Michael Friedman Award for new composition

The Oscar Micheaux Project wins the first Michael Friedman Award for New Composition
Creative team wins $20,000 cash prize.

The Pipeline Arts Foundation is honored to present The Oscar Micheaux Project with its inaugural named award, in memory of Michael Friedman. Creative team credits: Music by Alphonso Horne; Lyrics by Jesse L. Kearney Jr. & Peter Mills; Book by Jesse L. Kearney Jr. & Cara Reichel (additional music by Peter Mills).

From silent pictures to the talkies, groundbreaking cinematic pioneer Oscar Micheaux battles the racism of Hollywood to bring Black stories to the silver screen… facing down censorship boards, financial ruin, and family betrayal. Micheaux’s legacy as America’s first major Black filmmaker comes to syncopated and soulful life in this jazz musical.


Michael’s sister Marion Friedman Young said, “I'm thrilled to partner with the Pipeline Arts Foundation on this award and grateful for their commitment to honoring Michael's legacy with the Michael Friedman Award for New Composition. Their unique support and recognition of the complex pathways in new musical development is inspiring and one Michael would have applauded. The Oscar Micheaux Project is a fitting and beautiful first awardee for this recognition, using an extraordinary score to explore our complex American history.”



In 1915, Black homesteader and novelist Oscar Micheaux is at a turning point: the emerging art form of cinema is sweeping the nation, and he must find new ways to tell his story. In response to the racism of Hollywood, Micheaux boldly dares to write, direct, and produce his own movie, with the help of his brother Swan. As a pioneer of early cinema, he discovers and is joined by legendary actress Evelyn Preer, as well as his wife -- the actor and film producer Alice B. Russell. On his journey, Micheaux overcomes censorship, bankruptcy, family betrayal… and his own hubris. He succeeds in producing over 40 films, becoming a legend of American cinema. Creative Team bios.



Michael Friedman was an Obie Award winning composer/lyricist and a founding Associate Artist of The Civilians, the acclaimed investigative theater company. Selected credits: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” (music & lyrics); “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play,” “The Fortress of Solitude,” “Unknown Soldier,” “Gone Missing,” “In the Footprint,” “The Great Immensity,” “Paris Commune,” (co-written with Steve Cosson) “(I Am) Nobody’s Lunch,” and “This Beautiful City.”

Michael received a MacDowell Fellowship, a Princeton Hodder Fellowship, a Meet The Composer Fellowship, and he was a Barron Visiting Professor at The Princeton Environmental Institute in 2009. At the time of his death, he was the Artist in Residence and Director of the Public Forum at the Public Theater, and was also the Artistic Director of City Center Encores! Off-Center. In 2018, Michael received a star on the Playwrights’ Sidewalk at the Lucille Lortel Theater.

About the PIPELINE ARTS FOUNDATION:Pipeline is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to moving musical theater forward. With dwindling options for original works to get to the stage, the Pipeline Arts Foundation provides vital support to early- and mid-career artists as they develop boundary-pushing work.