Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.
Peter Filichia is the drama critic for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, as well as a daily columnist for BroadwayOnline.com. He has provided the liner notes for several Fynsworth Alley releases, including Subways Are for Sleeping.
DL: How did you get to be Peter Filichia, theatre guru? What were the steps along the way?
PF: Truth to tell, back in 1968 I was a student at the University of Massachusetts, and a kid I knew from high school in Arlington, Massachusetts, came up to me and said, “I just became the editor of the school newspaper; will you review plays?” I’d never thought of doing it before in my life. So, I did that, and what was really interesting is that within a year, [a new newspaper] started in Boston, which is now called the Boston Phoenix, and they were looking for people to review, and I decided to review for them. After a while, it got to really difficult financial constraints, and I quit because they weren’t paying.
What had happened was, that I realized all the influence I’d been building up for the Boston community, you know, getting quoted in ads and what have you and even to the point, this is a kind of an interesting story, in 1970, the Broadway musical Gantry, with Robert Shaw and Rita Moreno, decided not to go out of town. What they were going to do, is invite the out-of-town critics, to come see it in New York, they were going to pay to have them come and they invited Elliot Norton and they invited Kevin Kelly, and they invited Bernie Shear from Philadelphia and people from all the tryout towns, and they included me. So things were really quite nice, but because the paper was going through hard times, I got on my high horse and decided I was quitting and aside from my marriage, I view that as the biggest mistake of my life. Because, for 17 long years, nothing happened, I didn’t do anything along those lines, in terms of any theatre writing whatsoever. And I said to myself, if I ever have a chance to do this again, I will never make the mistake of worrying about money. Because the thing is, when you’re printed, people don’t know what you’re getting, you know. When you’re printed, they think you really know. Continue reading