By Mike Fischer
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
November 17, 2013
...An infusion of young blood
Like Johnson and Fete, Michael Cotey, 27, found most of his early experience and exposure as a director through a company he helped start: Youngblood Theatre, for which Cotey served as artistic director from its 2009 inception through this past spring. This Friday marks the opening of Cotey's first directorial assignment for Milwaukee Chamber's mainstage season: a production of Wendy MacLeod's "Things Being What They Are."
Cotey, too, started as an actor; unlike Johnson and Fete, he also continues to act regularly. But it was directing that revived his flagging passion for theater. By the time he started directing during his senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cotey was no longer having fun on stage.
"When I was in a show as an actor," Cotey recalled during a pre-rehearsal interview at Milwaukee Chamber, "I would always beat myself up about not being where I should be — not being at performance level. It haunted me, to the point where theater was no longer interesting to me because it had become so heavy."
Having tried his hand at directing with one show at UWM and a one-act play with Pink Banana Theatre Company, what turned Cotey around for good was his direction of Youngblood's lights-out production of Mickle Maher's "Spirits to Enforce" (2010), an imaginative rethinking of Shakespeare's "The Tempest."
Cotey fell in love with directing; he is now applying to graduate school so that he can continue the rapid development that has made his name, in just three short years, among those mentioned in every discussion of young Milwaukee directors to watch...
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