By Ariel Backer
“My background is almost entirely as a professional actor,” Michael Hayden said.
Recently joining the faculty at the School of Theatre at Florida State to teach acting, Michael Hayden left behind a remarkable professional acting career.
Upon graduation from Julliard, Hayden immediately landed the role of Billy Bigelow in the Royal National Theatre and Lincoln Center Theatre production of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Carousel, directed by Nicholas Hytner. For that portrayal, he won the Theatre World and Drama League awards as well as nominations for Olivier (UK), Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.
“That was my great introduction to the business,” Hayden said.
Additional Broadway credits include a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of the German defense attorney Oscar Rolfe opposite Maximillian Schell in the National Actor’s Theatre production of Judgment at Nuremberg; Cliff in Cabaret directed by Sam Mendez and Robert Marshall; Anthony Wilding in Enchanted April; Christian in Festen opposite Jullianna Margulies; and Prince Hal opposite Kevin Kline as Falstaff in Lincoln Center Theatre's production of Henry IV Parts I and II, directed by Jack O'Brien.
“The excitement of working in a special piece in New York on Broadway is palpable--it doesn’t go away.” However, he continued that as one grows older, priorities change. “I’ve gotten to that point where I’ve done most of what I wanted to do.”
Making the transition from acting to teaching, he remarked, “I love acting to the bottom of my soul. I always will and I will always love to act. But, I realized that I have something to say as a teacher.”
Hayden is currently directing the School of Theatre’s production of Summer and Smoke. “It’s a daunting play for young actors because Tennessee Williams writes about longing, desire, the soul, unfulfilled passion and need… but, my cast is game, they are hungry and ready.”
While discussing his own transition from working in the industry back into education, he expressed, “It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with such young and eager minds. It reminds me of my roots, where I came from.”
Hayden discloses that he and his wife have thoroughly enjoyed settling into the Tallahassee community and at the School of Theatre.
“When we find a new community and home, we engrain ourselves slowly into the fabric of life and we love it.”
Summer and Smoke opens Friday, Nov. 2 and runs through Nov. 11 at The Lab Theatre.
Tickets are available at the Fine Arts Ticket Office, http://tickets.fsu.edu.
Specially priced performances on Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and 7 are $5 for students, faculty, staff and military with a valid school or military ID.