Remembering Michael Friedman, Composer and Lyricist for The Abominables


It is with heavy hearts that we share the news with our community on the passing of composer Michael Friedman who died on September 9th at the age of 41. Michael was the composer and lyricist of The Abominables, which is to receive its world premiere performance on Friday, September 15 in our UnitedHealth Group Stage. The Abominables was commissioned by CTC in 2011 and is written by Michael and his longtime collaborator Steve Cosson of The Civilians.

“Michael was an extraordinary artist and an incredible human being,” said Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius. “He was brilliant, wildly funny and so deeply caring about other people. Michael was such a joy; his boundless energy, his infectious enthusiasm, and his ability to be so fearlessly self-critical and clear eyed in the pursuit of something truly extraordinary made him utterly unique. He never rested, was a brave explorer of new possibilities and was one of the most creative forces you would ever meet. We deeply mourn his passing and feel truly blessed to have had this opportunity to work closely with him and bring his work to our audiences.”

While we are deeply saddened that Michael will not see the world premiere, we feel fortunate to be able to bring one of his final works of art to the stage and share his artistry with the community, in particular, with children and families. We dedicate the performances of The Abominables to Michael Friedman. Click here for more information about The Abominables.

About Michael Friedman
Michael Friedman’s musicals include: The Abominables; Unknown Soldier, The Fortress of Solitude; Love’s Labour’s Lost; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and many works with the company The Civilians. He was The Barron Visiting Professor at the Princeton Environmental Institute and artist-in-residence at Spring Workshop Hong Kong. An evening of his songs was featured in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series and he received an OBIE Award for sustained achievement. His series of songs about the 2016 elections can be heard on the New Yorker Radio Hour on WNYC. He was currently Artistic Director of City Center Encores! Off-Center and Artist in Residence and Director of the Public Forum at the Public Theater.


Press Coverage of Michael Friedman’s Legacy

Star Tribune: Composer and Lyricist of new CTC play, Obie winner Michael Friedman dies at 41
Pioneer Press: AP Wire: Composer of Children’s Theatre hockey musical dies days before opening
New York Times: Michael Friedman, Co-Creator of “Bloody Bloody AJ” dies at 41
New York Times: Michael Friedman, a Man of Many Voices and a Gift of Prophecy
Broadway World: Children's Theatre Company Releases Statement on Michael Friedman; His New Musical THE ABOMINABLES to Premiere 9/15
The New Yorker: Remembering Michael Friedman
Variety: Michael Friedman, ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’ Composer and Lyricist, Dies at 41

Michael Friedman speaking to the creative process for The Abominables.



Episode 1: "A Team" Mom Happy Hour



Episode 2: Door Décor Debacle



Episode 3: Pre-game Bedazzling

STEVE COSSON (Director, Playwright)
Steve is a director and writer. He has originated and developed many original plays and musicals. Recently, The Undertaking (BAM Next Wave, US tour, Theatre de la Ville, Paris); José Rivera’s Another Word for Beauty (Goodman Theatre); Rimbaud in New York (BAM); Pretty Filthy (The Civilians at Abrons Art Center); the Off Broadway revival of The Belle of Amherst starring Joely Richardson. The Great Immensity (The Public Theater, Kansas City Rep); Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (Playwrights Horizons, Woolly Mammoth), The Great Immensity (The Public Theater, Kansas City Rep); This Beautiful City (Vineyard, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Humana Festival); and many others.

MICHAEL FRIEDMAN (Music, Lyrics and Orchestrations)
Michael’s musicals include Unknown Soldier; The Fortress of Solitude; Love’s Labour’s Lost; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and many works with the company The Civilians. He has been the Barron Visiting Professor at the Princeton Environmental Institute and artist-in-residence at Spring Workshop Hong Kong. An evening of his songs was featured in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, and he received an OBIE Award for sustained achievement. His series of songs about the 2016 elections can be heard on the New Yorker Radio Hour on WNYC. He is currently Artistic Director of City Center Encores! Off-Center and Artist in Residence and Director of the Public Forum at the Public Theater.

JOE CHVALA (Choreographer)
Joe is the founder and artistic director of the highly-acclaimed percussive dance company, the Flying Foot Forum. Chvala has directed, choreographed and been commissioned to create new works for a variety of theater and dance companies such as the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Art Center, Children’s Theatre Company, Gothenburg’s Balettakademien, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Park Square Theatre and Zenon Dance Company. He has been the recipient of both Ivey and Sage awards for theater and dance as well as numerous choreographic and interdisciplinary awards, fellowships and grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Target and the McKnight Foundation.

ANDREW FLESER (Music Director)
Andrew was music director for the Theatre Arts Training production of Spring Awakening at Children’s Theatre Company. He has also served as music director for organizations throughout the Twin Cities, including History Theatre (Glensheen; Orphan Train; The Working Boys Band; This Side of Paradise; The Christmas Schooner); Skylark Opera (Putting It Together; The Fantasticks); and Mu Performing Arts/Park Square Theatre (Flower Drum Song). Andrew is also a classical pianist and vocal coach in the Twin Cities, and can be heard on Minnesota Public Radio and A Prairie Home Companion.

ANDREW BOYCE (Scenic Designer)
Andrew is a Chicago-based designer working in theatre, opera, and film/TV. NY credits include: Lincoln Center Theater, Roundabout Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and Playwrights Realm. Regional credits include: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alliance, A.C.T. (SF), American Players, Asolo Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, Dallas Theater Center, The Geffen, George Street Playhouse, The Goodman, Kirk Douglas, The Magic Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Milwaukee Rep, Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Yale Rep. Andrew is a member of the design collective Wingspace, is a graduate of Yale School of Drama and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Northwestern University Theater Department.
andrewboycedesign.com

JESSICA PABST (Costume Designer)
Broadway: Marvin's Room; The Heidi Chronicles. Recent Off-Broadway: A Life; Rancho Viejo; The Profane; Marjorie Prime; The Whale (Playwrights Horizons - won Lucille Lortel Award); Cost of Living; When We Were Young and Unafraid; Murder Ballad (Manhattan Theatre Club); Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theatre); Buyer and Cellar (Barrow Street Theatre and National Tour, London’s The Chocolate Factory, The Rattlestick); Drama Desk nomination for She Kills Monsters (The Flea Theatre). Many productions with LCT3, Second Stage, Primary Stages, Atlantic Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, The Rattlestick Theatre, P73, The Flea Theatre and Clubbed Thumb. Regionally: The Humana Theatre Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Long Warf, Kirk Douglas, Cleveland Playhouse and Williamstown Theater Festival.

JAKE DEGROOT (Lighting Designer)
Jake is a Drama Desk Award Nominee and an LA Drama Critics Circle Award winner. His design for Oh, Hello on Broadway is streaming on Netflix. Recent Off-Broadway credits include: The Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout); SeaWife (Naked Angles); Fly (New Victory); and Here’s Hoover (Les Freres Corbusier). Recent regional credits include: The Temple Bombing (The Alliance Theatre); Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat (Adirondack Theatre Festival); and Good Men Wanted (NY Stage and Film). His designs have been seen at The Huntington, The Geffen, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pasadena Playhouse and many others. BFA, Carnegie Mellon.
jakedegroot.com

STEN SEVERSON (Sound Designer)
Sten has designed sound on Broadway, London’s West End, Off-Broadway and in numerous Regional theaters. He is a partner in Acme Sound Partners, who have collectively garnered five Tony® nominations and four Drama Desk awards. Selected credits: Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches the Musical; Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical; Peter Pan the Musical (CTC); Hair; Merchant of Venice (Broadway); The Total Bent (Public Theater – won an Audelco Award); Hamlet; Othello; Comedy of Errors (Old Globe in San Diego); Into the Woods; King Lear (Delacorte Theater in Central Park). He has taught at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts and the Yale School of Drama.

ELISSA ADAMS (Dramaturg)
Elissa is the Director of New Play Development at CTC. Since 1998, she has overseen the commissioning and development of more than 45 new plays that have premiered at CTC. Previously, she served as Director of Playwright Services at The Playwrights’ Center and Literary Manager at La Jolla Playhouse. She is a frequent guest Dramaturg at the Sundance Theatre Lab. Elissa is an Artistic Associate with Theater Latté Da, teaches a course in the theatrical process at MCAD, and has served on the board of Open Eye Figure Theatre and TYA/USA. Elissa was a 2007 recipient of a McKnight Foundation Theater Artist Fellowship.

RYAN BOURQUE (Fight & Hockey Choreographer)
Ryan has acted in and choreographed the violence for The Glory of the World at Brooklyn Academy of Music Harvey Theater and Actors Theatre. Other credits: Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova); Twelfth Night (The Public Theater); Macbeth; Recent Alien Abductions (Actors Theater of Louisville); Lookingglass Theatre Company; Victory Gardens Theater; Steppenwolf Theatre Company; The Hypocrites. He won the 2015 Joseph Jefferson Award for his fight design in All Our Tragic.

WILEY DEWEESE (Orchestrator)
Wiley recently served as music director and orchestrator for the The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical Off-Broadway. Other recent credits as a music director, musician or associate: Amélie (Broadway, Center Theater Group, Berkeley Rep.); The Wildness (Ars Nova); First Daughter Suite (Public Theater); Preludes (Lincoln Center Theater - LCT3); Fortress of Solitude (Public Theater). Wiley holds a B.M. from NYU Steinhardt.

LEAH JENSEN (Assistant Director)
Leah is so excited to rejoin her CTC family as assistant director for The Abominables! Leah is a recent college graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where she majored in theatre art and minored in women’s and gender studies. Previously at CTC she has been a student and has worked as a summer teaching assistant in their Theatre Arts Training program. Leah would like to thank her parents for all of their support in her theatrical career and hopes everyone enjoys the show!

KATIE DEUTSCH (Assistant Lighting Director)
Katie is excited to be a part of the creative team after being a Lighting Design Intern for Theatre Arts Training’s productions of Annie Jr. and Hair at CTC this past summer. She graduated this past May from the University of Minnesota with her B.A. in Theatre Arts with a focus in Design and Technology. She designed for High Jinx; Within Our Skin(s) in the University Dance Theater (University of Minnesota Twin Cities). She has worked with many companies around the Twin Cities including History Theatre, Pillsbury House + Theatre, and Penumbra Theatre Company.

STACY MCINTOSH (Stage Manager)
Stacy is in her 20th season at CTC. Some of her favorite credits include: The Jungle Book; The Biggest Little House in the Forest; A Wrinkle in Time; A Christmas Story; Five Fingers of Funk!; Bud, Not Buddy; Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (1999); Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas; and A Year with Frog and Toad (CTC and Broadway). Stacy has also worked in San Francisco and New York. Her hockey credits include Stage Managing the NHL Stadium Series. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. She would like to thank Dean and her biggest accomplishments Henry and Emmet, for their love, patience and great ideas.

NATE STANGER (Assistant Stage Manager)
Nate is proud to be back at Children’s Theatre Company. His previous credits include: Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches the Musical; Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical; The Jungle Book; and The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats. Since graduating from the University of Minnesota, he has been fortunate to work with such companies as The Guthrie (The Parchman Hour); The Ordway (Jesus Christ Superstar; White Christmas; A Chorus Line; The Sound of Music; Pirates of Penzance; Damn Yankees; A Christmas Story); Park Square Theatre (Amy’s View; and Romeo and Juliet); and Walking Shadow Theatre Company.

SONJA THORSON (Assistant Stage Manager)
Sonja, a proud member of AEA, is excited to be back in Minnesota and at Children’s Theatre Company after working in NYC for the last few years. CTC: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Dr. Seuss’s The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Select Broadway/Regional/New York credits include: Long Day’s Journey into Night (Roundabout); The Servant of Two Masters (Theatre for a New Audience); Owners (Yale Repertory Theatre); Afterland (Yale Institute for Music Theatre); and You Got Older (Page 73). Sonja received her BS from South Dakota State University and her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Berit, Corrie and Jenny Friend for everything.

EVA CHASTAIN (Stage Management Intern)
Eva is thrilled to work with CTC this season! In the past, she has managed shows such as Cats; Miss Saigon; Red, White and Tuna; Sideshow; and 101 Dalmatians at Casa Mañana, Fort Worth. At the Conservatory of Fine Arts, Webster University she managed The Philadelphia Story and The Miser. She has also managed You’re a Good Man… and Look Up, an original work with Kids Who Care, Fort Worth. During high school She received the Dallas Summer Musical High School Musical Theatre Award for Best Crew and Technical Execution for management of her high school production of Peter Pan (2015).

COLETRANE T. JOHNSON (Stage Management Intern)
Coletrane has previously enjoyed roles as a student actor in Pippi Longstocking; and Alice in Wonderland (Children's Theatre Company). He directed productions of Little Women; Seussical; Tarzan; and Fiddler On The Roof (Highland Park Community Center Theatre); Dog Sees God: Confessions Of A Teenage Blockhead; and Superhero Sanitarium (Washburn High School). He acted in an original show at The Theatre School at DePaul, and has been seen onstage locally in Blood Brothers; and Jesus Christ Superstar (The Chameleon Theatre Circle), as well as toured around the Midwest as an actor-educator with CLIMB Theatre.

THE CIVILIANS is a theater company dedicated to creating and producing work that dynamically engages our broader social and political environment. Since its founding in 2001 by Artistic Director Steve Cosson and a company of artists, The Civilians has achieved acclaim as the premier investigative theater company in the country. The Obie award-winning group draws from community interviews, research, residencies, and other methods to devise innovative work that explores some of today’s most intriguing topics. Now in its 17th year, its productions have taken the stage at notable theaters such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse and the American Repertory Theater, as well as at arts presenters and festivals in over 40 cities around the globe.
thecivilians.org

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