Michelle produced the off-Broadway megahit, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, a show Entertainment Tonight called “A phenomenon…” An adaptation of the ABC Emmy Award-winning cartoon, the musical was selected Playbill's "Outstanding Off-Broadway Production" and Time Out New York's "Pick of the Week."
Due to her youth and gender, Michelle ended up having almost as much press as her show. She was featured in a short film documentary about Generation Xers defying the stereotype of laziness and taking the world by storm. At the close of the run, Michelle negotiated the licensing rights for SRL! to Freddie Gershon’s Music Theatre International where it instantly became a top best seller.
Michelle was the original producer of Emmy Laybourne’s live comedy show, The Miss Alphabet City Beauty Pageant and Spelling Bee as well as the six short films integrated within the evening’s hilarity. The New York Post lauded the production as “…an exceptionally funny three-woman show that restores faith in our country’s comedic future.”
She was the general manager for the workshop production of the musical The End, written by Tony-winner George Furth (Stephen Sondheim’s writing partner) and Doug Katsaros.
She also produced the play/event Intersection, starring Obie-winner, Karen Kandel, and Rebecca Guy. In addition to raising awareness of important social issues, Michelle arranged to direct funds raised by the show to the Coalition for the Homeless and Women in Need. Each night audience members were shown ways that they could assist real women currently experiencing difficult situations.
Michelle was one of the producers for the short film she wrote and directed, Beyond Belief. She is currently a main producer for the feature length version of the movie.
Michelle has been sought after for years to assist, support and/or give objective critiques and consultations for numerous artists, productions, marketing plans and projects.
...for theatre and film
“I was probably born with all the skills to be a producer, but I came at it completely by accident. After graduating from college and touring as a performer for several years, I suddenly wanted more control over my life, my art and my career. I also was tired of playing ingénues and cute little girls and wanted to find more interesting characters with more interesting things to say.
SO, I started my own production company with the intention of creating new and original pieces. Which we did. And through a lot of eyelash batting (should be an Olympic sport), was able to secure the stage at Fordham at Lincoln Center for several seasons.
It was when one of my dearest friends from childhood called me in a panic that my next fateful step into producing emerged. She had staged a short run of Schoolhouse Rock Live! in the basement of a vegetarian restaurant in Chicago when Entertainment Tonight showed up. Now she was going to bring it to NY but only if I would do it with her.
Armed with two books about producing for the stage, and a great lawyer, I took on the adventure. It is where I originated my more famous quip and concretized my producing style: Whenever told “You can’t do it that way” I always respond with, “Is that because it has never been done that way before or because it is illegal?” Once I ascertain it is legal, I usually go for it.
Being a producer as well as a creative, I have the ability to balance both sides of the show and the biz and help people stay on track. I can lovingly add some reality checks but its always done with an eye of how to keep the art alive.
Giving back, helping people learn from my own experiences and mistakes so that more art can succeed is never a question. I will always take that email or phone call. So many great advisors and mentors in my life have kept me on a steady path, so if there is ever anyway I can return that kindness, I am on it.”