The Civilians have announced the creation of the Michael Friedman Legacy Fund, a new initiative dedicated to preserving and releasing the work of the late composer-lyricist known for the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, as well as Gone Missing and Fortress of Solitude.
Friedman, who was a founding member of the Brooklyn-based theatre collective The Civilians, died last September at the age of 41. The prolific writer left behind a large body of work, some of which remains unheard or unpublished.
The fund will allow for the Civilians to prepare archives of Friedman’s complete body of work to be housed by the New York Public Library, some of which will be digitized and made available online. Also planned are cast albums of Friedman’s previously unrecorded music to be released in a partnership with Ghostlight Records.
The Civilians are launching the fund with a June 4 concert of Friedman’s music at Joe’s Pub, with a lineup of performers and special guests including 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, Colleen Werthmann, John Ellison Conlee, Greg Hildreth, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Kristolyn Lloyd, Kevin Mambo, Luba Mason, Jessica Phillips, Britton Smith, Jill Sobule, Mary Testa, Juson Williams, and The New Yorker’s Sarah Larson.
Friedman’s works also included The Civilians’ Pretty Filthy and This Beautiful City, as well as the Shakespeare in the Park production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. A majority of Friedman’s work was dedicated to capturing and reflecting the American experience, both past and present. He traveled the country before the 2016 election, creating a series of songs based on interviews for The New Yorker Radio Hour. At the time of his death, he was the artist in residence and director of the Public Forum at the Public Theater and the newly appointed artistic director of City Center Encores! Off-Center.