At Home With Actress Maria Friedman

The award-winning musical theater star tells us a bit about her beautiful home in East London.

Born in Switzerland, Maria Friedman is best known as a three-time Olivier Award-winning star of the musical stage for her performances in Maria Friedman By Special Arrangement, Passion at the Queen's Theatre and Ragtime at the Piccadilly Theatre. Most recently, Maria made her directorial debut with a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. We caught up with Maria to chat about her latest projects and how she likes to relax at her long-time home in London.

What are you working on now? 

I have spent the last year directing a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. After a successful sell-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, it transferred into London’s West End. It is now being shown in cinemas worldwide through the Digital Theatre network. It was a particularly exciting time for me to be able to work on such a fantastic piece for my directorial debut. I played Mary in the show in the early stages of my career and have always loved the piece! 

It was thrilling to receive both the Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards 2013 following the most 5-star reviews in West End history! And, we have been nominated for two What’s on Stage Awards to be announced in February – Best Director and Best Musical Revival.

Your home is beautiful. What drew you to it?

Home is very precious to me. I have lived in the same house for a long time and seen many changes in the community. I love the bustle of East London.  

What's your favorite room in the house?

We have a large kitchen/diner/snug area which is a great family space. It’s the hub of the house. Family and friends are the most precious aspects of my life.

What are some of your favorite features in the room?

It opens straight out into the garden through big double doors into our very own little piece of London countryside. It is a great place to spend time with my family, socialize with my friends or just relax and think. It really is our very own little safe haven.

How does this room make you feel at home?

I feel safe and happy there.

What are some of your must-have essentials at your home?

I couldn’t be less materialistic, so being surrounded by people I love and who love me.  We always make time as a family to catch up on each others’ news at both ends of the day.

What are your favorite colors, fabrics, shapes?

I like soft surroundings – so warm colors, sheer fabrics and rounded edges.

Where do you like to shop for home products?

Where I can, I like to support the local community.  We are so lucky to be amongst wonderful street markets and local businesses. I am a big believer in getting out of your surroundings what you put in.

What's next for you?

I have just finished a two week “sell out" residency at The Pheasantry in London for my own award-winning show Lenny and Steve, which is based on the music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. I am excited to have been asked back in October of this year with a completely new show.

And there are several exciting things ahead – some I can tell you about and some I can’t! In the immediate future, I am directing a tour for Don Black, showcasing his life and music from “Hackney to Hollywood.” We have 10 dates during March and April around the country.

In the Summer I travel back to America to work alongside a symphony orchestra and the wonderful scores of my dear friend Marvin Hamlisch. Later in the year, I hope to be working alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber on a new project.

Maria Friedman's directorial debut Merrily We Roll Along is out now in selected cinemas and available to rent or buy from DigitalTheatre.com.

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