Chip Deffaa

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Chip Deffaa is an author, jazz historian, playwright, songwriter and director. For 18 years, he wrote for the New York Post, covering jazz, cabaret, and theater. He has contributed to Jazz Times, The Mississippi Rag, Down Beat, Cabaret Scenes, England's Crescendo, and Entertainment Weekly.



Deffaa has written eight books, including Swing Legacy (ISBN 0-8108-2282-2), Voices of the Jazz Age (ISBN 0-252-01681-5), In the Mainstream (ISBN 0-8108-2558-9), Traditionalists and Revivalists in Jazz (ISBN 0-8108-2704-2), Jazz Veterans (ISBN 1-879384-28-0), F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Princeton Years (ISBN 1-879384-29-9) (ed.), Blue Rhythms (ISBN 0-306-80919-2), and (with David Cassidy) C'Mon Get Happy (ISBN 0-446-39531-5). He has contributed chapters to the books Harlem Speaks (ISBN 978-1-4022-0436-4) and Roaring at One Hundred (ISBN 0-914703-01-3).


Deffaa has written and directed in New York such plays as George M. Cohan: In his Own Words (ISBN 0-573-63039-9) (published by Samuel French Inc.,), Yankee Doodle Boy (ISBN 978-0-87440-080-9) (Drama Source), Irving Berlin's America (Steele Spring Stage Rights), The George M. Cohan Revue (Samuel French Inc.), George M. Cohan & Co. (Eldridge Plays), The Seven Little Foys (Leicester Bay Theatricals),One Night with Fanny Brice (Leicester Bay Theatricals), The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue, Mad About the Boy, The Johnny Mercer Jamboree, and Theater Boys

George M. Cohan Tonight!, which Deffaa wrote and directed off-Broadway in New York at the Irish Repertory Theatre, was called "brash, cocky, energetic and endlessly euphoric" by the New York Times.[1] The cast album was released in 2006 by Sh-K-Boom / Ghostlight Records. George M. Cohan Tonight! opened September 21, 2010 at the New Players Theater on the West End in London. "A great US entertainer lives again..." wrote The Times (September 28, 2010). The show is published/licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights. Deffaa directed a production of George M. Cohan Tonight!, starring Jon Peterson--star of the original Off-Broadway production--in Seoul, Korea in July of 2016.

After several regional productions, One Night With Fanny Brice was produced Off-Broadway in New York at St. Luke's Theatre, 308 W. 46th Street; previews began on March 16, 2011; the official opening night was April 3, 2011. A revised version of the show opened at The 13th Street Repertory Theatre, 50. W. 13th St., NYC, on April 22, 2013. The cast album of One Night with Fanny Brice was released in September 2010 by Original Cast Records.

Cast albums are also available for such shows of Deffaa's as The Seven Little Foys, Theater Boys, The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue, Irving Berlin: In Person, Irving Berln & Co., Presenting Fanny Brice, and The George M. Cohan Revue. Deffaa has also produced such albums as The Irving Berlin Songbook, Irving Berlin Revisited, and The Chip Deffaa Songbook.

Deffaa's most recent plays include The Family that Sings Together... (published by Drama Source), Presenting Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl (Eldridge Plays), Yankee Doodle Dandy (Leicester Bay Theatricals),Song-and-Dance Kids (Leicester Bay Theatricals), and Irving Berlin: In Person (Leicester Bay Theatricals).

All of Deffaa's plays are available for licensing. He is represented by the Fifi Oscard Agency in New York.

Other interests[edit]

Deffaa also lectures on theater and jazz. His 2007 lectures in Korea, timed to coincide with the opening of one of his plays there, were sponsored by the US State Department.

Deffaa has written liner notes for many CDs, including those of such artists as Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Ray Brown, Diane Schuur, Ruth Brown, Tito Puente, Dick Hyman, Randy Sandke, Scott Hamilton, and the Count Basie Orchestra. Deffaa has won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award, a New Jersey Press Association Award, and an IRNE Award (Independent Reviewers of New England). Deffaa is a member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, the Dramatists Guild, ASCAP, NARAS, the Jazz Journalists Association, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, the Drama Desk, and the American Theatre Critics Association. Deffaa is a trustee of the Princeton Tiger magazine.


  1. ^ Hunka, George (2006-03-14). "Recapturing an Old Fountain of Euphoria". The New York Times. New York: The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 

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