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George M. Cohan

Irving Berlin and Me (And a Brush with Death Along the Way)

April 5, 2022

In the past 20 years, I’ve produced a total of 34 different albums; 16 of them have dealt with Irving Berlin (1888-1989). The newest album in this ongoing Berlin series, "Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin: Love Songs and Such"--featuring such gifted artists as Betty Buckley, Karen Mason, Steve Ross, Anita Gillette, Jon Peterson, Natalie Douglas, Jeff Harnar, Sarah Rice, Bobby Belfry, Keith Anderson, Molly Ryan, and Seth Sikes--was the hardest of all the albums to produce. And, for reasons I’ll address in a bit, it took by far the longest time to produce; life is not always easy. But for me, this is the most satisfying album of the bunch. (And as I type these words, I’m happy to note it’s just been nominated for a MAC Award, which is extra gratifying!) I know I’ve made a worthwhile contribution to Berlin’s recorded legacy. [more]

Remembering Don Schaffer

August 5, 2021

Don long worked as a publicist for one singer he greatly admired; when age and ill health prevented her from working much anymore and her finances grew precarious, she told him she could no longer afford a publicist and would have to let him go. He continued to do what he could for her, gratis, and when she died he handled the public relations, to ensure she got the sort of send-off she deserved, even though there was no one to pay him for his services; he felt it was his responsibility as her long-time publicist. [more]

On the Town with Chip Deffaa: As Nightclubs Begin Coming Back

July 20, 2021

Gianni Valenti, who runs one of the city’s best-known and most important nightspots, Birdland Jazz Club on 44th Street, deserves a lot of credit for leading the way.  He was one of the first club owners to announce plans to reopen.  He’s reopened strong, booking lots of respected artists, like Delfeayo Marsalis, Allan Harris, Ken Peplowski, etc. (For Birdland's full schedule, go to www.birdlandjazz.com.)  And he’s keeping prices as low as possible to make sure the place is packed.   For many shows at Birdland this summer, you can buy tickets online and pay only a nominal cover charge—some nights just 99 cents (plus a service charge).  That’s the same cover charge the club had when it first opened way back in 1949. [more]

ON THE TOWN… with CHIP DEFFAA, February 3, 2018

February 6, 2018

If you’re in the mood for a night of laughter, “The Outsider”—a new comedy by Paul Slade Smith, receiving its East Coast premiere in January and February at the Paper Mill Playhouse--is great good fun.  Oh, I’m not claiming it’s profound or a show that you’ll never forget, like “A Chorus Line.”  If “A Chorus Line” is like a fine roast-beef dinner, “The Outsider” is more like a hot dog with all the trimmings.  But sometimes a hot dog with all the trimmings just hits the spot. [more]

Cagney

April 5, 2016

Shoving a grapefruit into Mae Clarke’s face in "Public Enemy," George M. Cohan’s "Yankee Doodle Dandy" song and dance numbers for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, and the “Top of The World, Ma!” finale from "White Heat" are among the exciting factual highlights of this old-fashioned chronicle. [more]

ON THE TOWN … with CHIP DEFFAA (Dec. 21, 2015)

December 23, 2015

It did my heart good to see Matanya Solomon dancing all-out after being pretty much sidelined as a "Nutcracker" dancer, due to injury, for the last two years. I greatly admire all good dancers for their dedication and hard work; but to not give up after being hampered for so long is extra admirable.  And he was fun as the Grandfather, making the most of the part (and interacting well with others) in the prologue (staged by Victoria Mazzarelli and Tim Melady). [more]

TheaterScene.net Cabaret Honors: A First Annual List

February 23, 2015

The eclectic world of cabaret is unique in the entertainment industry. It allows artists' to connect with an audience in an intimate setting. Today, the clubs are ripe with new, rising and mature talents and the beginners who want to make it. But, who are today's torchbearers? Who will make their mark? And, who will take cabaret into its next phase? Time will tell. [more]

RIP, JOE FRANKLIN (March 9, 1926-January 24, 2015)

January 25, 2015

Joe helped me in countless ways over the years–more than I could detail here--and I dedicated one of the books I wrote to him. He's been a good force in my life since I was very young. I’ll miss you, Joe. I can’t imagine walking through the heart of Manhattan without stopping off to see your office at 300 West 43rd Street. [more]

“THE GEORGE M. COHAN AWARD” PRESENTED TO RAYNA HIRT, MICHAEL CZYZ

December 9, 2014

Both Czyz and Hirt have won the respect and admiration of their co-stars. Joseph Spitale, who played opposite Czyz in “Theater Boys,” commented: “Michael is so alive and present when he's on stage. He has this ability to connect in a very real way. Every performance with Michael feels fresh and new, which really keeps me invested as a scene partner. And I have a lot of respect for how grounded he is in scenes where he's so exposed.” [more]