Michael Mufson (Associate Professor of Theatre) has a long history in the professional theatre, beginning at the age of sixteen, when he was an apprentice at the Provincetown Playhouse in Massachusetts. Michael, however, traces his theatrical roots back to his family’s close association with E. Y. Harburg, the lyricist of The Wizard of Oz, Finian’s Rainbow and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and who has been one of Michael’s constant role models.
Michael has worked his way through all levels of the theatre labyrinth positions at some of the Nations most acclaimed regional and summer stock theatres including Arena Stage, StageWest and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.
Michael received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California at Irvine where he was considered one of the most exciting and accomplished directors to graduate from the program. While at Irvine, he directed Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Setzuan, a cross-gender adaptation of Moliere classic “The Misanthrope” which he entitled Ms.Anthrope, Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit, The Trial adapted from Kafka’s novel, and True West by Sam Shepard. Among his other favorite productions are Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid.
Michael is most proud of his on-going affair with original, collaborative performance works that incorporate theatre, music, movement, sculpture, technology and insanity. Michael has conceived, directed and performed over twenty original performance works which have been presented across the country from the Center for Contemporary Arts in Cleveland to the Japan American Museum in Los Angeles. He is a founder of the experimental art/performance groups 2AM Productions and Fisheye Mongrel.
Michael has trained with some of the most influential acting teachers and directors of contemporary theatre. He was a participant in Jerzy Grotowski’s intensive training program where he practiced Grotowski’s adaptation of Stanislavki’s method of physical actions as well as other approaches to physical and vocal training, the creation of original performance work, and the roots of theatre in ritual. He has trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI company in Viewpoints and Composition. Michael has also trained in the Japanese approach of Tadashi Suzuki at StageWest.
Michael’s acting classes involve a rigorous and comprehensive approach to integrating the actor’s body, voice and imagination as an instrument to realize the different demands of all theatre styles.
Michael sums up his philosophy of theatre: “Theatre is a vital part of community. Nowhere else do you have a group of people coming together to share and experience a form of expression which is uniquely human, where the material is forged directly from the heart and soul of our humanity.”