Biography

(Click on links to see Photos and Reviews)

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Michael is a theatre and opera director whose work has been seen on stages from Los Angeles, to Chicago, to New York, to Yekaterinburg, Russia – and many places in between.  He has recently been named as the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education of Off Broadway’s York Theatre in New York City.  He is also the Producing Artistic Director of NewArts: Newtown Musicals which brings high-level performing arts education and programming to the resilient community of Newtown, CT.  NewArts uses the performing arts as a vehicle for healing and promoting creativity, collaboration and community – to give children tools for their future.  The long-term goal of the foundation is to build a multi-disciplinary education and arts center in Newtown as a living remembrance of those who were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

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For NewArts, Michael has produced and directed Seussical: The Musical starring John Tartaglia and 84 Newtown children, the world premiere of A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream (co-adapted with composer, Eric Svejcar – CD available on Broadway Records) with 54 Newtown kids, Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. with 120 Newtown kids, Liberty Smith and The 101 Dalmatians Musical (co-adapted with Dennis DeYoung – of Styx) with 107 Newtown kids.  Michael also directed From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook (CD and DVD available) to raise support, awareness and funds for Newtown, CT.  This concert, which was televised on PBS, amassed a corps of 700 volunteers, including Stephen Schwartz, Marc Shaiman, Frank Wildhorn, Linda Eder, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michael Cerveris, Mary Testa, Nikki Blonsky, Richard Kind, Janet Metz, Christine Ebersole, Capathia Jenkins, Micky Dolenz and the casts of “Sister Act,” “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Sesame Street” and, most important, 100 Newtown and Sandy Hook kids on stage performing with their Broadway heroes – and 350 Sandy Hook Elementary School students on video.  It was a remarkable evening of healing in action. Upcoming shows for NewArts include The Wizard of Oz and one of the first non-professional productions of School of Rock.

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He recently directed Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (Cape Cod Chronicle best of 2015) and Tennessee Williams’ Period of Adjustment at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre and The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, the new play, Two Point Oh at 59E59 Theaters (New York Times Critics’ Pick) and the musical Big (starring John Tartaglia, Kerry Butler and lyricist, Richard Maltby, Jr.) for the York Theatre’s Mufti series.

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Other directing credits include: A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre – from 1998 – 2015 – designed by Ming Cho Lee with choreography by Rob Ashford), My Sister in this House (Deaf West – new version – Ovation Recommended), Grease (Paramount Theatre), Crimes of the Heart (Theatre Aspen), The Mikado, Kiss Me Kate and Pippin (Depot Theatre), Knickerbocker Holiday (York Theatre – Mufti Series), Paul Scott Goodman’s Tiny Dancer (Prince Music Theatre) and, upon the request of composer, John Kander, new versions of The Happy Time (Signature Theatre, DC) and The Rink starring Leslie Uggams and Janet Metz (Cape Playhouse); and the world premieres of Caligula, (NYMF- Winner: Best of the Fest), Retribution (Off-Broadway, Lambs Theatre) I Forgive You, Ronald Reagan (Beckett Theatre), La Gioconda (Off Broadway - Clurman Theatre), Haven (University of Judiasm), Loaded on Theatre Row, Retribution (Off-Broadway, Lambs Theatre) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barrington Stage).

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Opera directing credits include Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, Ward’s The Crucible, Puccini’s La rondine, Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Barber’s Vanessa, and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the Sarasota Opera Company; Floyd’s Susannah (DVD available soon) at St. Petersburg Opera, Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and Menotti’s The Consul at Opera NJ, William Bolcom’s opera of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge for Vertical Player Repertory and Kalman’s The Duchess of Chicago at the Sverdlovsk Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy in Yekaterinburg, Russia (still running).

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He has also directed Noises Off (New Harmony), Meet Me In St. Louis (The MUNY), Triumph of Love and School For Wives (The Weston Playhouse), Changes of Heart (Barrington Stage – BRAVO Award), On The Razzle (Babcock Theatre, Salt Lake Cuty), In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe (Juilliard), Still (World Premiere), Les fiances de Loche, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and The Game of Love and Chance (French language productions), Cries From the Mammal House (American Premiere), Cleavage and Smokes (Mark Taper Forum – NWF) and Taming of the Shrew (Complex Theatre, LA).  He also produced the Richard Rodgers Award winning, Whatnot, at Musical Theatre Works.

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Michael teaches acting classes in New York City and has directed Love’s Fire at the Asolo Conservatory as well as Love’s Labour’s Lost, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Three Sisters, Joking Apart, Buried Child and Boy Gets Girl at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  He has also directed three musical showcases at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

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Michael has also directed several evenings at the Cooper Union to celebrate the sesquicentennial of The Great Hall. Performers included Tony Kushner, Mario Cuomo, Salman Rushdie, Olympia Dukakis, David Strathairn, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Lang, Kathleen Chalfant, Amy Goodman, Adam Gopnik, Harold Varmus and Harold Holzer.

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Readings include Liberty Smith, Mystery of the Dancing Princesses (National Alliance of Musical Theatre), Christina Alberta’s Father (National Music Theatre Network), Water From The Moon (Education Alliance Center) and at the York Theatre: Misia, Dance On The Rooftops, Summer of ’42 and Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus.

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Broadway assistant directing credits include: King David, A Christmas Carol (Madison Square Garden (’96, ‘97)  and the first reading of The Night They Raided Minsky’s for the late, Mike Ockrent, Buried Child for Gary Sinise and Steel Pier for Scott Ellis. Off-Broadway assistant directing credits include Sam Shepard’s Eyes For Consuela (Manhattan Theatre Club) for Terry Kinney and Closer Than Ever (The Cherry Lane) for Richard Maltby, Jr.

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At Steppenwolf Theatre in his hometown of Chicago, Michael assistant directed A Clockwork Orange for Terry Kinney and Buried Child for Gary Sinise. Film and television assisting credits include Picket Fences, HBO’s Truman, Albino Alligator, and Ransom.

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He is married to actress Janet Metz and his favorite productions are their twins, Phoebe and Nathaniel.