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Maria Friedman (born 19 March 1960) is an English actress of television and musical theatre.


Early years

Friedman was born to Leonard and Clair Friedman in the Bernese Oberlandmarker in Switzerlandmarker. Her mother is an English concert pianist, and her father, a Russian violinist for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She began her education in Germany, and by the age of five moved with her family to England after the divorce of her parents.


She first gained fame when she won an Olivier Award for her one-woman cabaret, Maria Friedman By Special Arrangement and another Olivier Award starring in Stephen Sondheim's Passion in 1996, and later became one of the main leading ladies on the London Stage. She would later star in Chicago and Ragtime, both on the West End.

Most recently, she originated the role of Marian Halcombe in Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest musical The Woman in White in the West Endmarker, and on Broadwaymarker. In the 1999 film of Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, she played the narrator.

As previews for The Woman in White started for the Broadway production, she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and left the show to have surgery to have the lump removed. Less than a week after the surgery she returned to the stage for the previews and performed on the official opening night. She said she would begin radiation treatment for the cancer in December 2005. The Broadway production closed after only 109 performances on 22 February 2006, in part due to her and co-star Michael Ball's frequent absences due to illness. (Friedman had planned a six-week absence for further treatment, with Judy Kuhn to be her replacement, but remained for the duration of the run once the closing was announced.)

As well as other musical shows, Maria participated in Hey, Mr. Producer!, the concert celebrating the works of Sir Cameron Mackintosh, in which she sang "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," "Broadway Baby," and "How Many Tears?" Similarly, she participated in Sondheim Tonight live at London's Barbican Centremarker, singing "Losing My Mind" (from Follies) and "More" (from the film Dick Tracy). She has also had several one woman shows: Maria Friedman - By Special Arrangement and Maria Friedman - By Extra Special Arrangement and has performed these in several top cabaret venues in both the UK (most recently at Trafalgar Studiosmarker) and New York City (for example, a sold out engagement at the Café Carlyle).

She can be heard on many cast recordings; and has released several solo albums including Maria Friedman, Maria Friedman Live, and Now and Then.

Maria has won three Laurence Olivier Awards and been nominated for seven.

Personal life

Friedman has two sons: Toby (b. 1994) with actor Jeremy Sams; and Alfie (b. 2002) with actor Oleg Poupko. She was married to dancer Roland Brine; her current companion is Adrian Der Gregorian.

Stage productions



External links

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