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Chip Deffaa's Play IRVING BERLIN & CO. Is Published

Deffaa has produced 10 albums of Irving Berlin's music.

Chip Deffaa's Play IRVING BERLIN & CO. Is Published

Eldridge Plays & Musicals has just published ASCAP award-winning writer Chip Deffaa's play "Irving Berlin & Co." It's the final play in Deffaa's Irving Berlin cycle. Deffaa, who has produced 10 albums of Irving Berlin's music, is considered the foremost living authority on Berlin. His celebrations of Berlin--the most successful single songwriter in history--set box-office records at the 13th Street Theater in New York City. Information on licensing the new play can be found here:

"This just might be my favorite play yet," says Deffaa. "Written for a dozen or more players, it focuses on how Berlin found himself--how he rose from being just another poor immigrant, whose family came to America to escape religious persecution, to become the best-known songwriter in the world. It's a story of pluck and resilience, and persistence. And any young person, trying to find his way in this world today, can identify with Berlin's struggles. While the show will work for any theater company, it will work especially well for younger players and audiences--like in schools and colleges--because it's essentially the story of a young man's rise. The protagonists are young. The story is carried forward by a dozen of Berlin's timeless songs--not just well-known favorites but also some wondrous rarities and rediscoveries found no place else."

Deffaa, who's spent his life researching the roots of American show business, carefully went through every song in the Berlin archive--more than 1,200 songs in total--before selecting the two dozen lively songs heard in this show. "It's a fun show, but it's also an educational show, opening a window onto the past. I'm delighted that Eldridge Plays--which was founded in the early 20th Century, just when Berlin was getting started--is taking a chance now, bringing out a new play during these challenging times. I give Meredith Edwards, who heads Eldridge, a lot of credit, The show, I might add, will work well whether presented in traditional theatrical presentations or in ZOOM-type presentations." The show's cast album, with Jonah Barricklo, Hawkins Gardow, Emily Bordonaro, David Cook, and others, is also available now from Eldridge Plays (as well as Amazon, iTunes, and Footlight Records). And Eldridge--which is currently featuring the play in its online catalog--is also marketing tee-shirts and such, featuring the show's logo.

Eldridge Plays publishes and licenses other shows of Deffaa's, such as "Presenting Fanny Brice" and "George M. Cohan & Co.," which Deffaa considers companion pieces to this new show. "They're all nostalgic. They're all rich with songs that have stood the test of times. And they all have lessons to teach us about living life."

Deffaa, who's loved Berlin's music all of his life, adds: "I was lucky. As a youth I was mentored, befriended, and directed in shows by an old-time performer named Todd Fisher, who had performed in vaudeville some of the terrific Berlin rarities that are now found exclusively in this show; Todd Fisher got them from Berlin when they were new and he was playing the Palace Theater, and he taught them to me from the original sheet music. He got me hooked on this music. And now I have one of the largest collections of Berlin's music and memorabilia. I'm happy to be passing these songs along to a new generation, thanks to Eldridge Plays. These are wonderfully catchy songs--so old they're brand new to listeners of today. And of course we have some of the Berlin classics that anyone will recognize. It's been a joy immersing myself in this music. And Berlin's rags-to-riches life story still inspires me."

Deffaa is unusual among playwrights in that he will often write two or three different plays on the same subject. "But each play is unique," Deffaa notes. "For example, my one-man-show about Berlin will be just right for some performers and some theater companies. But this bigger, more high-spirited show, written for a dozen or more players and featuring different songs and stores, will be a much better choice for other performers, directors, and presenters. Berlin lived to be 101 years old. He accomplished so much in that long, full life, he left us many stories and songs to choose from."

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