Biography

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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 is the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education of Off-Broadway’s The York Theatre in New York City.  He is also the Producing Artistic Director of NewArts 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.

For NewArts, Michael has produced and directed twelve large-scale musicals involving over 550 children onstage, backstage and in the orchestra: Matilda (upcoming, Summer 2019), Newsies,   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),  Disney’s The Lion King, Jr., Liberty Smith and The 101 Dalmatians Musical (co-adapted with Dennis DeYoung – of Styx) featuring 107 Newtown kids, School of Rock, The Wizard of Oz, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and A Christmas Carol.  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.

He also directed From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland – which brought Broadway and Hollywood stars to Florida in support of the horrendous shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Performers included Rachel Bloom, Matthew Morrison, Deborah Cox, Noah Galvin, Christy Altomare, Donna Lynn Champlin, George Salazar, and many others, in addition to over 100 local shool children. He also co-directed his production of A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream with Special Tony Award recipient, Melody Herzfeld, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the spring of 2019.

He recently directed The York Theatre’s Oscar Hammerstein Award honoring Susan Stroman, hosted by Matthew Broderick, which included a cast of 60 recreating some of “Stro’s” greatest hits as well as appearances by Richard Maltby, Jr., David Shire, Lynn Ahrens, Sierra Boggess, Nick Cordero, Stephen Flaherty, John Kander, William Ivey Long, Terrence Mann, Debra Monk, Brad Oscar, Laura Osnes, Bryonha Marie Parham, Tiler Peck, David Thompson, Kaley Ann Voorhees, John Weidman, Tony Yazbeck, and Karen Ziemba.

He directed You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Off Brodway at The York Theatre Company) – the first professional production of that musical to involve all Broadway-level child performers – available on CD,  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 The York Theatre’s Mufti series.

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).

World premieres include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barrington Stage Company), Caligula, (NYMF- Winner: Best of the Fest), Retribution (Off-Broadway, Lambs Theatre), La Gioconda (Off Broadway – Clurman Theatre), Haven (University of Judiasm), Retribution (Off-Broadway, Lambs Theatre) and .

Opera directing credits include D’Albert’s Tiefland, his seventh, at Sarasota Opera (DVD coming out on Naxos Classical), 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, The Magic Flute (Nominated for Best Director and Best Musical – Theatre Tampa Bay Awards) and Floyd’s Susannah (DVD available on Naxos Classical) 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).

Other directing credits include 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.

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.

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.

Readings include the The Children’s Revolt for composer, Gershon Kingsley’s (of “Popcorn” fame) 95th birthday, 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.

Broadway assistant directing credits include: King David, A Christmas Carol (Madison Square Garden (’96, ‘97)  and, alongside Susan Stroman, the first reading of The Night They Raided Minsky’s for the late, Mike Ockrent; Buried Child for Gary Sinise (Steppenwolf Theatre/Broadway); 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.

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.

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