’s most melodic, accessible music have failed?” So asked Jeff Godsey in 2007. He was writing a paper on the 1959 musical JUNO for a historiography class at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. He shared it with me, and I’m glad he did, for we all […]

CLOSE BUT NO TONY By Peter Filichia

Which races were the closest in Tony history? We could ask this question of all two-dozen plus categories that have come, gone or stayed during the awards’ august seventy-four-year history. But for today, let’s limit it to musical performers in their four slots. This list isn’t intended to imply that those who wound up winning and […]

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The Butlers Did It By Peter Filichia

While listening to the splendid original cast album of LITTLE ME – in honor of the show’s fifth-eighth anniversary on Nov. 17 – I started thinking about a certain occupation that’s made its mark on Broadway. Butler. That may seem to be a strange thing to take away from LITTLE ME, given that anyone listening […]

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Do you know or remember the three suggestions that Oscar Hammerstein made to the staff of GYPSY after he’d attended a tryout performance in early 1959? One: Fix the loose doorknob on the set. Two: Move “You’ll Never Get away from Me” from the middle of the scene to the end. Three: Give the audience […]

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Let’s echo a phrase that Frank Rich wrote nearly thirty years ago. Rich, the esteemed theater critic for The New York Times, saw the Disney animated film BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. His reaction to composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman’s work? “It’s the best Broadway musical score of 1991.” Rich was being ironic but serious […]

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.