ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award-winner Chip Deffaa is an internationally-produced playwright and director with a great love of show business. He is also the author of eight acclaimed books dealing with music and popular culture, including Blue Rhythms and Voices of the Jazz Age, both published by the University of Illinois Press.
In recent years, Deffaa has been represented, as a playwright and director, with three different plays at three different festivals in New York--"The Seven Little Foys" at the Fringe Festival, "Theater Boys" at the Fresh Fruit Festival, and "A Few Moments..." at the Strawberry Festival. In addition, Deffaa's award-winning Off-Broadway show "George M. Cohan Tonight!" has been produced everywhere from London to Seoul. His "Johnny Mercer Jamboree" premiered at the Rochester Downstairs Cabaret Theatre. His Off-Broadway success "One Night with Fanny Brice" is now getting productions regionally. And Deffaa's latest show, "Irving Berlin's America," had its world premiere at The Open-Eye Theater in the Catskills....
For 18 years, Deffaa covered entertainment--including jazz, cabaret, and theater--for The New York Post. He has written for magazines ranging from Down Beat to Entertainment Weekly. He has won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award, a New Jersey Press Association Award and IRNE AWARD (Independent Reviewers of New England).
He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, the Drama Desk, the American Theater Critics Association, the Jazz Journalists Association, and NARAS (which awards the Grammy's).
He has written and directed in New York no less than five different shows about George M. Cohan--the most recent being George M. Cohan Tonight! (starring Jon Peterson), originally produced Off-Broadway in New York by the Irish Repertory Theater.
Jon Peterson, Chip Deffaa
Chip Deffaa, backstage at the Off-Broadway production of "George M. Cohan Tonight!"
Chip Deffaa, at the Irish Repertory Theatre, NYC, home of the original production of "George M. Cohan Tonight!"
"George M. Cohan Tonight!" playing at the Stoneham Theater, just outside of Boston
That show has been produced in numerous cities, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Coral Springs, Florida, to Edinburgh, Scotland and Seoul, Korea!
The George M. Cohan Project originated at the Chip Deffaa Invitational Theater Festival, held at the Chashama Theaters on 42nd Street, New York City.
Playwright/director Chip Deffaa (at right), in rehearsal with actor Clark Kinkade, "The Seven Little Foys"
Deffaa has written assorted other shows, too, including The Johnny Mercer Jamboree, Mad About the Boy, One Night with Fanny Brice, The Family that Sings Together, Song-and-Dance Kids, The Irving Berlin Story, and Theater Boys. His musical comedy The Seven Little Foys recently had its world premiere at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut, and then had its New York premiere at the Fringe Festival.
Deffaa was educated at Princeton University, where he was an editor of The Tiger Magazine. He has been a trustee of The Tiger for more than a quarter-century.
Deffaa is profiled in Marquis' Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in Entertainment. To read more about Deffaa on Wikipedia, click here:
Chip Deffaa (center) supervising a recording session with pianist Broc Hempel (at left) and singer Robert Micheli (at right)
All of Deffaa's shows are available for licensing. Scripts and scores may be licensed directly from the publishers or from Chip Deffaa Productions LLC.
Chip Deffaa, lecturing on theater in Korea, on a 2007 lecture tour organized by the U.S. State Department.
Deffaa has lectured on theater for the United States State Department.
Deffaa also has written liner notes for countless albums, including ones by such Grammy Award-winning artists as Miles Davis, Ruth Brown, Diane Schuur, Benny Goodman, Tito Puente, Ray Brown, and the Count Basie Orchestra...
Books by Chip Deffaa...
VOICES OF THE JAZZ AGE.... Chip Deffaa's vivid profiles of jazzmen who first made their marks in the Roaring '20s, including Bud Freeman, Jabbo Smith, Jimmy McPartland, Sam Wooding. For more info, or to buy a copy, click here:
BLUE RHYTHMS: Six Lives in Rhythm and Blues....The lives of such R&B legends as Ruth Brown, Charles Brown, LaVern Baker, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Little Jimmy Scott. Chip Deffaa's profiles are essential reading for anyone interested in R&B. For more info or to order a copy, click here:
JAZZ VETERANS... A must for any serious jazz buff. Chip Deffaa's capsule portraits of legendary elder statesmen of the jazz world, based on his years of interviewing them, are teamed with unforgettable portraits by jazz photographers Nancy Miller Elliott (of New York), and John and Andreas Johnsen (of Copenhagen). For more info or to buy a copy, click:
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD: THE PRINCETON YEARS, Edited and With an Introduction by Chip Deffaa. Fitzgerald may have been the greatest American novelist of the 20th Century. This definitive collection of his earliest work provides an insightful look at major artist in development. For more information or to order a copy, click here:
TRADITIONALISTS AND REVIVALISTS IN JAZZ... Chip Deffaa provides an overview of the traditionalist scene, profiling such significant contributors as Vince Giordano, Orange Kellin, Marty Grosz, Carrie Smith, Vernel Bagneris, Terry Waldo, Peter Ecklund. For more information, or to order a copy, click here:
C'MON GET HAPPY: FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY BUS, by David Cassidy and Chip Deffaa. This is the autobiograhy of teen idol/pop star Cassidy (ghost-written by Deffaa), which was made into a TV movie. At his peak, Cassidy was the commanding the highest fee of any solo concert artist in the world. Fame, drugs, drinking--he experienced it all. A classic study in the phenomenon of being a celebrity. To order a copy, click here:
SWING LEGACY, by Chip Deffaa, with a foreword by George T. Simon. In-depth interviews with such Swing Era greats as Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Buck Clayton, and Maxine Sullivan. To order a copy, click here:
IN THE MAINSTREAM.... Chip Deffaa's study of mainstream jazz, with his oral histories of such artists as Doc Cheatham, Bill Challis, Andy Kirk, Ray McKinley, Bob Haggart, Erskine Hawkins, Buddy Morrow, Dick Hyman, and Bucky and John Pizarelli. For more info, or to order a copy of this book, click here:
For more information, contact Chip Deffaa Productions LLC, 50 Quartz Lane, Paterson, NJ 07501-3345; telephone: (973) 684-3340; Email: OriginalCast1@aol.com.
Chip Deffaa is represented by Peter Sawyer/The Fifi Oscard Agency, NYC, www.fifioscard.com
ALSO FROM CHIP DEFFAA PRODUCTIONS: THE JOHNNY MERCER JAMBOREE...
Chip Deffaa has conceived and produced--as both a stage show and an original cast album--THE JOHNNY MERCER JAMBOREE. On this CD, you'll hear such Mercer favorites as "Skylark," "Blues in the Night," "One for My Baby," and "Dream," and "I Guess I'll Have to Dream the Rest," sung by Jon Peterson, Keith Anderson, Carolyn Montgomery, and more. For info on booking or licensing the "live" stage show--a full-length musical revue, written/directed by Chip Deffaa, currently running at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre in Rochester--write Chip Deffaa Productions at OriginalCast1@aol.com.
For more info on the CD, or to order a copy, click here:
Chip Deffaa (at right) with the company of "The Johnny Mercer Jamboree": from left to right: music director Broc Hempel, Lynelle Johnson, Seth Sikes, Keith Anderson, Beth Bartley, and Jon Peterson
Deffaa's show THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS, premiered at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut. And since then the show, starring Michael Townsend Wright, has had its New York premiere at the Fringe Festival, and the cast album has been released.
Based on true events, this new two-act musical comedy tells the story of entertainer Eddie Foy, a top Broadway star who took his seven children into show business with him; they became, unexpectedly, the most successful family act of their day. The score mixes vaudeville-era favorites with high-spirited new songs by Deffaa.
Michael Townsend Wright, Eric Stevens, Rayna Hirt, Dea Julien, and Alexander Craven, of the New York cast of "The Seven Little Foys"
Kimberly Faye Greenberg, Chip Deffaa
Deffaa wrote and directed the Off-Broadway success "One Night with Fanny Brice," which has also had productions in Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, etc. The cast album is now available.
Chip Deffaa with legendary broadcaster Joe Franklin