George M. Cohan Tonight! Release for Home Viewing 

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George M. Cohan Tonight! Release for Home Viewing

Jon Peterson as George M. Cohan

George M. Cohan Tonight!, originally produced Off-Broadway in New York at the Irish Repertory Theater, has been filmed at the Irish Repertory Theater on 13th Street and other sites. It is being released for home viewing now, in celebration of Cohan’s July 4th birthday.  The film can now be viewed for free on TubiTV here: Watch George M. Cohan Tonight (2021) – Free Movies | Tubi (tubitv.com). It will be released by Amazon shortly.

The hit Off-Broadway production, which was conceived, written, and directed by Chip Deffaa, has been adapted for the screen by actor/director Jon Peterson for whom Deffaa wrote the original play. Peterson—who was honored by the Drama League, presented with a Bistro Award, and nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his characterization on stage—has often said that Cohan is his favorite role. He has performed George M. Cohan Tonight! on stages in countless U.S. cities since its Off-Broadway debut, from New Orleans to Hollywood, as well as in London and Seoul. He reprised highlights from the show at the Irish Rep’s Town Hall gala (produced by Charlotte Moore and Ciaran O’Reilly) in June 2024. The film, directed by Peterson, has been honored at 20 film festivals before being released for home-viewing.

Deffaa, who’s written and directed five different shows about Cohan, says: “I’m thrilled that Jon wanted to do this film. For my money, there isn’t a greater song-and-dance man active today. He’s an electric performer. I’ve been in this business many years. I first met Jon when he showed up at an open-call audition I was running and gave the strongest audition performance I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I knew at once I wanted to work with him. And this film captures the energy of his work on stage. He’s singing and dancing ‘live’ in this film, he’s not lip-synching to pre-recorded tracks, as is so usually done. And a new soundtrack album is in the work.”

The  cast album of the original Off-Broadway production, as well as other albums that Deffaa has produced featuring Peterson and company performing Cohan songs, such as The George M. Cohan Revue and The George M. Cohan Songbook, are available from Amazon, Ebay, Apple Music, etc. “We are working on yet another album of Cohan songs—including some never-before-recorded rarities I’ve discovered—now,” Deffaa notes.

Often called “the father of the Broadway musical,” Cohan (1878-1942) rose to the top of his profession as an actor, singer, dancer, playwright, songwriter, director, choreographer, and producer. “No one in theatrical history ever did so many different things as well as Cohan,” Deffaa notes. “His statue stands in Times Square—and quite properly so. His greatest songs, such as ‘Give My Regards to Broadway,’ ‘Mary’s a Grand Old Name,’ ‘Over There,’ and ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag,’ are classic Americana. But there’s much more to Cohan than those songs that everyone knows., and what better way to celebrate Cohan’s birthday—the Fourth of July—than by releasing George M. Cohan Tonight! for free home-viewing this week.”

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