Composer David Friedman is part of the Desperate Measures team making people laugh at Shakespeare over at New World Stages. Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical and the Drama desk Awards for Outstanding Music (Friedman) and Lyrics (Peter Kellogg), the wild western take on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure is a silly fun in the midst of desperate times.
Friedman continues his positive message in a book called "We Can Be Kind: Healing Our World One Kindness at a Time" (Mango, 2017). Chapter titles like "So Many Hurts that Happen every Day," "How Do We Make it Better," "The Power to Heal is Right Here in Our Hand" come are taken from Friedman's song "We Can Be Kind."
It's a charming collections of thoughts and hope. Friedman challenges readers to consider what they and others encounter every day and to make something positive come from it. Though the book is diminutive (it is 5 1/2 by 7 inches) it has a big impact. Friedman doesn't preach, he reasons. To quote him:
- Pain is certainly a big part of our lives, whether we choose to notice it or not.
- The next time an event occurs which you automatically think of as bad, stop and say to yourself, " do not know what this is for." See if you can hold the idea that good can come out of it in ways you can't imagine."
- The next time you find yourself in a situation that appears to be hopeless, where there seems to be no solution, try to become aware that you are not alone.
The combination of positive philosophy and lyrical verse is soothing and uplifitng. It's just the kind of thing many people are desperate for in times where many events can appear overwhelming.
The book is available for purchase here.
For a fun, feel-good experience at the theater, see Desperate Measures at New World Stages. Desperate Measures, with music by Friedman (Listen To My Heart), book and lyrics by Kellogg (Anna Karenina), and direction by Bill Castellino, is a hilarious new musical inspired by Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Set in the 1890s Wild West, it is the tale of Johnny Blood (Conor Ryan), a handsome young man whose life is in danger over a saloon brawl. Johnny must put his fate into the hands of a colorful cast of characters including a wily sheriff (Peter Saide), an eccentric priest (Gary Marachek), a authoritarian governor (Nick Wyman ), a saloon girl gone good (Lauren Molina), and a nun out of the habit (Sarah Parnicky) as they all struggle to decide Johnny's fate. Laws are broken and hearts are won as they try to find justice in a world that often doesn' seem just. Sound familiar?
The soundtrack has just been released. You can find it here.