Filichia Features

Spencer Lau was quite proud of his pride of lions, his cackle of hyenas and every other group of animals he’d put on stage. For Lau — the music director at Woodruff School in Seabrook, New Jersey – is one of the first directors to bring DISNEY’S THE LION KING, JR. to a middle school. [...]

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If you were in college in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you were probably reading Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. even during the time you’d earmarked for physical science or calculus. The Baby Boomer generation was intoxicated with everything that maverick novelist Vonnegut (1922-2007) wrote. Campus quadrangles were filled with kids reading paperbacks of what was then his [...]

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So in 1970, when the nation was entranced with The Carpenters’ “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” Lonny Price was more interested in someone who didn’t necessarily want a girlfriend to be close to him: Bobby in COMPANY. “Believe it or not,” he said, “I was taken to it when I was 11 years [...]

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It was “The Road to the Final Four,” as CBS Sports trumpeted all month long. The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s College Basketball Tournament – more chummily known as “March Madness” — once again dominated the late winter sports news. Fine, and good luck to Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Wisconsin. I saw none of their [...]

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Victor Hugo is very much in place, but Victor, Hugo and Laverne are gone. We’re talking about one of the fundamental changes between the 1996 animated THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and the new stage version that officially debuted at the Paper Mill Playhouse on March 15. If you saw the hit film, you may [...]

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Stephen Sondheim has always loved New York, and, for the most part, Gotham has returned the love. Broadway’s greatest composer-lyricist who turns 85 this week has been a New York presence since his lyrics for WEST SIDE STORY reached Broadway in 1957. There has never been a year that a Stephen Sondheim lyric hasn’t had [...]

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When an event announces that it’s “the first annual,” we have to wonder if that’s truth-in-advertising. Yes, every happening has to start somewhere; there was a time when there were the first annual Tonys, Oscars, Emmys and Grammys – and, of course, there have been plenty more. And yet, the world has been littered with [...]

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The invitation for a party being held next Thursday by the Princess Cruises states “Please join us as we announce an industry-first entertainment partnership with the Oscar-winning composer of WICKED, PIPPIN and GODSPELL.” They mean, of course, Stephen Schwartz, who’s celebrating his sixty-seventh birthday on March 6. We can understand why the Princess people touted [...]

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Filichia Features: JOHN & JEN & JOHN

by Peter Filichia on February 27, 2015

in Filichia Features,John & Jen

Here’s what I’ve observed about brothers and sisters. They fight like mad when they’re young, but as time goes by, they start to see the other’s virtues. That leads to their truly loving each other. What makes JOHN & JEN a more compelling musical than most is that it shows the opposite scenario. The 1995 [...]

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So, after seeing a stunning performance of A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE at New York University, I was suddenly in the company of three men of great importance. Bookwriter Terrence McNally, composer Stephen Flaherty and John Simpkins, the show’s director, surrounded me on a panel I moderated. I commenced by a McNally line in THE [...]

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