Michele Shay is an award-winning actress, director, and producer, perhaps best known for her Tony Award-nominated performance as “Louise” in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. A veteran performer, she has graced stages on and off-Broadway, television and film, and regional theatres across the country. A Carnegie Mellon University graduate, Ms. Shay has taught and directed at Cal Arts, American Conservatory Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, Denver Center, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is currently an Adjunct Professor teaching Acting in the New Studio on Broadway at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Other stage work as an actress includes on Broadway: Raisin in the Sun directed by Kenny Leon, Home by Samm-Art Williams (Negro Ensemble Company), for colored girls... by Ntozake Shange; Off- Broadway: Playboy of the West Indies (Lincoln Center), Titania opposite Willam Hurt in A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by James Lapine (Shakespeare in the Park), Coriolanus opposite Morgan Freeman (Shakespeare in the Park), Vagina Monologues, and Jean in Meetings by Mustapaha Matura (Obie). Regional credits include Blues for an Alabama Sky directed by Israel Hicks, House Arrest directed by Anna Deavere Smith, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra directed by Tina Packer (Shakespeare and Co), Hecuba, with Olympia Dukakis directed by Carey Perloff (ACT). A Fox Grant recipient researching the connection between the human energy system, healing, and performance, Ms. Shay is also a member of the Actors Center Workshop Company founded by J. Michael Miller in New York City.
Ms. Shay has directed over 15 plays including August Wilson’s Seven Guitars last season at No Rules Theater Company at the Signature Theater, Virginia, Blues for an Alabama Sky (Lorraine Hansberry Theater, San Francisco), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (California Institute of the Arts), A Wedding Band by Alice Childress (University of Michigan)and staged readings of The Piano Lesson with Tonya Pinkins, Montae Russell, and Glynn Turman (CCAP at the Broad Theatre, Los Angeles). Ms. Shay also collaborated in The Greene Space’s NY Public Radio reading and recording series of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle. She directed Two Trains Running, featuring Anthony Chisholm and Tracie Thoms and King Headley II with Russell Hornsby, Leslie Uggams, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. Most recently she directed Home with Ruben Santiago Hudson, Elain Graham, and S. Epatha Merkesen for Project Voice, New York. Other directorial work includes the musical Ian Forrest; one-woman shows Fighting for the Title by Delores Burgess and Everyday Diva by Elisa Perry and Trey Anthony’s da kink in my hair, which originated at Tisch Drama StageWorks and played in Toronto and the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C, and the NY premiere of Jessica Swale’s play Blue Stockings for Tisch Drama StageWorks.