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Articles by Chip Deffaa, Editor-at-Large

Rocky from Chip Deffaa’s July 17, 2014 column

July 17, 2014

A boxing musical? I just couldn't see it. Nor could I imagine there'd be an audience for this on Broadway. Nor could I imagine that I–who's never seen a boxing match in my life or had any interest in doing so–would enjoy such a Broadway show. But I was wrong. Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the script (based on Stallone's famed MGM/United Artists motion picture), have done a terrific job of good old-fashioned storytelling, making us care about the fate of an underdog, a down-on-his-luck boxer. And director Alex Timbers has staged this with enormous flair. [more]

If/Then Musical review by Chip Deffaa

July 17, 2014

My own personal favorite moment in the show–and of course this is subjective, simply one person's reaction to what he witnessed–was seeing/hearing Anthony Rapp sing to Menzel that she did not have to love him; they could make a life together work, even without that. The song was unusual, and it was performed to perfection, with Rapp giving a master class in how to act in singing a song, how to interpret lyrics with utter conviction, how to make a song compelling. [more]

City Center Encores production of Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick..BOOM!”

July 17, 2014

The audience packing City Center--whether applauding or laughing or cheering--certainly showed its enthusiasm throughout. The opening scene of "tick, tick...BOOM!" is very powerfully and economically written. I admire Larson's writing. Hearing those ticks (representing the relentless passing of time), and anticipating the coming boom (of an impending disaster that is somehow sensed without being fully understood) ... well, that came from a deep place. [more]

ON THE TOWN… with Chip Deffaa… (July 2, 2014)

July 2, 2014

The City Center Encores production of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick...BOOM! (directed by Oliver Butler) is the best show I've seen anywhere in a good while. And Lin-Manuel Miranda, in the leading role--as the Jonathan Larson surrogate--was a revelation. [more]

On The Town … With Chip Deffaa … April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

I sure felt the spirit of the late Jonathan Larson strongly at the Trumbull (Connecticut) High School's production of his musical Rent. This was the school, you may recall, where the principal tried to cancel the students' production of Rent, and the students protested successfully for weeks until they won the right to do the show. Perhaps the fact that they had to fight so hard to do the show gave them an extra investment in it. But they pulled it off well. [more]

Mickey Rooney .. An Appreciation

April 2, 2014

Mickey Rooney was always a treat, whether playing an Average Joe, a gangster, George M. Cohan, or Pinocchio.... I always loved seeing him, on screen or in person. And I liked talking with him. (One conversation we had, late in his life, was a little sad. He noted that for several years he had been MGM's biggest-money maker; in his heyday, his fans had packed movie theaters from coast to coast; no matter what films he was in. But now, his personal appearances tended to draw modest crowds. Where were his fans, he asked aloud, muttering that audiences were fickle. I didn't no how to respond. Audiences weren't necessarily fickle; he'd simply outlived most of his original fans.) [more]

On The Town .. Feb 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

As I write this, I've just gotten back from attending Edith O'Hara's 97th birthday party, and the 13th Street Repertory Theater (50 W. 13th Street, New York City), which she has long run. She is the senior-most theater-owner/producer in New York. She has an idealistic spirit I've long found inspiring. (I first met her years ago, when I wrote something about her and her theater for The New York Post. She was then battling real-estate developers who sought to demolish her theater and put up a high-rise in its place; she wasn't going to about to give up without a fight. All of these years later, she and her theater are still going strong. [more]
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