Second Installment of 'The Michael Friedman Collection' to Feature Adam Chanler-Berat, Mary Testa and More

The two new titles, available August 14, are '(I Am) Nobody’s Lunch' and Paris Commune

By: Aug. 06, 2020
Second Installment of 'The Michael Friedman Collection' to Feature Adam Chanler-Berat, Mary Testa and More

GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS and The Civilians have announced that the second installment of world premiere albums of The Michael Friedman Collection, will be available for streaming and download on Friday, August 14. Two new titles, (I Am) Nobody's Lunch and Paris Commune, follow the first three - The Great Immensity, The Abominables, and This Beautiful City - that were released last year. (I Am) Nobody's Lunch features music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and a book by Steve Cosson, from interviews by the company. Paris Commune, was written by Steve Cosson and Michael Friedman, with songs translated and adapted by Michael Friedman. This extraordinary long-term project will eventually comprise the premiere recordings of nine musicals from the beloved late Obie Award-winning songwriter Michael Friedman. For more information, and to stream or download the albums, please visit

The Michael Friedman Collection is made possible by the generous donors to the Michael Friedman Legacy Fund and by the artistic contributions of his many collaborators.

Ghostlight previously recorded Friedman's Broadway score to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Fortress of Solitude and Love's Labour's Lost at The Public Theater, as well as Pretty Filthy and Gone Missing with The Civilians.

"The Michael Friedman recording project has truly been the work of a community," says Friedman's collaborator Steve Cosson. "As we all continue to feel the deep pain of his loss, there is solace in our being able to preserve and share his music with generations to come. In spending time with his work, I'm reminded with each song how much of Michael's singular self is present in his music. The fact that his voice is so clear and present even as he finds his way inside of so many different genres, subject matters, and characters is a testament to how fully open to the world he was. Michael could find a point of connection with anything and from that build a song, working as part-explorer, part-essayist and of course, composer. Because of that, listening to his work both takes us out into the world and offers a portal into Michael's astonishing mind and his enormous capacity for empathy. How he lived is built into every thought and note of these songs, and I'm so glad that these recordings will add to his previously published works, offering others a chance to know his music, and through that, know Michael."

"Since the untimely death of my friend and colleague Michael Friedman," says label founder Kurt Deutsch. "The Civilians, Michael's family and my label Ghostlight Records have all been working to preserve his legacy. It was my honor to work side by side in the studio with Michael to preserve Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Fortress of Solitude and others. Now his life's work will continue to live on and inspire generations of musical theatre lovers to come."

(I Am) Nobody's Lunch, a dark ride through the landscape of American public culture, asks the thorny question - how do we know what we know when everyone in power seems to be lying? Is it possible to know what's really going on in the world when information is manipulated to serve particular interests? Delving into the politics of information, The Civilians conducted extensive interviews with subjects ranging from a policymaker to a plucky extraterrestrial to soldiers guarding the New York subway. Turning these subjects into a mercurial cabaret-play, a versatile cast inhabits an eccentric cast of characters, all taken from real life. (I Am) Nobody's Lunch received its U.S. Premiere by The Civilians at 59E59 Theaters in New York City in 2006. Later that year, it received its London Premiere by The Civilians at Soho Theatre. The album features Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Nick Blaemire, Adam Chanler-Berat, Brad Heberlee, Daoud Heidami, Osh Ghanimah, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Jennifer R. Morris, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, Brian Charles Rooney, and Mary Testa, with an ensemble including Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, Stephen Schapero, and Jacob Keith Watson.

Paris Commune is musical play which brings the explosive events of 1871 to life, as working-class Parisians overthrew the French government, declared Paris autonomous and launched an attempt to radically reinvent society. The show employs a bold theatrical form to tell the story of this first socialist revolution in Europe. It uses found texts and original songs from the time period to tell the story of this extraordinary event in which the Parisian community radically reimagined its entire society. Paris Commune was praised for its "dizzy exhilaration" by The New York Times and called a "wistfully, tunefully scholarly collage" by New York Magazine and "passionate and cleverly constructed" by The Boston Globe. Paris Commune had its world premiere in the 2012 BAM Next Wave Festival and ArtsEmerson in Boston, with previous productions at The Public Theater and La Jolla Playhouse. The album features Kate Buddeke, Aysan Celik, Charlotte Dobbs, Rebecca Hart, Nina Hellman, Daniel Jenkins, Brian Sgambati, and Sam Breslin Wright, with an ensemble including Randy Blair, Ally Bonino, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, and Jonathan Raviv.

Both albums are produced by Steve Cosson and Kurt Deutsch, co-produced by Ian Kagey, Wiley Deweese, Dan Lipton, and Amy C. Ashton. They feature Dan Lipton as Music Director and orchestrations by Wiley Deweese. Cover illustrations are by Josh Neufeld (

Michael Friedman was a composer and lyricist of enormous versatility and deep intellectual curiosity. 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: Fortress of Solitude, based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Lethem, and performed at The Public Theater; Unknown Soldier, which premiered at The Williamstown Theatre Festival; and Love's Labour's Lost, which premiered at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. Michael was a founding Associate Artist of the celebrated theater company, The Civilians. His work with The Civilians included Gone Missing, In the Footprint, The Great Immensity, Paris Commune, (I Am) Nobody's Lunch, The Abominables and This Beautiful City, as well as the score for Anne Washburn's critically-acclaimed Mr. Burns.

His work has filled the stages of most major Off Broadway and regional theaters, establishing a body of work in two decades that is distinguished not only by its artistry, wit and inventiveness, but by its keen insights into the American experience. Often working with verbatim interviews as source material, Michael showed an uncanny ability to draw out expansive ideas from the distillation of a single human voice. He drew on that skill while traveling the country in the lead up to the 2016 election, creating The State of the Union Songbook a series of songs based on interviews for The New Yorker Radio Hour.

Michael 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. Other career highlights include a retrospective concert at Lincoln Center in the "American Songbook" series, and an Obie Award for sustained excellence in 2007, among many other honors. 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 New York City Center Encores! Off-Center.


1. The Telephone Song

2. Someone to Keep Me Warm

3. It's Scary How Easy It Is

4. Watch Out Ladies

5. Supersecret Places

6. The Song of Progressive Disenchantment

7. America

8. Schrodinger's Cat


1. Le Temps des Cerises

2. La Canaille

3. I Love the Military

4. Song of May

5. Yodeling Ducks

6. God of the Bigots

7. The Internationale

8. Ah! Je Veux Vivre

9. Mon Homme

10. The Captain

11. The Bloody Week

12. Le Temps des Cerises (Reprise)


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