One of Broadway’s brightest lights has dimmed. Obie-winning composer-lyricist Michael Friedman, has died from complications with HIV/AIDS. In an age where people are living with this disease, it is a painful reminder, that there is so much more to go.
A graduate from Harvard, Friedman is best known for his work on Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which opened on Broadway in 2010 following a run at the Public Theater. Friedman’s also supplied the music and worked with Itamar Moses on the musical The Fortress of Solitude, which played the Public in 2014, as well as the Shakespeare in the Park presentation of The Tempest in 2013. Friedman served as the director of Public Forum and artist in residence.
Friedman was also the composer of The Civilians’ inaugural musical, Canard, Canard, Goose? Friedman was a founding associate artist for the company. He also wrote the music and lyrics to their critically acclaimed musical Pretty Filthy. It was during that run, I had a chance to meet and talk with this prolific writer of theatre, thanks to Luba Mason, who introduced me.
Earlier this year, Friedman succeeded Jeanine Tesori as artistic director of New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center series. Under his leadership: Assassins, The Bubble Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, and Really Rosie happened.
Friedman also wrote music and lyrics for Saved, In the Bubble, The Drunken City, The Brand New Kid, God’s Ear, The Blue Demon, the music for the 2010 Signature Theatre revival of Angels in America and the Broadway adaptation of Misery.
He was the dramaturg for the 2004 Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon.
We leave you with this video from youtube and the TEDXEast where Michael leads us through the process of writing a song for theater.
Death is never easy, but this is a loss for musical theatre.
Our wishes are with his loved ones and family.