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Alan Foster Friedman

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Alan Foster Friedman In Memoriam
1931 - 2015 IN MEMORIAM Alan Foster Friedman, playwright, composer, lyricist, essayist, was born in Buffalo, NY, and grew up in Los Angeles. He died at 84 after a brief illness in Burlington, VT. His theatrical quest began as a young Stage Manager at the Circle Theatre; Pierre LaMure's "Montmartre" was the production he most remembered. Alan left L.A. in his twenties to become a composer in NYC. Part of Tamiment's amazing 1960 roster, he was signed by BMI and wrote cabaret revue numbers independently and with Dennis Marks (d.2006) for FALLOUT, Off-Broadway, Broadway's "Talent 59 Show," and Julius Monk's UPSTAIRS AT THE DOWNSTAIRS and DOWNSTAIRS AT THE UPSTAIRS (including Monk's LPs). Alan Foster Friedman was the original composer of the 1964 Broadway show, BAKER STREET, directed by Hal Prince. During the following decade, The Equity Library Theatre at Lincoln Center produced Mr. Friedman's A MUSICAL TIMEPIECE for which he did book, music and lyrics. He was Associate Producer on "The Stanley Siegel Show" (WABC-TV), and book writer for THE NEWCOMERS, a musical with Craig Carnelia that evolved into Friedman's straight play, A DAY OUT OF TIME (Ellis Island 1906). Selected by TCG's Plays in Process 1982 Season, it premiered at The New Federal Theatre in NYC, produced by Woodie King, Jr., directed by Harold Guskin; and in L.A. at The Colony Theatre. The playwright discussed its inception with The L.A. Times in June 1986, when he and director Michael David Wadler were interviewed by Martin Workman on KFAC's "Luncheon at the Music Center." The Detroit Repertory and Houston's Main Street Theatre also produced the work. Friedman was a member of The Dramatist Guild, ASCAP, and The Writers Guild. Mr. Friedman won the prestigious 1983 Beverly Hills "Leslie Playwright" Award for A KING IN RUINS about an artist. THE LAST DANCEMAN about an ex-vaudevillian was also produced by Woodie King, Jr. at The New Federal Theatre in 1984, directed by John Pynchon Holms and reviewed by The Village Voice. Friedman's underscoring won an ASCAP award. That same year, his whimsical play about fatherhood, THE ADVENTURES OF STANLEY TOMORROW, won the Illinois State University Playwrights Competition, selected by playwright Dale Wasserman. It was staged at ISU's Allen Theatre in Bloomington. It also had a 2002 production at the Edyvean Theatre in Indianapolis. Alan Friedman was Staff Writer in 1986 with L.A. colleague Michael Norell on Aaron Spelling's "Aloha, Paradise." Alan's passion for The City of Lights, travels, and 400+ pertinent books inspired the Friedman drama, A PARIS WINDOW, but Alan beamed that "his best creation was his 'Made in Paris' son, Ari, whose name will always be in the center of Paris!". Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," was a continual joy and the last film Alan re-watched a few days before he died. A voracious reader, Friedman corresponded with favorite authors, wrote everything by typewriter, possessed Remington and Royal manuals and three electrics. Immersed in the depth of theatre, he emphasized the need to "mine" the source of a work and "get the words in the right order!" Alan was striking in looks even in older age. His wife Sam noted his "resemblance" to 19th century Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle (by Pre-Raphaelite photographer Julia Cameron). Amused, Alan kept Carlyle's image next to one of himself on his desk. The Friedmans decided to move to New England; its beauty fostered Alan's return to composing. He worked diligently on a libretto, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A HOUSE, celebrating life in the tiny state, but it was left unfinished. Its extant songs were recorded in 2003; in one, Alan expresses his delight in "Old Books." A solo composition, Mr. Friedman honors 9/11 in his rousing "We Are New York!". His final project was revising his play about a poet, COUNTING SILVER, also set in Vermont. Typewriters now silent, Alan Foster Friedman leaves devoted wife Sammie, son Ari, and hound Thurber; his sister Susan Galpert of Pasadena, relatives, and life-long friends on both Coasts. Donations can be made to The Dramatist Guild Fund, 356 West 40th Street, 2nd floor, NYC, 10018; dgfund.org., or Looziana Basset Rescue, www.loozianabassetrescue.org.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 15, 2016
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