THEATRE AND OTHER WORK


THEATRE

 

1990 - The Heidi Chronicles (Royal Alex)

Drama in 2 acts by Wendy Wasserstein

The play traces the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. Gradually becoming distanced from her friends, Heidi's path to maturity involves an affair with the glib, arrogant Scoop Rosenbaum (Michael Riley), a womanizing lawyer who eventually marries for money and position.

 

1989 - Fire (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Musical drama in 2 acts by Paul Ledoux and David Young.

Cale forsakes his father's church to become a musician. As he becomes a star he loses everything, including his child-bride Molly. His brother, Herchel (Michael Riley), becomes a minister and marries Molly but his envy for the attention Cale gets drives him into television evangelism.  This frantic, thrilling work is loosely based on the odd relationship between rocker Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin evangelist Jimmy Swaggart (both of whom use music...in very different ways).  The play won the Chalmers Award and was nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award.

 

1989 - The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage)

Play by Shakespeare.

The city of Ephesus, a cult centre of the goddess Diana, with a bad reputation for pagan magic, has inflexible laws about immigrants.  When a stranger searching for his lost family and servants is sentenced to death, the goddess fortune plays her part, reuniting the scattered family and restoring the battered self.  Michael played Dromio of Syracuse.

 

1988 - The Last Bus (Tarragon Theatre)

Michael played Robert, a closeted high school music teacher who goes back to visit his small Canuck home town, where his brother and mom and old girl friend still live, to confront the true nature of his sexuality.

 

1988 - Blood Brothers (Canadian Stage)

Rock musical in 2 acts by Willy Russell

The tragic story of twin boys separated at birth -- Mickey (Michael Riley), raised by the natural mother in poverty, and Eddie raised by a wealthy couple.  As children, the brothers meet and become best friends -- "blood brothers" (though remaining ignorant of their true relationsip). As they grow, they stay close, but each is envious of the other and ultimately fall in love with the same woman.

 

1987 - Nothing Sacred (Centre Stage)

Comedy in 2 acts by George F. Walker, adapted from Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.  Bazarov, a haughty nihilist, intends to wreak havoc on all established order.  It featured Eric Peterson and Sonja Smits.  Michael played Arkady.  The play won the Chalmers Award and the Governor General's Award as well as several Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

 

1985 - Thunder, Perfect Mind (Toronto Free Theatre)

Rock musical in 2 acts by Paul Gross.

The story begins as the world ends. Sorting out what to do with all the souls becomes too much for the angels, who go into retreat to consider the problem. Without their divine presence, a struggle to dominate the universe breaks out between two groups of souls, one group representing Thought, the other Action. The challenge for both of them is to find an innocent soul to gain their ends. Jojo Rideout and Lake Dennison qualify.  In the disorder, these two are swept into the outer void and during the course of their search for the way back, they fall in love.  Jojo and Lake, played by Aggie Cekuta Elliot and Michael Riley, were the only flesh and blood actors.

 

1984 - You Can't Take It With You (Grand Theatre)

Comedy in 3 acts by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

The eccentric family of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof is put to the test when youngest granddaughter Alice asks them to behave more conventionally during the visit of her fiancé Tony (Michael Riley) and his staid parents. Tony intentionally brings his parents over on the wrong night whereupon they get the 'full family treatment', leaving shocked and disgusted.

 

1984 - Midsummer Night's Dream (Dream In Park)

Play by Shakespeare.

Michael Riley played Lysander.

 

1984 - Separate Doors (Young People's Theatre)

Michael Riley played a 12 year old boy whose parents are going through a bitter divorce. Susan Hogan played his mother.

 


OTHER WORK

 

May 27 to June 1st, 2003 - SIFT : "Acting for the Camera"

Located in Ottawa, the Summer Institute of Film and Television holds week-long workshops.  Michael was an acting instructor.

 

September 17, 2000 - Sunday Showcase : "Memoirs of Montparnasse," part 2

Michael played the part of John Glassco in the reading of this story by John Glassco on CBC radio One.

 

April 25-26, 2000 - Stratford Reading Series : "Writing With Our Feet"

Michael played the lead role of Jean-François in the live recording of the stage play by Dave Carley  for the CBC.

 

March 3, 2000 - Between the Covers : "Park Bench"

Michael read this short story by Judy Budnitz on CBC radio.

 

1995 - The Edible Woman

Michael played the male lead, Peter Wollander, in Dave Carley's radio adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel.

 

1987 - The Bass Saxophone

Michael was the narrator of this BBC documentary.