Chip Deffaa

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Chip Deffaa is an American author, playwright, jazz historian, songwriter, director, and producer of plays and recordings. 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. Born in New Rochelle, New York, Deffaa has homes today in Paterson, NJ and Glen Rock, NJ. The common link in Deffaa's diverse and prolific activities—as Rob Lester observed in his lengthy profile of Deffaa in the March/April 2017 issue of Cabaret Scenes magazine—is a love of the early greats of show business and music. Lester noted: "Deffaa writes, casts, directs, and produces multiple published plays about them, sometimes mixing in his own songs for plot necessities, and--when it comes to recording--he not only preserves the productions as cast albums, but employs company members for additional CD's of related material."



Deffaa has written eight books (often celebrating early greats of jazz), 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, Theater Boys, and Irving Berlin: In Person.

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 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'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 City.

Deffaa also produced, in 2002, The Chip Deffaa Invitational Theater Festival, taking over two theaters on 42nd Street in NYC to present, with support from Chashama, more than 25 theatrical productions in a six-week period, featuring such artists as Jon Peterson, Laurence O'Keefe, Brett Kristofferson, Peter-Michael Marino, Okey Chenoweth, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Dawne Swearingen, Karen Oberlin, Deb Rabbai.


Deffaa has produced more than two dozen albums (available from CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, etc.), including cast albums of his shows and songbook albums celebrating famed American songwriters, such as Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Johnny Mercer. (Deffaa occasionally makes cameo appearances as a performer on his albums, as well.) Noted as a particular authority on the music of Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan, he has recorded many never-before-recorded numbers by those songwriters.

Deffaa's albums include: Chip Deffaa's THEATER BOYS: The Original Cast Album,  Original Cast Records (Template:UPC 644167137126);   Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN & Co.: The Original Cast Album,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211733583);  THE CHIP DEFFAA SONGBOOK (a two-CD set), Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211772391); Chip Deffaa's MAD ABOUT THE BOY: The Original Cast Album: The 13th Street Theater Production,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211733972);  Chip Deffaa's MAD ABOUT THE BOY: The Festival Cast, Plus Special Guest Stars,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211733590);  Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN: IN PERSON, The Premiere Recording,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211325054);  Chip Deffaa's ONE NIGHT WITH FANNY BRICE, Starring Mary Cantoni Johnson: The New York Cast Album, Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 191061348481); ONE NIGHT WITH FANNY BRICE: The Premiere Recording, Starring Kimberly Faye Greenberg,  Original Cast Records (Template:UPC 644167084826);  Chip Deffaa's THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS: The Original Cast Album,  Original Cast Records (Template:UPC 644167101523);  Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN SONGBOOK: Rare and Unrecorded Songs.  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 190394541316);  Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN'S AMERICA: The Premiere Recording, Co-Starring  Michael Townsend Wright and Jack Saleeby.  Original Cast Records (Template:UPC 644167128629);  Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN'S AMERICA, Co-Starring Michael Townsend Wright and Matthew Nardozzi,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 94886332);  IRVING BERLIN'S AMERICA: The Original New York Production, with Michael Townsend Wright and Giuseppe Bausillio, Original New York Cast (Template:UPC 889211322572);    Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN RAGTIME REVUE: The Original Cast Album,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211325061); Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN REVISITED: Rare Songs of Love, Loss, and Revenge, Garret  Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211772377);   Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN REDISCOVERED: Rare Songs of Love and Longing,  Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 191061343417);  Chip Deffaa's IRVING BERLIN RAGTIME RARITIES, Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 190394710811);   THE GEORGE M. COHAN REVUE,   Uptown Studio (Template:UPC 889211311798);  GEORGE M. COHAN: IN HIS OWN WORDS: Highlights from the Musical Production, 42nd Street Records (Template:UPC 889211309153); GEORGE M. COHAN: RARE ORIGINAL RECORDINGS, Chip Deffaa Productions LLC (Template:UPC 889211343881);  THE JOHNNY MERCER JAMBOREE: The Original Cast Album, Original Cast Records  (Template:UPC 741117604926); Chip Deffaa's GAY LOVE, Garret Mountain Records (Template:UPC 889211772384).

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, Maaxine Sullivan, Frank Vignola, Jon-Erik Kellso, Molly Ryan, Chase Baird, 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.

Template:''Chip Deffaa: Musical Archeologist Digs Irving Berlin and Others" by Rob Lester, ''Cabaret Scenes'' magazine, March April 2017

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