No one in theatrical history ever did so many things so well as George M. Cohan--"the Man Who Owned Broadway."
A dynamic entertainer, songwrighter, playwright, director, and producer, Cohan practically invented American musical comedy. The great Cohan hits--from "Give My Regards to Broadway" to "Mary" to "You're a Grand Old Flag"--are timeless bits of Americana.
Award-winning playwright Chip Deffaa, the foremost authority on Cohan, has created six sensational shows--suitable for any size venue--brimming with Cohan's rousing music. All are available for licensing or touring. As are Deffaa's other popular shows. An expert on the roots of show business, Deffaa has created acclaimed shows dealing with such legendary figures as Fanny Brice and Irving Berlin, in addition to musicals created wholely from Deffaa's imagination. There's something for everyone.
GEORGE M. COHAN: "...born on the Fourth of July..."
In this web site, you can learn about our six Cohan shows... and other great shows by ASCAP award-winner Chip Deffaa, such as...
"The Seven Little Foys,""One Night with Fanny Brice," "Irving Berlin's America," "Song-and-Dance Kids,""The Family That Sings Together...,""The Johnny MercerJamboree,""A Few Moments at 'MySpace Anonyomous,'" "The Irving Berlin Story," "Theater Boys,""The Fanny Brice Story,"and"Presenting Fanny Brice."
You can read reviews, find out how to license a script or bo0k a production, purchase a cast album, or get tickets to see a show. Whether you're a performer, a producer, or an audience-member, we have the info you'll need.
Jon Peterson as George M. Cohan
Cohan's joyously syncopated rhythms just make you feel good. And Chip Deffaa has written--and successfully staged--six different productions celebrating Cohan's legacy--as well as assorted other shows.
Deffaa's work has been produced everywhere from New York, to Seoul, to London; his shows have won audiences from small towns to big cities.
Following successful regional productions, Deffaa's newest show, "One Night with Fanny Brice," starring Kimberly Faye Greenberg, opened Off-Broadway in New York! It's gotten great reviews and is available for licensing now.
Kimberly Faye Greenberg as Fanny Brice
Whatever your budget, size or age of audience, we have a show for you. Here are some audience-tested favorites:
"GEORGE M. COHAN: IN HIS OWN WORDS" (published by Samuel French Inc.) is a big, two-act book musical, designed for a cast of 16 or more. Theaters from New York to Texas have been having fun with this full-length musical hit. "A terrific, surprisingly moving show"--Donald Lyons, The New York Post.
"THE GEORGE M. COHAN REVUE" (published by Baker's Plays) gathers a whopping 60 songs, telling Cohan's life story in two lively acts. This full-length book musical can be performed by eight to ten singing actors, with an optional chorus of any size. (One school is planning to do the show as their next Spring musical, adding a chorus of 90 on ten of the numbers; but it works perfectly with just eight to ten players.) This song-driven show offers the biggest, brightest representation of Cohan's music ever put together.
"YANKEE DOODLE BOY" (published by Drama Source) is a fast and funny, 65-minute one-act musical comedy, written for a flexible cast of six to nine singing actors (with an optional chorus). It's easy to mount, too--which makes it particularly appealing for community theaters and schools. The most recent production was at a school in Katonah, New York; the next will be at a community theater in New Jersey.
"GEORGE M. COHAN & CO." (published by Eldridge Plays) is a two-character musical play. (The director has the option of adding a handful of other singers as memory figures, if desired; this was done at one recent production, in Millbrook, Alabama.). "GEORGE M. COHAN & CO." offers a more thoughtful, intimate look at the man behind the myth. Running time (with intermission): an hour and forty-five minutes.
"GEORGE M. COHAN TONIGHT!" is a 95-minute solo show, successfully presented Off-Broadway in New York by the Irish Repertory Theatre, which has wowed audiences everywhere from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Coral Springs, Florida... to Seoul, Korea and Edinburgh, Scotland! It's now booking tour dates. The cast album is available from Sh-K-Boom Records. This show is a terrific tour-de-force for one strong song-and-dance man!
In terms of cast size, "YANKEE DOODLE DANDY" is the biggest of all of Chip Deffaa's Cohan-inspired shows. There are 33 speaking parts, and you can also use a chorus as large (or as small) as you like. The show requires a minumum of 20 performers--some of whom would be "doubling" roles. (The Crystal Sea Drama Co. of San Antonio recently presented this show with a cast of 32.) If you have a school or theater that wants a colorful musical for a large, high-spirited cast, "YANKEE DOODLE DANDY" will be perfect for you.
"THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS" is a full-length, two-act musical comedy, written for three adult actors (portraying Eddie Foy, his wife, and their friend George M. Cohan) plus seven kids. In our world-premiere engagement, the kids often seemed to steal the show. No musical anywhere gives young performers more to do. And audiences love seeing kids sing and dance on stage. This new musical is based on the real story of Eddie Foy, a top Broadway star who took his seven kids into show business with him, becoming the most popular family act of the era. The score mixes nostalgic standards (like "Moonlight Bay," "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland," and "Some of These Days") with spirited new originals by Deffaa.
This show was the only hit family musical to emerge in recent years from the New York International Fringe Festival, and reviews have been terrific. (See the page on this website titled "Foys at the Fringe.") Our cast album will be released shortly by Original Cast Records.
"THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS" has roles for 10 actors. Deffaa has written two other family musicals, inspired by the Foys, with roles for more actors.
"SONG-AND-DANCE KIDS" has 37 speaking parts. (Flexible casting is possible; the show could be mounted with anywhere from 24 to 40 players.) This big musical comedy--inspired by the famous Foy family of performers--has lots of humor, lots of heart, and some of the most enduringly popular songs from the golden age of Tin Pan Alley: "In the Good Old Summer Time," "Aba Daba Honeymoon," "Play a Simple Melody," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," etc. Lots of fun smaller roles, too--including Harry Houdini, Mae West, Marie Dressler, Irving Berlin. An ideal choice for a school or theater that wants to do an exuberant musical with a big cast. This show will soon be presented at Connecticut's famed Thomaston Opera House.
"THE FAMILY THAT SINGS TOGETHER..." (published by Drama Source) has 22 speaking parts. (Flexible casting is possible; this wholesome family musical, set in the vaudeville era, can be performed with anywhere from 16-25 players.) We follow America's favorite performing family as they barnstorm the country, playing everywhere from Thomaston, Connecticut to Salt Lake City. The score includes such old-time favorites as "I Love a Piano," "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?," and "I Want to be in Michigan (Down on the Farm)," plus a rousing original by Deffaa, "Faith!"
"The Seven Little Foys"
"THE JOHNNY MERCER JAMBOREE" is a two-act celebration of one of America's master songwriters. (Alan Jay Lerner called Mercer's songs "pure Americana.") This revue--conceived, written and directed by Chip Deffaa--gathers Mercer favorites that everyone knows (like "Moon River," "Blues in the Night," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Days of Wine and Roses") along with delightful rarities and rediscoveries.
Kimberly Faye Greenberg as Fanny Brice
"ONE NIGHT WITH FANNY BRICE" is a one-woman show about the legendary entertainer, which has successfully run Off-Boadway in New York (following several well-received regional productions). Brice rose from humble origins to become the highest-paid American singing comedienne--a Ziegfeld star equally adept at putting over broad comic numbers and dramatic torch songs. Brice's life story provided the inspiration for "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady." This solo show features songs Brice made famous, like "Rose of Washington Square" and "My Man."
If you'd like to mount a production--casting and directing a performer of your choice--this is a terrific showcase for a strong singing actress. The show is available for licensing now. (If you'd prefer to book a production, starring one of the actresses who've already done this show, contact us!) The cast alum, starring Kimberly Faye Greenberg, is available from Original Cast Records!
Kimberly Faye Greenberg as Fanny Brice
"PRESENTING FANNY BRICE" is a fresh, new big-cast show about the original Funny Girl, published by Eldridge Plays. This terrific musical comedy, boasting more than 30 speaking parts, can be mounted with anywhere from a dozen actors (with some "doubling" of roles) to 40 actors. This is a perfect show for high schools, colleges, community theaters, and regional theaters eager to present a story that's both nostalgic and timeless.
Plenty of great vintage songs, from "The Sheik of Araby" to "My Man." And plenty of good parts. The role of superstar Fanny Brice, of course, is a dream role for any strong female performer. But this musical also features Gypsy Rose Lee, Walter Winchell, W. C. Fields, Flo Ziegfeld, Fanny's parents, Nicky Arnstein, plus assorted showgirls.
"THE FANNY BRICE STORY" is the biggest of Chip Deffaa's three shows about the legendary entertainer. This family-friendly musical can be performed by anywhere from 15 actors (with "doubling" of roles) to 50 or more actors. The chorus can be as large as desired. (And this show has some really great numbers for the chorus.) This colorful, full-scale musical will be a great choice for any regional theater, community theater, college or school looking to do a big show.
The score features more than 30 songs, ranging from comic specialties of Brice (like "Becky is Back in the Ballet") that you'll find nowhere else, to nostaligic favorites that everyone knows (like "After the Ball" and "How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm, After they've Seen Paree?"). And this play has lots of intriguing supporting roles: Flo Ziegfeld, Arnold Rothstein, Eddie Cantor, W. C. Fields, George M. Cohan, and Fanny's tap-dancing kid brother, Lew Brice.
Mary Cantoni Johnson as Fanny Brice
"IRVING BERLIN'S AMERICA" is a two-character musical play about the man many consider to be the greatest of all American songwriters. Certainly no songwriter in history ever wrote as many hits as Berlin. (Even though he never learned to read or write music.) His "only-in-America" success story is inspiring. And such great Berlin numbers as "I Love a Piano," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," and "Play a Simple Melody" are guaranteed to lift spirits.
With more than 30 roles (and the option of having as many chorus members as desired), "THE IRVING BERLIN STORY" is a full-scale musical celebrating the life and times of one of the world's most respected songwriters. This is an ideal show for schools, colleges, regional theaters and community theaters seeking to do a terrific show featuring a big cast. It's packed with enduringly popular songs. And Berlin's rise from poverty to the top of his field is a classic "American dream" saga.
"THEATER BOYS," an original musical comedy by Chip Deffaa, mixing rollicking camp humor with the tenderness of first love, premiered successfully in New York City, and is available for licensing now. (This fun, frisky show with gay themes is suggested for mature audiences.)
You can learn more about Chip Deffaa from any standard reference sources, such as Marquis' "Who's Who in America" and "Who's Who in the World," and Wikipedia: