PP: Your portrayal of Norman Thayer has been drawing praise from critics, colleagues, and audiences alike. The Mountain Xpress called your performance “exceptional work.” Do you agree this is some of your finer work?
Michael: I do believe this is the best acting I have done. I have been working primarily as a director but every now and then a role comes along that you just sense might be really right for you. Parkway has given me the chance to get back on stage and Jeff Messer instilled in me a confidence that I never thought I could have again.
After my heart surgery I threw myself into getting into shape physically. I lost nearly seventy pounds and have tried to eat healthier. I didn’t want to do anything stressful so I basically stopped doing theatre for about a year. But not doing theatre is impossible for me. Even in Los Angeles I worked very stressful TV and film jobs to make enough money to do theatre. I just wish that I could make more money (who doesn’t) at it.
Norman is a huge role. He is on nearly sixty eight pages of a seventy five page play. But I can honestly say that I have never had more fun acting. A great amount of that comes from who I am working with. Alesa is a rock out there. We have each other’s back.
I have had the very good fortune to work with some exceptional actors as a director and dialogue coach: Frank Langella, Roy Scheider, Ben Vereen and James Marsden to name just a few. On a film called The Men’s Club, Langella said, “you just say the lines and move through the space”, and that stuck with me.