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. He was born in New Rochelle, New York.
Deffaa wrote and directed George M. Cohan Tonight! off-Broadway in New York at the Irish Repertory Theatre. 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/ 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.
In 2002 he produced 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 Jon Peterson, Laurence O'Keefe, Brett Kristofferson, Peter-Michael Marino, Okey Chenoweth, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Dawne Swearingen, Karen Oberlin, Deb Rabbai.
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 albums by Chase Baird, Count Basie, Ray Brown, Ruth Brown, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Scott Hamilton, Dick Hyman, Jon-Erik Kellso, Tito Puente, Randy Sandke, Diane Schuur, Maxine Sullivan, and Frank Vignola.
He 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, the American Theatre Critics Association, and is a trustee of the Princeton Tiger magazine.
Deffaa won an ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thompson Award in 1993, a New Jersey Press Association Award, and an IRNE Award (Independent Reviewers of New England).