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Time Out's editors reveal their picks of the most influential people of 2011

Monday, 3 January 2011

Without her, audiences in London and New York might not have been moved and entertained by Mark Rylance’s era-defining turn in ‘Jerusalem’. In fact, Rylance wouldn’t have made his Tony-winning Broadway debut at all (in ‘Boeing Boeing’) had Friedman not insisted that he remain on board for the US transfer. She takes a risk on great drama even when it isn’t a safe bet at the box office, bringing Out of Joint’s 5* revival of Caryl Churchill’s 'Top Girls' into the West End this summer. In 2011 Friedman also took Katori Hall’s play about Martin Luther King, ‘The Mountaintop’ (which started life at Theatre 503, above a pub in Battersea) to Broadway, where Samuel L Jackson took the lead. Her fingerprints were all over quality big-name drama on the West End this year: Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss in ‘The Children’s Hour’ and Catherine Tate and David Tennant in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ - directed by rising star Josie Rourke. From ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ to Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’, Friedman combines shrewd popular instincts with a dedication to championing good work. She brings the best of New York to London (watch this space for ‘The Book of Mormon’) and the best of the West End to Broadway. Producers determine the kind of theatre popular audiences get to see, and commercial producers are rarely celebrated, especially by Time Out – they can be conservative and out-of-touch with the cutting edge compared to our classy and powerful subsidised theatres. But when they get it right artistically as well as commercially – as Friedman so consistently does – then we should shout about it.'

Read full article here.

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