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Michael Lavine

A Walk in the Woods with Playwright Chip Deffaa, His Deer, and the Ghost of George M. Cohan

December 5, 2022

Deffaa comments: “I've always loved Cohan's attitude--that 'can-do' spirit of his is inspiring.  He had no formal education; he learned by doing; and left a terrific legacy.  Just a remarkable man!  No one in Broadway history ever did as many different things as well as Cohan.  He wrote book, music, and lyrics for Broadway shows that he starred in, directed, choreographed, and co-produced.  He wrote or co-wrote some 50 Broadway shows, produced or co-produced some 80 Broadway shows.  At his peak, he owned or controlled seven Broadway theaters. “Cohan’s shows--fast, funny, and unusually well-plotted for their day--laid the foundation for modern musical comedy.  It was Cohan who made America--not Europe--the pace-setter for musical theater.  In an era when musicals were often little more than collected vaudeville acts, Cohan was creating well-plotted musical plays.  And critics took note that he was advancing the artform.  George Jean Nathan, a top critic, wrote that Cohan’s musicals were “as carefully plotted as the dramas of Euripides.”  By writing book, music, and lyrics, and supervising all aspects of production, Cohan was creating musicals far more cohesive than those before.  And the best younger people working in the theater, like Oscar Hammerstein and Irving Berlin, took note and built upon Cohan’s foundation.  Cohan was a major contributor to our culture.  He was the first member of his profession honored with a Congressional medal, presented to him by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.” [more]

George M. Cohan Tonight!

August 17, 2021

It is definitely worth a gander for both its subject matter and its performer, the disarming and immensely talented Jon Peterson who also adapted the one-man play from Chip Deffaa’s original stage production which Deffaa previously staged.  Peterson directed this filmed adaptation and choreographed the scintillating tap routines matched with joyous precision to Cohan’s repertoire of gung-ho Americana.  (Think “Over There,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Forty-five Minutes from Broadway.”)  The choreographic high point was Peterson’s hip-swinging dance to “The Hinkey Dee.” [more]

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ CONCERT FEATURED STARS, SHOW TUNES, and “GODSPELL” TRIBUTE

November 20, 2018

Andy Stein, Founder and Executive Chairman, stated: “There are not enough words to say how thankful we are to the legendary Stephen Schwartz for his incredible support of the children of the Orphaned Starfish Foundation, to Michael Lavine, Paul Kreppel and Carol De Giere who made this a reality, and to all the wonderful Broadway stars who donated their performances that made tonight so very special. This night exceeded our expectations in all ways and raised much needed funding,for the programs of the Orphaned Starfish Foundation. This night exceeded our expectations in all ways and raised much needed funding,for the programs of the Orphaned Starfish Foundation. [more]