Filichia Features: Mission Accomplished!

Filichia Features: Mission Accomplished!

By Peter Filichia on October 25, 2019

After eight years, I've covered them all now, haven't I?

Shows represented by Music Theatre International, I mean.

Needless to say, I've written about all the Frank Loesser shows that started this company (from Where's Charley? to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) all the way to MTI's latest acquisition that I wrote about just last week: The Big One-Oh, a delightful children's musical.

Legally Blonde? Check. Seussical? Check. Shrek? Check -- and I've detailed "At the Check Apron Ball," the toe-tapping number in New Girl in Town, another one you should consider. It obviously has two great roles for women, for it's the only show in Broadway history where both female leads in one production tied and went home with a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical.

I've examined hundreds of characters ranging from Into the Woods' The Baker's Wife's to those men and women actually in The Baker's Wife. (That's a most underrated Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein musical that deserves your attention.)

I've told about characters who belonged to The Greatest Generation (Follies) to Baby Boomers (Cry-Baby) to Gen X ( American Idiot) to Millennials (Bring It On). I've related the troubles and tribulations of people both regal (Camelot) and underprivileged (Newsies) as well as puppets (Avenue Q) and even amphibians (The Frogs).

No, I never went to the actual taverna in Greece where Mamma Mia! takes place any more than I've traveled to Anatevka where Fiddler on the Roof is set. But my not being there didn't stop me from writing about them.

I did, however, cover musicals from sea (Cambridge, Massachusetts: a college drama club's production of Dogfight) to shining sea (Pasadena: Sister Act's try-out) - not that the Atlantic Ocean doesn't shine, too. It certainly does in "Atlantic City," that marvelous second-act number in Ragtime, a masterpiece of a musical that's always worth doing.

I've noted how Beauty conquered the Beast in both full-length and Junior editions. If you're wondering about the Junior editions ofBugsy Malone (have you heard this terrific Paul Williams' score?), The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen -- yup, they're all written and accounted for. So too the School Editions of Les Miserables, West Side Story and Aida.

Have I neglected off-Broadway musicals? No. Getting to see productions of The Fantasticks was easy, given that it's had so many. But I vowed not to give short shrift to the ones that deserved greater recognition and acclaim (Birds of Paradise and Riverwind have beautiful scores) -- and I kept the vow.

In addition to the smash-hits - My Fair Lady, Rent andHairspray -- I've tackled lesser-known shows down to A Family Affair, John Kander's first-ever musical out of his 15 that would reach Broadway. This one was so early in his career that he'd yet to meet Fred Ebb, and yet, you can hear that his distinctive signature sound is already in place.

A Family Affair is still worth doing, for everyone can relate to the craziness of putting on a wedding - especially when myopic future in-laws don't see eye-to-eye. But see? I'd already said that in a long-ago column.

I even made the effort to see shows in the places where they were set. Sure, seeing In Transit, The Producers and Annie in New York was easy for this Manhattan resident. Writing about Big in New Jersey didn't mean I'd have to go so far afield, either. But I went to Gettysburg to cover The Civil War, England to meetMatilda and France to spend Sunday in the Park with George. I've gone pretty much everywhere except Brigadoon to see Brigadoon.

(And at my age, I can't be sure that the next time the town comes around, I'll still be around.)

Thus, as Joey sings so beautifully in The Most Happy Fella, "And it's time to go; time to go." So this guy who's also written about The Goodbye Girl says goodbye.

Of course I'll miss all the marvelous people here, from Freddie Gershon, who shepherded the company to its greatness, to current president Drew Cohen and his Crew. It's a great place to work, as is evidenced by the substantial number of employees who have stayed here for decades. I'm honored and grateful to have been a part of it for the last eight years.


You may e-mail Peter at Check out his weekly column each Monday at and Tuesday at . He can be heard most weeks of the year on

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