Peter Filichia

View on Amazon

Speaking to long time theater critic Peter Filichia, one is reminded of listening to an old-time sportwriter talk about baseball. The Broadway he describes is full of colorful personalities, anecdotes, dates, numbers, and trivia. His spirit is enthusiastic and infectious: he’s turned his love of Broadway into a career. It’s a wonderful counterpoint to the all-too-typical theater discussions about what’s broken in the non-profit system or funding models.

His book, Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season 1959–2009 (Applause, 2010), is more than just fun (though it is that!). The writing is clear and generous, and the stories occasionally revelatory. (Did you know that Edward Albee wrote a failed draft of the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” musical? Did you know that Sir Peter Hall once suggested that the best way to get the effect of zero gravity was . . . trampolines?) What strikes me most, though, is how Filichia’s own personal experience feeds his work. Theater is an art that requires attendance. Unlike reading a book or renting a movie, there really are only a certain number of people that actually saw the original production of “Pippin” or “On the Town.” Either you were there or you weren’t. Experience, in theater, can’t be replicated by Netflix or a library card.

{ 0 comments }

George HunkaWord Made Flesh: Philosophy, Eros, and Contemporary Tragic Drama

May 1, 2011

George Hunka’s book Word Made Flesh: Philosophy, Eros, and Contemporary Tragic Drama (Eyecorner Press, 2011) offers a series of challenges, provocations and meditations on Theatre (with a capital “T”). It’s a valuable piece of work to wrestle with, inviting both consideration and criticism. Much of Word Made Flesh is distilled from his public musings on [...]

Read the full article →

Martin DentonPlays and Playwrights 2011

April 20, 2011

The world of “Off-Off Broadway” has been fertile soil for new American plays for decades. Since the late 1990s, one of its most fervent boosters and chroniclers has been Martin Denton, the founder of nytheatre.com and the editor and publisher of the Plays and Playwrights series from NYTE Small Press. The series began in 2000 [...]

Read the full article →

Pamela CobrinFrom Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway: The Emergence of Women on the New York Stage

April 6, 2011

Pamela Cobrin’s book From Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway: The Emergence of Women on the New York Stage, 1880-1927 (University of Delaware Press, 2009) investigates the suffragists and early feminists through the lens of performance. Broadly defining performance, she includes the amateur theatricals of Mary Shaw’s Gamut Club, the one-acts of the Provincetown [...]

Read the full article →