Michael Manuel - Company Member of Parson's Nose Theater
Michael has been a member of Parson’s Nose since its inception. In addition to being a regular on the PNT stage, Michael has also worked at other popular LA theaters such as A Noise Within, The Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, The Geffen, and many more. Michael is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. Check out Michael's full bio! Q: When did you begin acting and how did you get into it? What was your first role? A: I played sports all of my life and I didn't really start acting until I was about 18. Actually, I didn't see my first play until I was 17 - Deathtrap at the Tacoma Little Theatre. My first role was Captain Brackett in an ill-fated production of South Pacific. Rumor has it that many in the audience that night were so shocked and nauseated by the over-acting and heavy make-up that they vowed never to return to the theater.
Q: What are your favorite roles you've had a pleasure of playing and why? A: Too many to name and for so many different reasons - sometimes the part is really great, and sometimes the production and the people involved make a small part unforgettable. I love parts that allow for improvisation or direct contact with the audience. I have a special place in my heart for Midsummer Night's Dream. I've played Bottom a few times with Parson's Nose and I have such fond feelings for those productions; in fact I'm in rehearsal for a production of it with LA Shakespeare Festival right now. I did a production at South Coast Rep last year where I played Flute/Thisby and it gave me a whole new perspective on the play. What a testament it is to the genius of Shakespeare that you can do one play over and over and constantly discover new things.
Q: When you're not performing, how do you like to spend your time? If you weren't an actor, what other profession would you have liked to explore? A: I love playing golf, watching game shows with my daughter and playing with my dogs. I think if I weren't an actor I'd have been a chef. I started working for the Frugal Gourmet when I was 15 - cooking at his restaurants, selling cooking gear and specialty foods in his store and assisting in cooking classes that he taught. I like the creativity and imagination involved in cooking. I also like making people happy - and food makes people happy.
Q: Share a story about something you experienced on stage or saw in another production that could only happen in live theater. A: I have horrible eyesight and without my glasses or contacts I am virtually blind. On more than one occasion I've been in the middle of a long speech on stage and one of my contacts has popped out onto either my clothing or into my hands - at which point I've been simultaneously speaking my lines and formulating a plan of 1. how I can keep the contact moist until I can get off stage, 2. turning upstage and whispering to someone to get me some water or contact solution or 3. figuring out how I'm going to drive home with one eye.
Q: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you personally during a performance? A: When I was 19, I was in a production of Little Mary Sunshine. I was playing Chief Brown Bear. That in and of itself could qualify as the most embarrassing thing, but alas it was only the beginning. During intermission I was fooling around in the green room and split my pants. Being resourceful, I fixed the problem with a few safety pins. The second act started with a little number called "Me Heap Big Injun" during which I was required to jump, prance and gambol about the stage. About ten seconds into my "dance" one of the safety pins popped and...well, you can imagine...