|Birth name||John Michael Friedman|
|Born||September 24, 1975|
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||September 9, 2017 (aged 41)|
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Associated acts||The Civilians|
Friedman won a 2007 Obie Award for sustained excellence. Additionally, he received a MacDowell Fellowship, a Princeton Hodder Fellowship, a Meet The Composer Fellowship, and was a Barron Visiting Professor at The Princeton Environmental Institute in 2009. At the time of his death, he was the Artist in Residence and Director of the Public Forum at the Public Theater and was also the Artistic Director of City Center Encores! Off-Center.
Born in Boston, Friedman grew up in Philadelphia. He attended Germantown Friends School, after which he studied history and literature at Harvard College. While at Harvard, he studied under Bernard Rands, Mario Davidovsky, and Elizabeth Swados.
Friedman was most well known as the co-creator of the critically acclaimed musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson which premiered in New York at the Public Theater and subsequently transferred to Broadway. Other credits include the musical “Unknown Soldier,” which premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and had a critically acclaimed run at Playwright Horizons, “Love’s Labour���s Lost,” which premiered at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, Saved, In the Bubble, The Brand New Kid, God's Ear, The Blue Demon and This Beautiful City.
In the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, Michael traveled the country creating a series of songs based on interviews he conducted. Those songs became his “State of the Union Songbook,” which was presented by The New Yorker Radio Hour.
Michael was a founding Associate Artist of The Civilians, the acclaimed investigative theater company. His work with The Civilians included “Gone Missing,” “In the Footprint,” “The Great Immensity,” “Paris Commune,” (co-written with Steve Cosson) “(I Am) Nobody’s Lunch,” and “This Beautiful City” as well as the score for Anne Washburn’s critically acclaimed “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play.” His last collaboration with Civilians’ Artistic Director Cosson, “The Abominables,” opened at Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis in September, 2017.
His music has also been heard at the New York Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage, Soho Repertory Theater, Signature Theatre, Theater for a New Audience, and The Acting Company. He wrote the music for Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play.
Regionally, his work has been featured at Hartford Stage, The Humana Festival of New American Plays, ART, Berkeley Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Portland Center Stage, and internationally at London's Soho and Gate Theatres and the Edinburgh Festival.
At the time of his passing, he was writing a commissioned work on American history for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a musical about the adult film industry with Bess Wohl and The Civilians titled Pretty Filthy.
With The Civilians, Friedman was the composer and lyricist for Canard, Canard, Goose?, Gone Missing, [I Am] Nobody's Lunch, This Beautiful City, The Great Immensity, and In the Footprint, and co-author of Paris Commune. His work on Pretty Filthy can be seen in the theater company's premiere production of the new musical.
In partnership with Ghostlight Records, the Civilians will be releasing cast recordings of nine shows that Friedman wrote or co-wrote. The first three, The Great Immensity, This Beautiful City, and The Abominables were released on October 18, 2019. Recordings of Paris Commune and (I Am) Nobody's Lunch were released on August 14, 2020.
- Canard, Canard, Goose? (2002)
- Paris Commune (2004)
- (I Am) Nobody's Lunch (2006)
- Gone Missing (2007)
- This Beautiful City (2008)
- Saved (2008)
- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2008)
- In the Footprint (2010)
- Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play (2012) (Incidental music)
- The Fortress of Solitude (2012)
- Love’s Labour’s Lost (2013)
- Pretty Filthy (2015)
- Rimbauld in New York (2016) (with many others)
- The Abominables (2017)
Awards and Nominations
|2008||Lucille Lortel Award||Outstanding Musical||Saved||Nominated|
|2010||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Music||Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson||Nominated|
|Drama League Awards||Distinguished Production of a Musical||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical||Won|
|Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Nominated|
|2014||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Love Labour's Lost||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play||Nominated|
|2015||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Pretty Filthy||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music||The Fortress of Solitude||Nominated|
|Outer Critic's Circle Award||Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical||Nominated|
- "2006–2007 Obie Award Winners - Page 1 - Theater - New York". Village Voice. 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- Paulson, Michael (September 10, 2017). "Michael Friedman, Co-Creator of 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,' Dies at 41". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Grathwohl, Casper (2007-03-11). "Composing for Shakespeare While Listening to Timberlake". The New York Times.
- "Songs with "Open Eyes"". Harvardmagazine.com. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- "2014–2015 Season". Publictheater.org. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- The Broadway League. "A Raisin in the Sun | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2012-11-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "The Civilians / Artist: Michael Friedman". Thecivilians-artist.blogspot.com. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2012-11-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Paulson, Michael (October 16, 2019). "Michael Friedman Died in 2017. Now 9 Albums of His Work Are Coming". New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- "Paris Commune (The Michael Friedman Collection) [World Premiere Recording]". Amazon. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
- "(I Am) Nobody's Lunch [The Michael Friedman Collection] [World Premiere Recording]". Amazon. Retrieved October 16, 2020.