Michael Rader is a stage director and arts advocate based in New York City who made his mark internationally as an Artistic Director for Cirque du Soleil. He is the current Artistic Director of the historic Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA. His diverse career in the arts has afforded him positions such as Artistic Director for Cirque du Soleil, Broadway Liaison and Arts Education Consultant to the New York City Department of Education and Director of Entertainment of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.
During his first year of tenure at The Cape Playhouse, the institution dramatically improved the quality of its productions, conducted successful fundraising that erased the institution's debt and set it on strong financial footing, launched new educational and outreach programs for the community, secured the largest single donation in Cape Playhouse history and was named one of the "50 Best Small Stage Theatres in America". Additionally, The Playhouse's production of Gypsy that he directed broke box office records and was nominated for three Broadway-World awards including Best Musical and Best Direction.
Recently, Rader was granted the rights to re-conceive Colm Tóibín's controversial hit play The Testament of Mary. Rader's reimagined version features five actresses sharing the title role – each woman representing a different cultural ideal of Mary. A private workshop of this version was held in NYC featuring Lynn Cohen, Adriane Lenox, Jill Paice, Elizabeth Kemp and Thursday Farrar.
Some highlights as a director or associate include: A Christmas Story (National Tour), Stalking The Bogeyman (NYTimes Critics Pick, Outer Critics Circle Nomination), Varekai (Cirque Du Soleil), The Testament of Mary, Deep Love (NYMF 2015), A Christmas Carol (National Tour), Mandela! with Norm Lewis, You are Not Alone with Betty Buckley and Lea DeLaria, and productions with Sacramento Music Circus, The ZACH Theatre, The York Theatre Company, The Actors Studio Repertory Theatre, The Human Race Theatre, The Dramatist Guild, The Huron Playhouse, The Forestburgh Playhouse, Joe's Pub and the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway benefit production of William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle. Michael's direction of the show, benefiting marriage equality, was acclaimed as "…profound and visionary." He is a graduate of the esteemed Actors Studio MFA Directing Program, an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and a proud member of SDC.
Michael is passionate about and committed to finding ways of utilizing the arts as a tool to empower the lives of those less fortunate, especially children in need. It was during his initial time working with chronically ill children that Michael fully realized his passion for humanitarian work, especially when it involved working within the arts.
In addition to his work as an actor and director he regularly teaches acting and audition technique classes in NYC and has served on the faculty of SongFest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles and The Summit School near Washington, DC.
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