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!
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).
~ Gary Armagnac
“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.”
(Prof actor/director, Head of Actor Training at the University of the Pacific and former actor on the TV series STAR TREK.)
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 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.”
(Instructional Designer and Artist)
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).
“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.”
(Chair of Theatre Dept at UOP and Producing Artistic Director at Livermore Shakespeare)
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).
“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.”
, Inside Bay Area