It was surprising, when we searched the archive, to discover that Michael Friedman published only one piece on The Paris Review Daily: a response to the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of The Death of Klinghoffer. It surprised us because over the years we’d talked about his doing so many different things, on so many different subjects, from a column on new music at Le Poisson Rouge to an online version of an informal seminar he held known as Michael Friedman’s Drunk Music Appreciation Class. As his obituaries amply demonstrate, Michael had other—and arguably more important—things to do with his time. When he died on Saturday, at the age of forty-one, the theater world lost one of its most vibrant and versatile talents.
When someone dies, we’ve been known to describe him as “a friend to the Review.” Usually what that means is a regular contributor to our pages, or perhaps a material supporter of the magazine. Michael was neither. But in every sense, he was a true friend to the Review. He certainly gave his effervescent presence and restless, quicksilver intelligence to our events; as a theater veteran—not to mention a mensch—he knew the importance of showing up. And he was a friend, period. He was the best. No one wanted to have to write any of these tributes for him. He deserves them all.