After an eight years as ‘Iolaus’ in the American television series ‘Hercules - The Legendary Journeys’, Michael returned to the stage in 2001 as ‘The Player’ in ATC’s production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Since then he has appeared as Riff Raff in ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, James Joyce in Travesties and Estragon in Waiting for Godot for Auckland Theatre Company; Widow Twankey in Aladdin for AK03 (a pantomime show which he wrote and directed) and as Hamlet for his own new company, The Large Group, co-founded with Christian Penny and Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
In a career spanning over twenty-five years Michael has played both Macbeth and Hamlet, (three times), Lear’s Fool, Touchstone in As You Like It, Mozart in Amadeus, the MC in Cabaret (twice), Koko in The Mikado, Barry in Ladies Night (twice), Macheath, Tiger Brown and the ballad singer in three different productions of The Threepenny Opera, French symbolist enfant terrible Arthur Rimbaud in Total Eclipse, King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar and the central role in the groundbreaking Inside Out Theatre production of The Holy Sinner (twice).
Directing credits include Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Tempest, Cabaret, Lysistrata, Ladies Night, the NZ feature film Jubilee and Love Mussel, a television comedy starring the late, great Kevin Smith.
In 2003, Michael became an Arts Laureate of New Zealand, an honour in recognition of his continuing contribution to New Zealand theatre.
I realised early on that I would have to look for the man in the play rather than the actual man who lived and breathed in Auckland over the turn of the nineteenth and well into the twentieth century.
The debate about creativity and self expression ultimately poses the question ‘if an artist paints what is there and it looks like a Matisse or a Gaugin, then what actually is there? The singleness of each of us is the bedrock of the human condition. It’s a bit like the tree falling over in the forest and still making a sound even if there is no one there to hear it.
Was Goldie interpretive or creative? What is the difference?
It seems to me that Goldie, lead poisoned as well as terrified of the yawning gulf he eventually sees where his muse should theoretically be, constructs a safe world for himself in which he controls reality, or probably more accurately refuses to allow other realities. When this ‘daubed’ reality is shattered and replaced with an awful self-recognition he is of course devastated – finally seeing himself as merely an everyman shaking hand with his own failure to truly spark. What else might one expect from a man who believes that ‘creation has been done. It’s not my job to add to it. My job is to paint what’s there’.
Previous acting credits include the title roles in Macbeth and Hamlet, Arnold Bechoff in Torch Song Trilogy, Mozart in Amadeus, the Emcee (twice) in Cabaret, Koko in The Mikado, Barry in Ladies’ Night (twice), Macbeth in The Threepenny Opera and Gregorus in the ground- breaking Inside Out Theatre Production of The Holy Sinner.
Michael has directed Ladies’ Night, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet and Cabaret.
Directing credits also include many episodes of both Hercules and Xena, the feature film Jubilee and the one hour television comedy drama Love Mussel, starring the late, great Kevin Smith.
The Life of Galileo. The Daylight Atheist. Amadeus. Lysistrata. Trees Beneath The Lake. The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate. Chicago. Red. Cabaret. Cabaret. She Stoops to Conquer. Blackbird. The Pillowman. Twelfth Night. The Duchess of Malfi. Goldie. The Rocky Horror Show. Waiting for Godot. Travesties. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.