“I sculpt, create, and deliver signature character pieces for the stage that are entertaining, bold and believable!”

Michael Wayne Rice

The Bio


Michael is an award winning, professional actor with an M.F.A. from the prestigious University of Missouri @ Kansas City aka UMKC (training under Dale AJ Rose, Louis Colianni, Ted Swetz, David Gaines and faculty from Dell Arte International School of Physical Theatre). Michael received his B.A. in acting/directing from the California State University Northridge (training under Peter Grego and Linda DeVries). While there, he lived with Deaf people in an effort to become fluent in American Sign Language. Serendipitously, this played favorably in helping Michael to gain a deeper understanding of non-verbal communication and understanding subtle ways the body communicates meaning.


When US News & World Report published their last ever rankings for M.F.A. acting programs (circa 1997), UMKC ranked #21. A few years prior to that, UMKC was not on the list making them one of the fastest rising institution, EVER!

Professional Actor

He has worked at professional companies around the nation including Off-off Broadway at the Riant Theatre, The Missouri Rep, Cal Shakes, SF Playhouse, The Coterie Theatre, TheatreworksUSA, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, The Livermore Shakespeare Festival. He is an Associate artist at 2 professional theatre companies in the San Francisco Bay Area (Livermore Shakespeare and Renegade Theatre Experiment). His favorite roles include Trigorin (Checkhov’s The Seagull), Boesman (Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena), Tom (Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie), Simon (Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man), Killer Joe (Tracy Lett’s Killer Joe), Belize (Tony Kushner’s Angels in America) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop).

**Professional Actor**

“I first met Michael when I had the good fortune to cast him as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet at the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, an AEA company located in Livermore, CA. I found him to be a brilliant actor, one who never stops working and who truly believes that the process is what matters.”
~ Gary Armagnac (Prof actor/director, Head of Actor Training at the University of the Pacific and former actor on the TV series STAR TREK.)

The Professor

Michael is an educator who loves working the classroom. He has taught at the University of Missouri @ Kansas City, the University of the Pacific, and the University of San Francisco. He has taught Intermediate acting, Beginning acting (majors), Beginning Acting (non-majors), Intro to Theatre, and Careers Workshop. He has also directed at the University level. He has inspired students from all walks of life, helping them to see and realize their dreams. He has also inspired them and coached them into graduate school programs

**The Professor**

“The greatest gift a teacher can impart is the desire, and the capacity, in the student to invent what the teacher has not yet seen. Mr. Rice embodies a spirit capable of just that. I have seen him do it, so my comments are far from theoretical. He’s relentless and brings the full power of his intellect and intuition to bear on anything he takes on, which explains why his performances and his work as a teacher came in with stellar results.”
~Tahiya Marome (Instructional Designer and Artist)

The Director

Michael is a director who specializes in small cast plays where the focus is on character development. He has a keen eye and ear for the intricacies that make up nuanced character interactions and can skillfully help actors magnify those nuances so that they read truthfully on the stage. As an actor he has been described as “natural, authentic, and very believable”. He strives to bring these qualities out with the professionals he directs. He has this ability by virtue of discovering, at a very young age, that he had a gift for listening (aurally, visually and kinesthetically).

**The Director**

“It is my pleasure to recommend Michael Wayne Rice as a professional actor and teacher of acting, and budding director. I’ve particularly appreciated that as a teacher, he is demanding while being encouraging, and the results of his work are very strong.Our new Dean was particularly thrilled with his student production and I’ve heard appreciative comments from our senior majors about their experience.”
~Lisa Tromovitch (Chair of Theatre Dept at UOP and Producing Artistic Director at Livermore Shakespeare)

The Innovator

He was the creator of the now defunct “Cool As Hell” Theatre Podcast, which was a “devilishly provocative podcast featuring established greats and emerging artists from the world of the performing arts”. He conducted over 180 interviews including Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Genius awardees, and Tony winners. His podcast was nominated for the Top Podcast in The Cultural and Arts section of PodcastAwards.com. This is the number one awards program for podcasts on the Internet. An additional nomination was for a PUBBY award from the San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club, where they celebrate the best in Bay Area media. Most significantly The “Cool As Hell” Theatre Podcast was the first independently produced podcast to be picked up and distributed for KQED interactive online (Sister station to NPR).

**The Innovator**

“Rice is a completely original voice, and his conversations with theatre people often take surprising turns and result in refreshingly candid interviews and abundant humor.”
~Chad Jones, Inside Bay Area

A Quadruple Threat


Michael believes that the actor should be able to consistently produce a valuable product for the institution he works for and their constituency. He best serves in contemporary, new work and classical plays that lend themselves to naturalism / realism.


While his directing resume is not as extensive, Michael, with certainty, understands relationship building, character development, spatial relationships, dynamic tension, the interpretive process for actors and physical expression.


Teaching is a social service worthy of the highest praise and recognition. The world advances, retreats, progresses, creates and moves toward enlightenment, first and foremost because all individuals have been taught (whether formally or informally).


Okay, well maybe innovator is a bit strong of a word. After all, he is not Steve Jobs. But he is fond of creative marketing techniques or trying to create platforms that can help the theatre community, like a successful podcast or guerrilla marketing fun.

Fun Stats

Data can be fun and interesting to look at. Here are a few highlights covering part of Michael’s career. Just think of it as a little game of peek-a-boo 🙂
Plays Performed In
Directors Worked With
Theatres Performed In
Shakespeare Plays Acted In
“I take pride in my craft and treat it with the utmost respect!” ~ Michael Wayne Rice
Total Years Actor Training
Hours of Dedicated Training
Hours of Rehearsal / Performance
Hours Committed Toward Development

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

— Bruce Lee —

Value Contributions

A value adding contributor

Shows Michael Has Been In

Special Draw

Celebrity Attendance on multiple different shows.

Butts in Seats

Highest grossing opening weekend box office record set.


Invited to speak at various community professional organizations, thereby increasing company visibility and respectability within the local community.

Word of Mouth

Complete sellout of the entire run of the show (before the closing of the first week of performances).

Audience Builder

First time company tried selling Season Subscriptions to audience members. Total sold: 23.


Annual fundraiser that grossed 3 times the yearly average of the 5 previous fundraisers.

High Ratings

The number 1 and number 2 highest rated shows for a single company in back to back shows.

Donor Visibility

Rare appearances by $1,000,000+ donors for 2 separate shows.


Michael doesn’t claim sole proprietorship over the successes of a show, but rather recognizes he was a contributing member of the team that created the production.

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.

— Albert Einstein —

His 3 Promises to You

These 3 promises are also known as his 3 USV’s.

A USV is a Unique Service Value.

Number 1

“I promise to create characters that are entertaining, bold and most importantly, BELIEVABLE.”

Number 2:

“I promise to create characters as good as or better than what you may see on T.V. or film.”

Number 3:

I do my work on “THE STAGE”, as a Professional. I promise, no corniness.”

What Reviewers Say

  • #1. The production is beautifully directed , and played by a cast of STUNNINGLY TALENTED ACTORS, particularly Rice, who makes the best of the slow scenes and soars during most of the show. (Show ~ Waiting To End Hell)

    — Pat Craig (Contra Costa Times Critic) —
  • #2. Michael Wayne Rice gives what Keith called the SINGLE BEST ACTING PERFORMANCE he’s ever seen in any production in the Bay Area. (Show ~ The Whipping Man)

    — Vera Sloan (Former A.D. of Shady Shakespeare / Actress —
  • #3. My sister in law who has been going to WORLD CLASS THEATRE for years and years saw the show last night. She said: “I loved the sets, costumes and lighting. The actor who played Simon [Michael Wayne Rice] is brilliant.” (Show ~ The Whipping Man)

    — Rita Foster (Costume Designer) —
  • #4. Michael Wayne Rice must walk a fine line between being an earnest suitor for Esther, then a rotter of a husband. THAT HE SUCCEEDS AT BOTH is to his credit…Rice manages to convey all of George’s charm and imperfections without faltering. (Show ~ Intimate Apparel)

    — Joanne Engelhardt (Contra Costa News Critic) —
  • #5. Perennial Livermore favorite Michael Wayne Rice brought his lively personal touch to Mercutio, creating a good-hearted, lusty glib-tongued pal to his younger friends. Rendering every salacious innuendo with insinuating voice and unmistakably suggestive physical moves, he HAD THE AUDIENCE ROARING WITH LAUGHTER as he mocked Romeo’s lovelorn misery, and played the prankster even in his death scene. (Show ~ Romeo and Juliet)

    — Sue Steinberg (The Indepedent) —
  • #6. This is the BEST ACTED AND BEST DIRECTED show I’ve seen there. Each performance is strong – in challenging roles – and the company works beautifully as a whole. Well worth seeing (Show ~ Killer Joe)

    — Hudi from Palo Alto (Audience Member) —

Training / Resume

Training Curriculum Overview

The UMKC M.F.A. is a three-year, 60 unit-hour minimum actor-training program with the Missouri Repertory Theatre, a professional Equity LORT B company.

The first year of training is a highly disciplined, process-oriented period of study: intensive in Linklater voice production; speech and basic dialect work; text analysis; reading aloud; improvisation; character; extreme and neutral mask; ballroom dance; ballet or jazz dance; effort-shape movement; Alexander technique; and actor’s process based on Stanislavskian principles and Meisner repetition exercises. Performance work includes the First Year Cabaret and a Shakespeare play, a social issues creative project and a contemporary one act play. Formal evaluation will occur at mid-semester, the end of the first semester and again at the end of the first year with the recommendation of the performance faculty to continue, discontinue, or to place on probation.

In the second year of training, the student actor continues daily voice and speech work; advanced dialect work including learning dialects from primary sources; singing; commedia mask work; red nose and personal clown; ballet or jazz dance; stage violence (hand-to-hand and weapon); period style movement, mannerisms and dance; subtle energy work; acting process on Shakespeare and other heightened language text (Molière, Shaw, etc.); basic acting techniques are revisited with contemporary text (Shepard, Mamet, etc.); and audition techniques. In addition to creating a performance piece in the ‘style’ of Molière, second year actors begin public performance work with a guest and faculty directors on contemporary and period pieces chosen specifically for the training needs of the second year class. Occasionally roles at The Rep are available for second year actors.

The third year is a performance year beginning with a two-play repertory showcasing the class in contrasting pieces of dramatic literature. The two-play repertory is produced in association with The Rep and allows the actors to put to use their intensive process and production work in a professional context. The repertory plays are directed by guest and faculty directors. Next the class participates in The Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol. Process and practical work continues throughout the year on voice-over, radio drama, and a minimum of 14 weeks of acting for the camera. In the second semester the actors work at The Rep in understudy assignments, or roles when appropriate. Actors are cast in a production at one of the other professional Equity theatres in town. The performance year ends with a production chosen for the class with a guest director of national prominence. In May, the third year class is showcased in New York as part of the ‘New League’ Showcase sponsored by the Alliance for the Development of Theatre Artists, Inc.

(Rt) Click to Download Resume / Headshot

Michael Wayne Rice, actor
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