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New Michael Friedman Musical ESSENTIAL ALICE to Have Staged Reading at South Carolina New Play Festival

New Michael Friedman Musical ESSENTIAL ALICE to Have Staged Reading at South Carolina New Play Festival

The musical will be directed by Tony-winner Des McAnuff and star Nik Walker.

The South Carolina New Play Festival will present a posthumous staged reading of "Essential Alice" with music and lyrics by the late Michael Friedman (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) and book by Annie Weissman (Physical, Be Aggressive), directed by TONY-winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Tommy, Ain't Too Proud). The musical, which has never had a production, will present its first public showing on August 12 at the Gunter Theater, in Greenville, South Carolina. The 2nd annual festival will run August 10-13, and will culminate in a Broadway Cabaret featuring Nik Walker (Hamilton, Ain't Too Proud) on August 13 at the Westin Poinsett, in Greenville, South Carolina. The rest of its season will be announced later, which will include two new plays, as well as a new work of Theater for Young Audiences.

The Executive Director of South Carolina New Play Festival, West Hyler, said, "I can think of no better way to kick off the second year of the South Carolina New Play Festival than by sharing a beautiful unheard musical by Michael Friedman and Annie Weissman. Michael was a brilliant composer and lyricist, and a person as dazzlingly talented as he was abundantly kind. I was assistant director to Des McAnuff on an early workshop of Essential Alice and am deeply honored that Des will direct the staged reading of this beautiful musical for a public audience. By producing the first public showing of Essential Alice as well as a Cabaret starring Nik Walker, the South Carolina New Play Festival is fulfilling its goal of bringing Broadway to Greenville and shining a light on important, yet-to-be-produced works of American Theater."

The 2023 festival will take place at venues including The Gunter Theatre, Warehouse Theatre, Greenville Theatre, South Carolina Children's Theater, CentreStage, and a closing night Cabaret at the Westin Poinsett. All readings will be free with reserved seating. Tickets for the Cabaret starring Nik Walker are on sale. To reserve a seat or learn more about the South Carolina New Play Festival, visit

Michael Friedman

(Composer) was an Obie Award winning composer/lyricist. He 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 The Fortress of Solitude, based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Lethem; Unknown Soldier, which premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival; and Love's Labour's Lost, which premiered at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. 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 PostElectric Play. His latest collaboration with Civilians' Artistic Director Cosson, The Abominables, opened at Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis in September, 2017. Michael received a MacDowell Fellowship, a Princeton Hodder Fellowship, a Meet The Composer Fellowship, and he 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. In 2018, Michael received a star on the Playwrights' Sidewalk at the Lucille Lortel Theater.

Annie Weisman

(Bookwriter) - Annie is the creator, writer, and executive producer of the acclaimed half-hour dark comedy PHYSICAL, which just filmed its third season for Apple TV+ with Tomorrow Studios. Her other television credits include DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, SUBURGATORY, ABOUT A BOY, THE PATH, and ALMOST FAMILY. Annie's work as a playwright includes Be Aggressive (La Jolla Playhouse, Dallas Theatre Center, TheatreWorks), Hold Please (South Coast Repertory, Old Globe Theatre, Working Theatre), and Surf Report (South Coast Repertory).

Des McAnuff

(Director) is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and former artistic director of Canada's Stratford Festival. He is also director emeritus of La Jolla Playhouse, where as artistic director he staged over 30 productions of classics, new plays and musicals. He's co-founder of Broadway's Dodgers. Broadway: Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Doctor Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Musical), Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (Tony Award: Best Special Theatrical Event), Dracula the Musical, How to Succeed..., The Who's Tommy (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Director), A Walk in the Woods, Big River (Tony Awards: Best Director, Best Musical). Selected New York: Fetch Clay, Make Man (NYTW); multiple productions at The Public and BAM. Stratford highlights: A Word or Two, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest (all with Christopher Plummer), Twelfth Night (with Brian Dennehy). Opera: Faust (The Met, ENO). TV: 700 Sundays (HBO). Film: Cousin Bette (with Jessica Lange, director), The Iron Giant (producer, BAFTA Award) and Quills (executive producer). In 2011, he was honoured with a doctorate from Ryerson University where he attended theatre school. In 2012, he was awarded Canada's Governor General's National Arts Center Award and the Order of Canada. Upcoming: Ain't Too Proud (West End), The Ballad of Johnny & June.

Nik Walker

is an actor, writer, and movie/theme park nerd, who's been enjoying a life in the industry for two decades and counting. Perhaps best known for his work as Aaron Burr in the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton, he's the cohost of the arts/activism show The Chaos Twins, the movie podcast, Little Justice, and Cleaners, the animated series he co-created with the incredible Alex Brightman, is currently in development at Warner Bros. Discovery. In the free time between all of this, Nik is a highly unqualified adjunct at NYU.

Visit for tickets or more information.

Photo credit: Heather Weston

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