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Ghostlight Records and The Civilians have joined together to release The Michael Friedman Collection, a long-term project which will comprise the premiere recordings of nine musicals from the beloved late Obie Award-winning songwriter Michael Friedman.
The Great Immensity, a thrilling and timely production originally presented in association with The Public Theater and Kansas City Rep, is a continent-hopping thriller following a woman, Phyllis, as she pursues her husband Karl who disappeared from a tropical island while on an assignment for a nature show. Through her search, Phyllis uncovers a mysterious plot surrounding the upcoming international climate summit in Paris. As the days count down to the summit, Phyllis must decipher the plan and possibly stop it in time. With a wide-ranging score, the show is a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: how can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us? It was praised for its “enlivening humor” by The New York Times, which added “Mr. Friedman’s limber melodies are the perfect match for his often droll lyrics.”
The Great Immensity features Cindy Cheung, John Ellison Conlee, Dan Domingues, Trey Lyford, Erin Wilhelmi, and an ensemble of Ally Bonino, Erica Dorfler, and Billy Hepfinger.
It is produced by Steve Cosson and Kurt Deutsch, and co-produced by Ian Kagey, Wiley DeWeese, Andrea Grody, Amy C. Ashton, and Greg Brunswick. Andrea Grody serves as Music Director.
“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.”
“It’s been a little over two years since my friend and colleague Michael’s untimely death,” 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.”
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.
- Track Listing
- The Hot World – Erin Wilhelmi, The Great Immensity Original Cast Recording Ensemble
- We Are All Panamanian – Dan Domingues, John Ellison Conlee
- The Earth Ambassadors Theme Song! — The Great Immensity Original Cast Recording Ensemble
- ClimateSummit Suite: Stockholm 1972, Rio 1992, Kyoto 1997, Copenhagen 2009, Warsaw 2013-‑Cindy Cheung, John Ellison Conlee, Dan Domingues, Trey Lyford
- Charismatic Megafauna – Cindy Cheung
- Martha, the Last Pigeon/The Golden Lemur – Cindy Cheung, John Ellison Conlee, Dan Domingues, Trey Lyford, Billy Hepfinger
- We Are Legion – Trey Lyford, Cindy Cheung, John Ellison Conlee, Dan Domingues, Erin Wilhelmi, The Great Immensity Original Cast Recording Ensemble
- The Great Immensity – Trey Lyford, The Great Immensity Original Cast Recording Ensemble
- The Dene Village – Erin Wilhelmi
- The Great Immensity (reprise)— Trey Lyford, Erin Wilhelmi, The Great Immensity Original Cast Recording Ensemble
- The Next Forever— Trey Lyford