Journeying deep inside one’s heart can be exhilarating, life altering, even painful, but invariably it’s worth the trip. Emotions may be unique to every one of us, but collectively, more than anything on this earth, they remind us we’re alive. No one captures this aspect of the human spirit more brilliantly than David Friedman. And he does it with songs. Now we have the chance to experience these feelings in David’s captivating new musical revue, LISTEN TO MY HEART.
David Friedman is known for so many accomplishments in his distinguished and illustrious musical career: from the Disney Classic movies Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, to his tenure as conductor of many Broadway shows, and his years as producer of the renowned Nancy LaMott’s CD’s. But certainly his most sought after and admired achievements are his songs. Over the years, David has written songs of hope and inspiration, humor and compassion that have helped us, as individuals and as a community, to navigate the hard times, from the AIDS crisis to September 11th, and everything in between, and at the same time, to celebrate the beauty of falling in love, the awakening of connection to our inner spirit, and above all, the humor that is to be found in our darkest moments and greatest ambitions.
From Listen To My Heart, to Help Is On The Way, I’ll Be Here With You, We Live On Borrowed Time, Rich Famous & Powerful, We Can Be Kind, Trust the Wind and so many more, David’s songs have become staples throughout the world on radio, television, records and cabaret, and have been recorded and performed by artists as diverse as Diana Ross, Barry Manilow, Nancy LaMott, Petula Clark, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jason Alexander and many others. David has assembled a unique musical presentation using 27 of his timeless songs. After a successful tryout at the Lyric Stage in Dallas, it was an obvious choice to bring the revue to New York, the place that David has always called home and the center of his popularity. With David himself at the piano, along with a cast of gifted theater veterans/friends, this heartwarming Off-Broadway revue is about people’s hearts and about going inside.
It is about feeling important feelings, sometimes painful ones, sometimes joyous ones, but always those feelings that let us know that we can meet our problems by confronting them with the strength of our spirit, and that we’re all in this together. Collectively these songs tell a story. David’s story. But also the story of each and every one of us. The first act is about longing for love, searching for ourselves and eventually finding the love we are looking for. The second act is about all the problems we face afterwards: the curves life can throw us, the difficulties we encounter and ultimately the power we have, through love and acceptance, to overcome them. Using just the songs, artfully combined, David and the cast take the audience on a journey that is warm, funny and deeply emotional, in the privacy of a darkened, elegant theater. Each audience member can revel in the emotions, the joys and sorrows that make up his or her own life, and come out with a sense that as long as we can sing, feel and be together, all is well with the world. Most of all, this evening is about the songs. Barry Manilow said in a letter to David, “Of all the songs I’ve ever sung, yours continue to get the most emotional response.”
In the past decade, David Friedman has been very busy as a composer, conductor, and record producer in New York, Los Angeles and London. His work as conductor/vocal arranger for Disney’s Animated Motion Pictures “Beauty and The Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” led to his writing the music and lyrics for the two opening songs for Disney’s sequel to “Aladdin,” entitled “Aladdin & The King of Thieves.”
In addition, David wrote all the music and lyrics and did the scoring for three Animated Television Series. They are; “Happy Ness,” which had a yearlong run on ABC and and was syndicated around the world, and “Sky Dancers” and “Dragon Flyz,” based on the worldwide toy phenomenon, both of which continue to run in worldwide syndication. Two of David’s songs were also featured in the “Barney” movie.
Recently, David completed the score to the hit Fine Line film “Trick” including the music and lyrics to the end title song “Trick of Fate.” David has become well known around the country as the composer of songs of hope and inspiration, including “Listen To My Heart,” “Help Is On The Way,” “We Can Be Kind,” “I’ll Be Here With You,” “We Live On Borrowed Time,” “My Simple Christmas Wish,” “Just In Time For Christmas,” “Your Love,” “Trust The Wind,” “You’re There,” “I Can Hold You,” “What I Was Dreamin’ Of,” “Let Me Be The Music,” “You’re Already There,” “As Long As I Can Sing,” and many others.
David is particularly happy and proud that many of these songs have been used to raise millions of dollars for AIDS-related and other charities. David’s songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, (with whom he had a quadruple platinum hit on his song “Your Love,”) Barry Manilow, Laura Branigan, Nancy LaMott, Kathie Lee Gifford, Cris Williamson and Petula Clark, as well as scores of prominent recording and cabaret artists around the world. David’s song “We Live on Borrowed Time” was sung by Jason Alexander with The Boston Pops for PBS Television at Carnegie Hall. Jason’s performance led to an article in Parade Magazine about David, Nancy LaMott and “We Live On Borrowed Time” that was read by 40,000,000 people around the nation and created an avalanche of interest in both the song and in Nancy’s “What’s Good About Goodbye” album on which the song appears.
David’s commissions include “We’ve Got To Get Back To The Dream,” sung as the finale to the Pacific Symphony’s Fourth of July Concert and on Norman Lear’s ABC-TV 2001 Fourth of July Celebration, “All The World’s A Stage,” which was performed by Randy Graff at Carnegie Hall, “We Are Proud” for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus which was performed as the finale of their Carnegie Hall concert and at the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam, and “Who Will Curl My Daughter’s Hair,” which is part of a project to raise money for Singing For The Cure for the Turtle Creek Chorale, Dallas Women’s Chorus and the Dallas Symphony which debuted in Dallas in June of 2000 with Maya Angelou narrating, and was repeated this year at Carnegie Hall in New York.
For the past 6 years David has been the composer in residence and music director for the annual Duke Children’s Hospital Benefit, writing a new theme song each year and helping to raise $40,000,000 for the building of the new Children’s Hospital. David’s song “Help is on the Way” annually closes Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ Easter Bonnet Competition, where it has been sung by luminaries such as Nancy LaMott, Petula Clark, Melba Moore, Ednita Nazario, Ruben Blades, Kristen Chenoweth, Heather Headley, Carol Woods and Brian D’Arcy James. David’s music has also been featured on The Tonight Show, Touched By An Angel, Live With Regis and Kathie Lee, Good Morning America, As The World Turns, The Howie Mandel Show and The Miss America Pageant.
David’s concert appearances include “Help Is On The Way,” an evening of his songs at The Cathedral of St. John The Divine, evenings of his music at “Rainbow & Stars,” “Maxim’s,” “Steve McGraws,” “The Russian Tea Room,” “The Firebird,” “Davenports” in Chicago, The 92nd Street Y in joint concert with Alix Korey, and a London concert of his music performed by the theater stars of the West End that raised money for “West End Cares.” You can also hear bits of David’s Song “Rich, Famous & Powerful” in a New York State Lottery Commercial.
As a record producer, David, under the auspices of the Record Label he created, MIDDER Music, has produced all of Nancy LaMott’s recordings. Nancy LaMott’s recordings consistently have sold in the top 10 in most large chain record stores, and her songs are played on over 1000 radio stations around the world. David’s songs appear on four of Nancy’s six albums. Since Nancy’s untimely death in 1995, David has made it his mission to bring Nancy’s music to the world. With that in mind he produced Nancy’s first posthumous recording, “What’s Good About Goodbye.”
In December of 1995, a new collection of David’s songs called “David Friedman-I’ll Be Here With You” was released, with profits from the recording benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. David was the recipient of the 1996 MAC Award for Recording of the Year, for Nancy LaMott’s album “Listen To My Heart,” which he produced and for which he wrote three songs, including the title song. David has won two additional MAC awards as a songwriter; in 1992 his song “Help Is On The Way” won the MAC Award for Song of the Year, and in 1995, his song “My Simple Christmas Wish” won the MAC Award for Comedy Song of the Year. David has also received the 1995 Bistro Award for Composer of the Year, and the prestigious 1994 Johnny Mercer Award for Composer of the Year. David’s new Christmas Oratorio, entitled “King Island Christmas,” debuted to rave reviews at the Perseverence Theater in Juneau Alaska.
David and his collaborator, Deborah Baley Brevoort, received the Frederick Loewe Award and the Dramatist’s Guild Award for their work on this piece. The album of King island Christmas is in release everywhere, conducted by David, produced by Thomas Z. Shepard and orchestrated by Peter Matz, and plans are in the works to take live productions to cities all over the world as well as to perform “King Island Christmas” at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. and on PBS. Other recent and upcoming projects include four New Musicals: “Nicolette & Aucassin,” (which completed a sold out run at the Westport Playhouse and is headed for Broadway in the Spring) “Goodbye and Good Luck” for which David has written the music, “Goodbye My Island,” a requiem that will be the companion piece to King Island Christmas, and a new Revue of David’s songs which was produced to critical acclaim by the Lyric Stage in Dallas last spring. Two years ago, David produced Kathie Lee Gifford’s solo album, “Born For You” which was released to great critical acclaim. This was followed by an album of lullabies that he and Kathie Lee Gifford wrote together, and a follow up album of children’s songs, both of which were released last year. They’re currently at work on a new album of adult contemporary songs to be released in the fall.
David is also completing his 9th year as Music Supervisor/Vocal Arranger of Disney’s “Beauty & The Beast” on Broadway. David is about to begin work on his first solo album, tentatively titled “Trust The Wind-The Inspirational Songs of David Friedman,” as well as a Songbook of his music and a book about conducting as a metaphor for life. For more information on David Friedman’s music, visit www.middermusic.com
Mark Waldrop served as Production Supervisor and contributed special material for Bette Midler’s hugely successful Divine Miss Millennium Tour. Since then he has continued to collaborate with Ms. Midler on her live performances. Broadway: Bea Arthur on Broadway which enjoyed an extended limited run at the Booth Theater and has been nominated for a 2002 Tony Award as a “Special Theatrical Event.” Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles: Howard Crabtree’s “When Pigs Fly”, for which he also provided book and lyrics (1997 Drama Desk Award/Best Revue, 1997 Outer Critic’s Circle Award/ Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, OBIE; Best Director nominations, Drama Desk and L.A. Ovation Awards.) Last season, Off-Broadway he directed “Game Show” and “Pete ‘n Keely”. Also: “Gypsy” starring Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson at Paper Mill Playhouse; “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1936 for N.Y. City Center’s Encore Series; and “Three of Hearts, the Songs of Mary Rodgers” starring Faith Prince at Rainbow & Stars. This fall he will be directing “Condensed Classics” for TheaterWorks USA and the world premiere production of a new musical, “Romeo and Bernadette,” for Coconut Grove and Paper Mill Playhouse. A frequent collaborator on new projects for Radio City Music Hall, Mr. Waldrop is also an award winning lyricist and writer.
Victoria Lang ’s early producing career led to the production of Aaron Sorkin’s first play REMOVING ALL DOUBT with Matthew Broderick and Kevin Bacon; the creation of television’s CROSSING OVER WITH JOHN EDWARD; the hit indie feature SECRETARY starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhall; and HBO’s successful *61 (The Roger Maris Story) directed by Billy Crystal.
For her work in television, Victoria received 3 Emmy Award nominations as a Producer on the popular nationally syndicated show LIVE WITH REGIS & KATHIE LEE. She created and executive produced HAVEN, a nationally syndicated weekly sponsored program on home decorating starring Joy (Mrs. Regis) Philbin. She co-produced and wrote the successful Pledge Specials for PBS: “GUY LOMBARDO: THE SWEETEST MUSIC THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN” and “GLENN MILLER’S GREATEST HITS,” starring Kathie Lee Gifford. For A&E, she produced the star-studded, top rated network special “ROSEMARY CLOONEY’S DEMI-CENTENNIAL: A Girl Singer’s Golden Anniversary,” starring Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Joanne Woodward, Barry Manilow, Diane Sawyer, Bob Hope and George Clooney.Ms. Lang worked in publicity and sales at CBS before serving as Senior Vice President and Director of the Broadcast Department at the Rowland Company, a division of Saatchi and Saatchi, where she developed sponsored entertainment.
In 2003 Victoria Lang produced the Off-Broadway smash MATT & BEN which was called “The Hottest Play in New York” by Newsweek Magazine and “One of the Top 5 Plays of the Year” by TIME Magazine. The same year, she presented the celebrated musical LISTEN TO MY HEART: THE SONGS OF DAVID FRIEDMAN at Studio 54, which was nominated for a prestigious Drama Desk Award.2004 saw the premiere of the new musical JOHNNY GUITAR, recipient of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, followed by the Los Angeles production of MATT & BEN opening to rave reviews. Productions of MATT & BEN have since played in Chicago, Toronto, across the United States, Canada and Japan. Later that year, she was represented on London’s West End with the production of BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL.In the fall of 2004, she opened the first New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) with SHOUT! The Mod Musical. SHOUT! went on to a six month Off-Broadway run in 2006 before launching a national tour and productions in Chicago, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, London and throughout the UK, as well as an exclusive license with Norwegian Cruise Lines. SHOUT! continues to be produced in theatres throughout the U.S. and the World to this day.
Victoria presented the European premiere of SILENCE! The Musical, the unauthorized parody of the iconic film The Silence of the Lambs, in London, and subsequently opened the musical to rave reviews and sold-out houses Off-Broadway. Due to popular demand, the hit show was extended twice and moved to Times Square, where it is currently in it’s 2nd smash year. SILENCE! has won the Off Broadway Alliance Award and the Tina Award for Best Musical, and 3 LA Drama Critics Awards. The original cast album has been released on Sh-K-Boom Records.
Victoria is currently the consulting producer on DIVORCE PARTY THE MUSICAL: THE HILARIOUS JOURNEY TO HELL… AND BACK! and is developing for Broadway the new musical FOUND, based on Davy Rothbart’s popular books and magazines, in collaboration with Hunter Bell and the Story Pirates, one of New York’s most critically-acclaimed comedy troupes.
Ms. Lang began her legit career at the general management firm of Theatre Now, working under the tutelage of Norman Rothstein. There, she was a part of such Broadway productions as THE LITTLE FOXES with Elizabeth Taylor, PETER PAN with Sandy Duncan, THE FIRST, OH BROTHER, and the revivals of OKLAHOMA!, WEST SIDE STORY and BRIGADOON. She ran the New York office for Producer Zev Bufman and Elizabeth Taylor’s The Elizabeth Theatre Group. Productions included the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor production of PRIVATE LIVES, The Tony-nominated A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE starring Tony LoBianco, THE CORN IS GREEN starring Cicely Tyson, JERRY’S GIRLS starring Carol Channing, Dorothy Loudon and Leslie Uggams, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVWEIGHT starring John Lithgow and George Segal, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT starring David Cassidy and later Andy Gibb, and PEG starring Peggy Lee.Ms. Lang has also produced many independent feature films including the popular MACBETH IN MANHATTAN, a contemporary telling of the classic story, starring Gloria Reuben, Harold Perneau and John Glover, which premiered on Showtime and was honored with the Best Feature award at the South Beach Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Long Island Film Festival and was chosen for the dramatic feature competition at the prestigious 1999 South by Southwest and Florida Film Festivals. It was also selected as the Premiere Film at the 16th annual Long Island Film Festival and was one of only five U.S. films asked to screen and under special consideration for competition at the Cannes Film Festival (Critics’ Week and Director’s Fortnight).
Additional film credits include the independent features DARK TIDES, starring Christopher Kennedy Lawford and Paige Turco which premiered on Showtime; PERFECT LIES and THE FOUNTAIN OF DEATH, all of which are currently in worldwide distribution. She is also a pioneer in serialized films for the Internet. In 2000, Victoria produced the first ever, online, digital, feature film, CHAOS THEORY for Alloy.com.Ms. Lang has worked with Lorimar/Warner Brothers Television, Saban Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting, and Stephen J. Cannell Productions on program development and as Talent Coordinator for Lee Guber and Shelly Gross’ Music Fair Group, producing stage shows with the brightest names in the music and comedy arenas.For over 15 years, with partner Pier Paolo Piccoli, Victoria headed PLUS Media, Inc., which develops and produces lifestyle programming for television nationwide.
Ms. Lang is a member of The League of Off-Broadway Theaters and Producers, The Off Broadway Alliance, The NYC Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting’s “Made in NY” Panel of Experts, New York Women in Film and Television, the British Academy of Film & Television, Who’s Who in Entertainment, Who’s Who in American Professionals and Who’s Who in American Women, and has served as a judge for The Emmy Awards, The Long Island Film Festival, The FilmMakers.com screenwriting competition and the International Film and Television Festival of New York. Victoria is a member of the Board of Directors of TheaterMania.com. She attended Emerson College and is a summa cum laude graduate of Long Island University.