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  2. The show, which has a book by Steven Cosson, was originally created and performed by The Civilians theater company in 2003. It was built on more-or- less verbatim interviews that company members conducted with both people who have lost things and people whose job it is to find them. Mr. Cosson arranged the interviews into a series of monologues, and Peter Morris dreamed up some public radio-style segments, while Friedman composed songs that expanded, sweetly and tartly, on the themes that emerged.
  3. Review: ‘Gone Missing,’ Now a Poignant Reminder of a Life Cut Short The two-night revival of “Gone Missing” at New York City Center is both a very good show and a very bad, very cosmic joke. Because this documentary song cycle is about loss: of minds, rings, a dog, the hour badly spent. And the irretrievable loss, the one you can hear in pretty much every plink and strum from the onstage band, is the loss of the show’s composer, Michael Friedman, who died a year ago from AIDS-related complications. Which makes “Gone Missing” an accidental and indispensable elegy.
  4. Ken Rus Schmoll directs a six-person cast for this production, part of the Encores! Off-Center season: Taylor Mac, Susan Blackwell, David Ryan Smith, Deborah S. Craig and John Behlmann, alongside the longtime Civilians member Aysan Celik. The setting is minimal, the costumes pleasantly generic, Karla Puno Garcia’s choreography decidedly low profile and Mr. Schmoll’s direction affectionate and barely there. The actors still carry scripts, though that is no bar to Mr. Mac’s dangerous enthusiasm or Ms. Blackwell’s mild-mannered
  5. The songs range — any Friedman score (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Fortress of Solitude,” “Pretty Filthy”) is almost necessarily rangy — from mariachi to Burt Bacharach bossa nova. Some of the anecdotes that connect them are cute, and some are alarming. Good luck forgetting the crack about a “Colombian necktie.” Most are funny, including a prized bit about an actress who lost a shoe at P.S. 122 back when it was still called P.S. 122.
  6. I saw “Gone Missing” at the long-gone Belt Theater in 2003 and then again a few years later at the Barrow Street Theater. Listening on Wednesday night, I was thrilled to discover that I remembered every single song, though I hadn’t heard them in more than a decade. From left, Mr. Smith, Taylor Mac, Ms. Blackwell, John Behlmann, Deborah S. Craig and Aysan. The actors still carry scripts, though that is no bar to Mr. Mac’s dangerous enthusiasm or Ms. Blackwell’s mild-mannered insanity or Ms. Celik’s infectious disdain.CreditEmon Hassan for The New York Times
  7. This is a thing about Friedman’s compositions. In the moment, they can seem disposable pastiche. But their lightness is indelible. There’s surprise in the way that the recognizable signatures play against the brainy, wrong-footing rhymes.
  8. I heard something else in that song, a rhymed chorus that didn’t really rhyme: “I’m an Etch a Sketch (But now I’m all shook up)/ I’m a piece of wax (But now the imprint’s lost.”) That slant rhyme makes the song deliberately unfinished. It’s up to us listeners to make it whole.
  9. That said, the songs don’t sound the same. We’re all 15 years older (those of us who got to grow older, anyway), and the points of impact have shifted. Hearing them, I felt a happy-sad nostalgia, not only for the composer himself but also for the theater scene that birthed him — those theaters in the East Village and the Lower East Side and those post-show bars, many of them now gone.
  10. There was audible sobbing during “Etch A Sketch” and more during the final song “Stars,” which has a verse so apt it’s pretty much unbearable: “So when I leave you, you’ll know, I’m just a shadow, an echo/ You never possessed me/ Never possessed me.” That song ends in a half cadence, forever unresolved. Here’s another thing I hadn’t clocked in past performances: “Gone Missing,” though delightful, is a little thin. It seems to have been written by young people who are curious about loss rather than by older people — or different younger people — who are actually living it. So it’s Friedman’s too-short life — all the things he didn’t do and all the scores he didn’t write — that fleshes out “Gone Missing,” deepens it
  11. It matters who you know, and in 1997, the 21-year- old Jason Eagan knew almost no one in New York. But quality can indeed make up for quantity. One contact — the illustrator Ian Falconer, now of “Olivia” fame — ushered him into a glamorous downtown crowd. Another, Julie Taymor, pointed him toward a behind-the-scenes job on “The Lion King.”
  12. At the Encores performance, I caught some jokes that had whizzed past me before. From the Gershwin-ish “The Only Thing Missing”: “Think what my nephew Chris/ Just lost at his bris.” Because yes, ha ha ha, foreskin. But also, who names a Jewish kid Chris? And don’t tell me Friedman needed the name for the rhyme, because he could rhyme anything. I give you “Etch A Sketch,” a song about memory loss, which pairs “tabula rasa” and “Kinshasa.”
  13. In the half a lifetime since he arrived from his native Los Angeles with dreams of directing on Broadway, Mr. Eagan has made himself into a vital New York someone for many other artists to know. For the past 15 years, he has been the remarkably well- connected, stealthily low-profile, principal creative force shaping the innovative Off Broadway incubator Ars Nova. From its base on West 54th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, Mr. Eagan, the 43-year-old founding artistic director, has built a formidable record as a spotter and nurturer of outside-the- box talent.
  14. The group’s work has been produced at theatres all over the country: at the Public Theater and the Vineyard Theatre (New York City), at Center Theatre Group, A.R.T. (Cambridge, MA), La Jolla Playhouse (La Jolla, CA), HBO’s US Comedy Festival (Aspen, CO), Studio Theatre (Washington, DC), and the Actors Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, KY) to name a few. Since making their first show with only “six dollars and a pack of gum,” the company has expanded ambitiously. Currently, they have their hands full with a diverse range of projects varying in topics and styles. They are working on: You Better Sit Down: Tales From My Parents’ Divorce, a play made from the artists’ interviews with their divorced parents (first performed on 13 November 2009 at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, NY) that has also been made into a series of short video clips broadcast online through the WNYC website ( civilians/)
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