The Civilians, Theater Troupe
The Brooklyn-based Civilians do what they call “investigative theater”; their shows tackle socio-political issues, the scripts derived from research and interviews—often verbatim! In 2010, they presented at the Irondale in Fort Greene In the Footprint, a musical about the development of Atlantic Yards (within walking distance of the construction site!) that included the voices of residents, activists, and politicians. In September, they will present a new show at Joe’s Pub about the Occupy movement on its one-year anniversary, and in October they christen BAM’s new Fisher theater with Paris Commune, about Europe’s first working-class uprising.
We spoke to Civilians composer Michael Friedman, who co-created Paris (and wrote the music for In the Footprint) with founder and artistic director Steve Cosson. Friedman’s perhaps best known for writing the score to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which moved to Broadway from the Public in 2010.
What neighborhood do you live in?
Clinton Hill. I love it—the architecture, the people, the mood.
How long have you been in NY? What brought you here?
I came here for no good reason 15 years ago.
What’s the best venue where your work has been performed in NY? And where would you love to see it that you haven’t yet?
Actually, having my work performed at BAM had been a dream since I came to NYC, so that’s coming true. I’ve had work at some really great venues; the Delacorte in Central Park and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room have the best views.
If you could collaborate with any artists, living or dead, who would they be?
Living, Jasper Johns; dead, Balanchine.