For many years now, I’ve been an associate artist with The Civilians, an “investigative theatre” group founded by the brilliant Steve Cosson. The Civilians combine their own research and reportage with musical theatre to create productions on such topics as climate change, paranoia, loss, evangelical Christianity, the porn industry, and New York City itself. Their work is both thought-provoking and highly entertaining.
So what role do I play, you ask? Well, I don’t really sing, dance, or act, so I stick to my so-called strength: drawing. Over the years, I’ve illustrated Civilians programs, announcements cards, album covers, benefit cards, flyers, and even a comic adapted from a monologue from their play Gone Missing.
In 2017, the company tragically lost founding member Michael Friedman, the composer and lyricist for so many of their productions. Ever since, then I’ve been illustrating album covers for the “Michael Friedman Collection” — nine albums of songs from Civilians musicals for which he wrote the music. (You can see four of those covers in the image above, and you can listen to the entire collection here.)
Well, tomorrow, Monday, April 3, The Civilians are holding their 2023 spring benefit, celebrating their Michael Friedman Recording Project. Here are some more details:
“Join us on April 3rd, for a star-studded One-Night-Only Concert at City Winery in Manhattan, celebrating the Michael Friedman Recording Project and honoring Kurt Deutsch and Ghostlight Records. Enjoy an amazing evening of music that will make you laugh, cry — maybe both — with many of Michael’s most beloved songs!
The event will feature brilliant performances from Andrea Daly, Andrew Kober, Colleen Werthmann, Grace Field, Heath Saunders, Jonathan Raviv, Kristin Stokes, Luba Mason, Maya Sharpe, Mike Cefalo, Nedra Marie Taylor, Nick Blaemire, Rebecca Hart and Trey Lyford, Jennifer Blood, Akron Watson, Vaibu Mahon, Steve Rosen, Perry Sherman.”
And here’s a link to the event — tickets are still available. Personally, I can’t wait!