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Who does Peter Filichia think are the 50 most loathsome New Yorkers in musical theater? logo
Did you see last week's issue of the New York Press? The cover story was "The 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers," which made me open the issue with trepidation. Would any people who make their living in theater be among those castigated?

In fact, no. The closest we came to being represented was Joan Rivers, star of the flop Sally Marr...and Her Escorts and author of the failed Fun City, who finished at #30. James Lipton, bookwriter-lyricist of Nowhere To Go But Up and Sherry! was #17. Sarah Jessica Parker, who was a not-so-acclaimed Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress, ranked #13. And Donald Trump, who co-produced Richard Seff's Paris Is Out, was listed at #8.

Of course, none of the above made the list because of their theatrical activities. Not one theater personage made the list -- and while that made me feel good, I didn't feel so good a moment later. Maybe our crowd just wasn't deemed important enough to be listed! So to rectify that, I decided to name those whom I consider to be The 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers in Musical Theater. And just as the New York Press listed them from lowest-to-highest, from 50 to 1, so will I.


50. Scrooge (Comin' Uptown, based on A Christmas Carol) -- Well, okay, he's not loathsome any more. But he was high on the list for a while!

49. The Girl in the Yellow Dress (Contact) -- Will she ever stop making so much noise?

48. Little Old Lady (On the Town) -- I've heard of chasing a sailor, but this is ridiculous.

47. Mr. Esmond, Sr. (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) -- Oh, will you just let your son marry Lorelei Lee!

46. Mr. Babcock (Mame) -- If you were going to a school where you could be naked with all the rest of the kids, would you like the guy who took you out of it?

45. Irene Roth (Crazy for You) -- What a dishrag!

44. Joanne (Company) -- I'll drink to that!

43. Charley (A Class Act) -- Was he ever happy when something nice happened to Ed Kleban?

42. King Kaiser (My Favorite Year) -- You try writing for him.

41. Inspector Barnes (Bells Are Ringing) -- Boy, does he have a dirty mind!

40. Oscar Lindquist (Sweet Charity) -- How can his heart not melt when Charity begs him to stay?

39. Murray's Wife (Songs for a New World) -- She's embarrasing. Fat. Demanding. Controlling. Or whatever.

38. J.D. Sheldrake (Promises, Promises) -- What a skunk, to cheat on his wife and not make Fran Kubelik happy!

37. Mrs. Boyd (Henry, Sweet Henry) -- What a skunk, to cheat on her husband and not make her daughter happy!

36. Mr. Psawyer (Here's Love) -- What can you say about a guy who wants to commit Santa Claus to a mental institution?

35. Benjamin Stone (Follies) -- How could I leave you out? You've got a house, a flat, the Braques and Chagalls and all that, and you're still not happy?

34. Tess Harding or Sam Craig (Woman of the Year) -- Take your pick; both are pains.

33. Zach (A Chorus Line) -- He's certainly not loved by the 18 people who spent their whole day baring their souls and still didn't get a part in his show.

32. Benjamin Coffin III (Rent) -- How could he even think of evicting those sweet struggling kids?

31. The Father (The Tap Dance Kid) -- Oh, let the kid do what he wants!

30. Chick Clark (Wonderful Town) -- What won't a slimeball do to land a date with a pretty girl?

29. Sheridan Whiteside (Sherry!) -- He makes the Stanleys wonder, "Why, oh why, oh why, oh? Why did he ever come to Ohio?"

28. Kafritz (Henry, Sweet Henry) -- Though she's not a stinker yet, she's a first-class stinkerette.

27. Paul (Big) -- He cheated when he played the ring-toss game at the office Christmas party with Josh Baskin.

26. Bud Frump (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) -- So he winds up a window washer? Well, let the punishment fit the crime.

25. Franklin Shepard, Inc. (Merrily We Roll Along) -- Listen, he does the money thing very well, but you know what? He's not much of a person.

24. Eve Harrington (Applause) -- What happened to her one Halloween when she was nine is no excuse.

23. Rose Hovick (Gypsy) -- Why else would the mother of Miss Gypsy Rose Lee not be allowed back stage at this theater?

22. and 21. J. J. Hunsecker and Sidney Falco (Sweet Smell of Success) -- One's as bad as the other.

20. Anyanka (Bajour) -- She's mean. Mean. Big-time mean.

19. and 18. Bialystock and Bloom (The Producers) -- Sure, they're lovable, but grand larceny is grand larceny.

17. Comrade Ada (Flora, the Red Menace) -- On Tuesday on the subway, she threw a rotten egg. She called a man a fascist and she bit his daughter's leg.

16. James J. Walker (Jimmy) -- Being a charmin' son-of-a-bitch still means you're a son-of-a-bitch.

15. Legs Diamond (Legs Diamond) -- Read Jerome Charyn's new book, Gangsters & Gold Diggers: Old New York, The Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway, and you'll see that he's worse than Peter Allen made him out to be.

14. Miss Agatha Hannigan (Annie) -- What a hard-knock life she gave those little girls!

13. Rooster Hannigan (Annie) -- Considering that he's the one who came up with the nefarious plan, he's worse than his sister.

12. Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Dreamgirls) -- Will you ever forgive him for what he did to Effie Melody White?

11. Mr. Applegate (Damn Yankees) -- Granted, he's not a native New Yorker, for he actually comes from the, umm, South. But he's enough of a New Yorker to root for the Yankees.

10. Sammy Glick (What Makes Sammy Run?) -- Wouldn't you like to kick him in the behind with a new pair of shoes?

9-6. Fleetwood, JoJo, Mary, and Memphis (The Life) -- Four reasons why sitting through this show was such a seedy experience.

5. Boss Tweed (Up in Central Park) -- Check out the excellent movie version and see if you don't agree.

4. Caldwell B. Cladwell (Urinetown) -- Sure, the program says it takes place in "A Gotham-like city," but you know and I know that it's New York.

3. Chief Willie Conklin (Ragtime) -- The man we'll always hate for derailing Coalhouse's wheels of a dream.

2. Bob the Electrician (Me and Juliet) -- After all, that's attempted murder.

1. Chino (West Side Story) -- If it weren't for him, those two kids would be alive today!


[To contact Peter Filichia directly, e-mail him at [email protected]]

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