The Civilians' Launch The Michael Friedman Legacy Fund With Benefit Concert Featuring Greg Hildreth, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and More
The Civilians, the celebrated Off-Broadway theatre company, will host a benefit concert at Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette St.) on Monday, June 4th, 2018 at 7pm. This one-night-only event will celebrate the life and legacy of founding Associate Artist, the late composer and lyricist Michael Friedman, and will raise funds for the newly created Michael Friedman Legacy Fund. The evening will include a special concert of select songs from Michael's prolific catalogue - including songs from his musicals BLOODY, BLOODY Andrew Jackson, PRETTY FILTHY, GONE MISSING, THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST and FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE -- with performances by Civilians' artists:
Marsha Stephanie Blake, Aysan Celik, Cindy Cheung, Michael Esper, Brad Heberlee, Nina Hellman, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Nedra McClyde, Jennifer R. Morris,
Stephen Plunkett, Maria Elena Ramirez, Alison Weller, and Colleen Werthmann;
Also appearing will be special guests:
John Ellison Conlee, Greg Hildreth, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Kristolyn Lloyd, Kevin Mambo, Luba Mason, Jessica Phillips, Britton Smith, Jill Sobule, Mary Testa, and Juson Williams;
And speakers will include The New Yorker's Sarah Larson, among others.*
Monday, June 4, 2018
425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY
*guest line-up subject to change.
The June 4 event will benefit the Michael Friedman Legacy Fund, which will archive Mr. Friedman's work, record and release cast albums of his previously unrecorded music, and help fund The Civilians' ongoing commitment to creating adventuresome new works for the stage.
A beloved figure in the theater community - from downtown to Broadway and across the country - Michael Friedman died at the age of 41 in September 2017.
His family, including parents John and Carolyn Friedman and sister Marion Friedman Young, states, "It is so hard to know that there will be no more new songs to hear, and so important to us that his work remains alive and vibrant for future generations of theater lovers and scholars. We hope that by creating access to his music but also to how he worked, created, and collaborated, we will inspire future artists and thinkers."
About the Michael Friedman Legacy Fund
The Michael Friedman Legacy Fund was created by The Civilians in honor of our founding Associate Artist and board member, Michael Friedman, working in close partnership with his estate. The majority share of the Fund is dedicated to archiving and recording, serving to preserve Michael's work, and to share it with the public and future generations. The goals of the Fund are as follows:
- Archival Project: We will prepare the archives of Michael's complete body of work, as well as the archives of The Civilians, both of which will be housed by the New York Public Library. Certain materials will be digitized and made available online.
- Recording: We will record and release Michael's unrecorded music, making his rich body of work available to the public. The partner for this project is Ghostlight Records, the leading label for musical theater recordings.
- The Civilians' Artistic Future: A portion of the Fund is dedicated to supporting The Civilians as we undertake these legacy projects described above, and as we continue the work that Michael began, making adventurous new works of theater and supporting new generations of artists.
In a New Yorker essay following his untimely death at 41, Sarah Larson described Michael as "a brilliant and prolific composer and lyricist, a pianist, a thinker, a mile-a-minute talker, a gesticulator, a person who dazzled and could leave you dizzied-not just by his talent and intelligence but by his kindness and humanity, which were always at the forefront of his work." Michael's shows have filled the stages of numerous Off Broadway and regional theaters. His best-known works include the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theater), Love's Labour's Lost (Shakespeare in the Park), as well as ten original works with the company he co-founded, The Civilians, including the long-running hit Gone Missing, This Beautiful City and Pretty Filthy. 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 traveled the country before the 2016 election, creating a series of songs based on interviews for The New Yorker Radio Hour. Other career highlights include a retrospective concert at Lincoln Center, and an Obie for sustained excellence in 2007 among many other awards. 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.
Since its founding by Steve Cosson and a company of Associate Artists in 2001, The Civilians has established itself a leading innovator in new work and the premier investigative theater company in the country, having made numerous critically-acclaimed works derived from creative field research. The company came to international prominence with Gone Missing, which toured the US and UK for several years, culminating in a one-year Off Broadway commercial run. Other notable shows include Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, which later became one of the ten most produced plays in the 2015-16 season, José Rivera's Another Word for Beauty, Michael Friedman and Bess Wohl's Pretty Filthy, and Friedman and Cosson's Paris Commune among many others. The company has participated in several BAM Next Wave Festivals and has been produced at major New York and regional theaters including The Public Theater, Vineyard, Playwrights Horizons, Center Theatre Group, Humana Festival, Goodman Theater, ART, La Jolla Playhouse, and many others. The Civilians was the first theater company to be an artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first to be invited to the main TED Conference to perform as a TED talk, and the company's show The Great Immensity was the first major American play about climate change. The company supports a number of emerging and established artists each year through its R & D Program, cabaret series, the Let Me Ascertain You podcast, and its online journal for socially-engaged theater, Extended Play.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski