John Clifton, composer. lyricist and author, wrote the score and co-authored the lyrics for Man With A Load Of Mischief, the highly praised, perennially revived off-Broadway musical. The New York Times called his music “fresh and quirky” and remarked of his songs “you can hum almost all of them.” The New York Post declared that “the evening's most appealing feature is Mr. Clifton's appropriate score…remarkably appealing.” Steven Suskin, writing for Playbill.com in 2009 cited Clifton’s “infinitely worthy score” which “quickly made it onto my most favored list.”
John wrote the music and lyrics for the New York musical El Bravo!, which Clive Barnes called “a charming winner,” declaring he was “positively captivated.” Recently, Clifton has collaborated on an animated version of this musical.
John’s score for We The People was performed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for the bicentennial of the Constitution. His songs and orchestrations were heard on Broadway in The Madwoman Of Central Park West starring Phyllis Newman and directed by Arthur Laurents. Till (book, music and lyrics) was selected for development and presentation by the O’Neill Center’s Music Theater Conference. Mama (music and lyrics; starring Celeste Holm) was presented by the Studio Arena (Buffalo) and Starshine, a Civil War romance (music and lyrics) was seen at Theatre by The Sea (Portsmouth, New Hampshire).
John composed the score for The Maiden Of Ludmir, a Yiddish musical, for New York’s Folksbeine Playhouse. He is currently working on a new bluegrass musical, Appalachian Fling. based upon The Broken Jug by Heinrich Von Kleist and another musical entitled Hadleyburg, adapted from a Mark Twain story. This last, with lyrics by Mae Richard, was presented at the 2010 New York Midtown Theatre Festival, where it was nominated for best reading of the event.
John has composed many original scores for straight plays, including A Midsummer Night's Dream (Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre), The Diary of a Scoundrel (Boston's Huntington), The Taming Of The Shrew (Syracuse Stage), and The Country Wife (New Jersey Shakespeare Festival). John has written over twenty musical shows for young audiences, several for television. He is married to author Josée Clerens, with whom he recently wrote Sparky Fights Back, a best-selling book about their miraculous dog.
Current Musical Projects
Two Eagles - A new musical based on the play "Like Two
Bandits - A new musical suggested by "Ubu Roi" by Alfred Jarry
Hadleyburg - Musical based on "The Man That Corrupted
Appalachian Fling - Country Musical
based upon "The Broken Jug"
Books Currently in Print (and available
The Forbidden Political Dictionary: Complete and
Stop the Shots! : Are Vaccinations Killing Our Pets?
Sparky Fights Back: A Little Dog's Big Battle