"WHO Am I, ANYWAY...?"
"TIME TO MAKE THE DONUTS"
That's what the Dunkin' Donuts guy used to say. I wanted nothing more than to be the Dunkin' Donuts guy! Because in my three-year-old mind, you're the Dunkin' Donuts guy, you get to eat the donuts! My mom explained that Michael Vale (the Dunkin' Donuts guy) didn't actually work at Dunkin' Donuts; he was an actor. "Do actors get to eat donuts?" I asked.
'Yes, actors get to eat donuts," my mother smiled.
And with a determined nod, it was decided. "Then I wanna be an actor."
Before moving to New York City in 2012, I spent most of my life in Florida. (Like, the hip, metro areas of Florida, not the like, "Welp, Florida's in the news again" areas of Florida.) I had the privilege of attending top-rated performing arts schools including the Pinellas County Center for the Arts with a focus in musical theatre and writing for the stage. When I wasn't in school, I was rehearsing for school productions. When I wasn't in school productions, I was in local and professional theatre productions. When I wasn't in those, I was probably neglecting my homework to eat donuts and day dream about being on Broadway.
Shortly after finishing school, I found myself in this weird "'tween space". That's that space 'tween looking young enough and looking old enough, 'tween being too fat or too thin; that space 'tween being too short and too tall (I'm rarely ever "too tall", but you get the point). I wasn't willing to give up performing just because I wasn't getting cast, so I did what my friends called "pulling a Tootsie".
I developed a character and began performing - and even auditioning - as Ivana Dü, who quickly became known for her spot-on impersonations of various celebrities and pop icons; most notably Karen Walker (Will & Grace), Miss Swan (MadTV), and Ursula The Sea Witch (The Little Mermaid) all for which I provided live vocals. As Ivana, I earned attention from promoters, producers, and directors, landing a job as spokesperson for OUTinFla.com, performing in solo cabarets, headlining Vegas-style productions, working alongside celebrities including Alec Mapa, Lady Gaga, Lady Bunny, RuPaul, and Jimmy James, and serving at the world-famous Lips Restaurant & Cabaret.
But after eight years in Ivana's heels (and incredible muscle definition in my calves), I longed to be back in shoes - and roles - that were made for men. I hung up the wig, put on my big boy britches, and equipped with a reputation for being "one hell of a character," I was finally getting offers for roles in which Christopher - not Ivana - could finally shine.
Favorite stage credits include Sweet Charity (choreographed by Ronnie De Marco); No Exit (Garcin); Sganarelle, or The Imaginary Cuckold (Sganarelle); Damn Yankees (Rocky); Closer Than Ever and Songs for a New World (Man 2); The Christians (Ensemble Choir; Playwrights Horizons); Bare: A Pop Opera (Alan; Broward Performing Arts Center); Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story (Nathan Leopold), How To Succeed... (Mr. Gatch/Bud Frump Understudy; directed by KD Smith); Michael Leeds-helmed productions of The Boys in the Band (Emory) and My Fair Lady (Zoltan Karpathy/Quartet); Arizona Broadway Theatre's productions of Junie B. Jones (Daddy/Mr. Scary/Gladys) and Disney's Beauty and the Beast (LeFou; directed by Clayton Phillips); the world premieres of The Wrong Box and The Nose (both directed by Michael Chase Gosselin) and - surprisingly - I've even played Curly in Oklahoma! and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. (Stop laughing... it's true!)
I've been cast in films and webseries including Death of an Underling and Neverland and have been featured in national commercials for MyHeritage.com, IFC, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Greenpeace. I've originated roles in productions that started as readings and continued in those roles
I've been a lot of things in my off-stage life: a Sears catalogue model, a choir member, a 'church-boy", a playwright, a composer/lyricist, a waiter, a photographer, a talent agent, a set designer, a director, a stage manager, a lighting/set/graphic/web designer, a makeup artist, and a doggy-daddy. But my favorite roles have always been onstage as the bumbling sidekicks, hilarious henchmen, lovable losers, dangerous psychopaths, beautiful women, even the leading man. And even though I've never played the Dunkin' Donuts guy, I've learned to make my own way, make my own roles, and even make my own donuts!
"Am i my Resumé...?"
Notes on Vocal Range:
Low C2; Belt to A4; Strong Falsetto to F5
EDUCATION & TRAINING
SPECIAL SKILLS & TALENTS
"THAT IS a picture of a person i don't know."
"SO mANY FACes all around and here we go..."
"WHAT'S THE BUZZ...?"
THE BOYS IN THE BAND
"Michaels' effeminate Emory is the gay-man-as-fireball, a screaming comet of wicked glee. I would be perfectly pleased to never hear another gay man call his fellows 'Mary so long as I live, but the way Michaels does it makes me want to join a sorority."
"Each actor gets a moment, or many, to shine... For example, Emory (the very funny Christopher Michaels) is flamboyantly campy as he refers to the other guests as 'she' or 'Mary'."
"Michaels admirably goes back and forth from the lower-voiced, mature man of 53 at the 1958 parole hearing to the youthful 19-year-old Leopold of 1924. Michaels gives a wonderful performance riding Leopold's emotional roller coaster throughout the show. His need for Loeb is raw, his romantic fervor for him made palpable by the longing and injured looks cast at Bryan C. Ortega's Loeb."
"Michaels' Leopold is flat-out addicted to Loeb. Nothing else, not even murder, matters to him... And there is a twist just after the two 'superior' killers are caught, one that Michaels handles with just the right amount of relish."
TOP GUN: THE MUSICAL
"Christopher Michaels is a Mario Cantone clone who steals the show!"
"Michaels is a pleasure to watch. His performance injects his character with some personality and back-story, transcending the Iceman role to show the actor playing the character as a world-weary theatre gypsy who’s seen many big breaks fall through. He’s especially funny when he’s trying to introduce a little homoerotic bromance into the storyline. Ironically, Michaels stepped in for an ailing actor, and only had six hours of rehearsal before opening night. He’s going to be replaced after opening weekend by another actor, who has a pretty big flight suit to fill."
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
"...there’s great support from Christopher Michaels as LeFou who, in both sight and sound, is a dead-ringer for his animated counterpart!"
"Christopher Michaels is equally as hilarious as Gaston's comical sidekick LeFou... Michaels doesn't overplay LeFou broadly, which is a huge plus."
"Michaels as Leopold inhabits his character, giving a strong performance, both dramatically and vocally. This is the more demanding role of the two as the script calls for his character to frequently change moods ― from young, lovestruck college boy to a 53-year old prisoner facing a parole board 34 years later. Michaels handles the task with skill and the transition is never choppy. His Leopold is immature, nervous and nerdy, but also likable."
"But what truly makes this production enjoyable, more than anything else, is its cast of characters, brought to life by an ensemble of five compelling actors. Christopher Michaels delivers a highly delightful performance in the role of the comically blustering Police Chief!"