Michael Friedman. (Photo by Heather Weston)

Williamstown Theatre Fest Establishes J. Michael Friedman Fellowship

The new fellowship, named in honor of the late composer, will support emerging theatre artists.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.: Williamstown Theatre Festival announced today that it has established the J. Michael Friedman Fellowship. The fellowship will identify a promising early-career theatre artist who has demonstrated an artistic commitment to Williamstown Theatre Festival. The fellowship will provide opportunities for the selected fellow to create or collaborate on work deemed important and meaningful to the fellow’s artistic and career development, and the life and culture of the festival.

The inaugural fellow will be announced later this summer at the season kickoff of the festival, and the person who is awarded the fellowship will be invited back next season to develop a new work.

“This fellowship is created to honor the memory of J. Michael Friedman, our brilliant, inspired and inspiring colleague for whom no artistic challenge was too great,” said artistic director Mandy Greenfield in a statement. “Michael’s tireless energy, boundless intellect and singular gifts were put to such varied uses as collaborator, composer, dramaturg, advocate, agitator, activist, curator and writer over the course of his career at the festival and in the theatre, at large.”

Composer J. Michael Friedman began his career at Williamstown Theatre Festival as a music intern in 1999. Since then, he wrote music for many productions at the festival, including the first workshop of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson in 2006 ,the 2015 world premiere of Unknown Soldier, the Free Theatre’s A Servant of Two Masters, and Landscape of the Body, directed by Michael Greif. Friedman’s work with the festival lasted over the course of five artistic directors, including Michael Ritchie, Roger Rees, Nicolas Martin, Jenny Gersten, and Mandy Greenfield.

Williamstown Theatre Festival was founded in 1955 in the Berkshires and is an annual summer theatre festival of premiere works, new productions, and cultural events that brings together emerging artists and theatre professionals. Past premieres at the festival include the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Cost of Living, The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, The Visit, and Paradise Blue, which is currently playing at Signature Theatre in New York.