Michael Friedman, Composer of Broadway’s ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,’ Dies at 41

New York theater veteran died of complications from HIV/AIDS

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Michael Friedman, a composer and lyricist whose musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” played on Broadway in 2010, died Saturday at age 41.

He died of complications from HIV/AIDS, according to New York’s Public Theater, where he was an artist in residence and director of the Public Forum.

In addition, Friedman served as artistic director of Encores! Off-Center at New York City Center and was co-founder of The Civilians theater company.

He created a sensation with “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a modern take on America’s seventh president — with a book by Alex Timbers — that presented the populist outsider as an emo-rock antihero.

The show debuted at the Public in 2009 before transferring to Broadway the following year for a brief run that made a star of Ben Walker and earned two Tony nominations.

Friedman wrote the music and lyrics for “Saved,” an Off Broadway musical based on the 2004 indie movie about teens at a Christian high school, as well as a remarkable musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” that reteamed him with Timbers and premiered at the Public’s summertime Shakespeare in the Park in 2013.

Other credits include “In the Bubble,” “The Brand New Kid,” “God’s Ear” and “The Blue Demon.”

“Michael brought so much joy and beauty and humor to our lives,” his sister Marion Friedman Young said in a statement. “To lose him so soon is devastating. We are so grateful to the people who loved him, made art with him, and were so supportive of his work, and made it possible for Michael’s extraordinary gifts to reach so many people.”

“Michael Friedman was one of the most brilliant, multi-talented theater artists of our time,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “He was also a miracle of a human being: loving, kind, generous, hilarious, thrilling. His loss leaves a hole in the theater world that cannot be filled, and a hole in the hearts of those who loved him that will last forever.”