Jay Michaels is a producer/director promotional entrepreneur & educator. He has been part of the independent theater and film movement since 1977. He was part of Lincoln Center’s tribute to Caffe Cino and the original off-off Broadway movement in 1985.
He began his career as an actor, portraying Rosencrantz in Raymond Gasper’s landmark production of Hamlet at the original Lion Theater on Theatre Row. From there he created the role of “Dad” in Lynn O’Connell’s abstract anti-establishment drama, Dinner for a Scorched Hero. A familiar face at the New York International Fringe Festival, he created the role of Michael in The Wisdom that Men Seek, Barney Cutler in Coulda Woulda Shoulda, and the executive in The Check Is In the Mail. He also played the old actor in the Fantasticks. He joined the production team of the first American Theatre Exchange at the Joyce Theater (the event won a 1986 drama desk award winner). He went on to direct the controversial dramas, Loyalties, at the original Perry Street Theatre as part of Adrienne Shelly’s Missing Children Theatre Company and Mitchell Ganem’s apocalyptic play, Under Darkness at the NoHo Playhouse. He also wrote, directed, and produced one of first musicals extolling off-off Broadway, Critic. He went on to produce Dark of the Moon at the original Pearl Theatre a production mentioned in the 1990 edition of Theatreworld, Ionesco’S Macbett at Theatre 22 and the premieres of one of us at under st marks and only human at the American theatre of actors. He also presented A Yorkshire Tragedy , a play attributed to William Shakespeare at LaMama. He directed the final company of Israel Horovitz’ LINE at the 13th Street playhouse.
In indie film, he played the young assistant District Attorney (featured) in the indie drama about child abuse, Taking the Stand and Norman in Norman the modern metamorphosis, a sci-fi fantasy cautionary tale about corporate America.
Commercially he portrayed were the title roles in Doctor Faustus and Julius Caesar; the major general in The Pirates of Penzance; and multiple outings as Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls. He also appeared as Nachum the beggar in Lincoln center out-of-doors production of Fiddler on the Roof. He served as a national tour manager for Cats, Edwin Drood, and Oliver and on the Daily News promotional team for Broadway productions of Guys & Dolls 1992; and Damn Yankees 1994. He was also project manger for Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues at Town Hall on Broadway.
In 1997, he opened two arts organizations :
Genesis Repertory, Founded with partner Mary Elizabeth Micari, this non-profit arts organization is dedicated to creating opportunities for young and emerging artists. Genesis produced a series of Shakespeare plays and one film focusing on topical themes. The series was lauded by councilman Gifford Miller and the ny times. Productions included the Kennedy Hamlet; The merchant of Venice in Nazi Germany; Macbeth in Peronista Argentina; the Orson Welles doctor Faustus; and Romeo and Juliet in Israel.
Jay Michaels is also a popular voice over artist, creating the character of Shadrack in the Video Game, Kings Quest: Silver Lining
Finally, he also took the knowledge he acquired as a tour manager and Broadway and non profit marketing and promotional executive as well as a casting director for New York Daily News commercials and production associate for KSL Media and PBS and founded the boutique PR firm that now bears his name. Jay Michaels Arts & Entertainment creates visibility for indie artists and production companies on the East & West coasts and in multiple film arenas.
JMA&E in association with Genesis Repertory produces live promotional events. Michaels presented live promo events for the HBO Summer Stage, Spotlight-On Film Festival, and the promo showings of “UVX,” a live theater and film hybrid, which was a sponsor of the 2017 New York ComicCon. Genesis now runs an acting school called m center for the performing arts and those events are promoted through jmae as well.
A noted horror film and television authority, Michaels is host of Terror Talk a panel program on Terror TV interviewing notable members of the community. He is also host of In The Passionpit . A podcast dedicated to spotlighting indie stage and film professionals.
A professor of communications at several universities, Michaels continues to appear as a guest speaker and artist throughout the tri-state area at universities and arts organizations. He is also a published writer and reviewer.