Program Faculty

Michael Smith

Smith came to California after 18 years in New York City where he was involved in Theater, Opera, Film and Television. He worked on dozens of off-off and off Broadway productions including Pantaloon for the Encompass Theater (for which he received an Operatic Obie award) and two seasons with City Opera as associate designer. On Broadway, he was involved in over four dozen shows from The Elephant Man to Aspects Of Love. He has been art director for numerous commercials; a series of children's educational videos; and Hocus Focus, a children's show for Warner Cable and the designer for three of the Sundance Awards Night. Smith was the production designer for the film In The Spirit for Castle Hill, and on the production teams that created Radio Days and Big.

His regional theater work includes nine seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, five seasons at New Mexico Repertory Theater and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, four seasons with Portland Center Stage and South Coast Repertory; as well as productions at Indiana Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory, Alliance Theater Co., Children's Theater of Minneapolis, Buffalo Studio Arena, Portland Stage Company, Denver Theatre Center, Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Princeton University, the Colony Theatre and the Pasadena Playhouse. He is the recipient of three Drama-logue Awards in Los Angeles for his work at South Coast Repertory and three Drammys from the Oregonian Press for his work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

He was a resident member of A Noise Within, the classical repertory theatre company in Pasadena (once Glendale) where he has designed over 38 productions since 1998.  For the past 10 years, he has also designed scenery for 12 shows at the Main Street Theatre in Rancho Cucamonga. Starting in 1978, Smith has been a resident designer for Santa Rosa Repertory Theatre, a summer semi-professional training program in Northern California, where for 25 seasons (not consecutive) he has both taught students and designed scenery for a total of 42 shows, including 18 musicals.

During the last 2 years he has worked extensively with Improv Theatre, an improvisational company that performs throughout Southern California. It has been a joy and a challenge working with this “off script” group to create total environments within which the company creates whole evenings of invented stories from audience suggestions based specifically on the work of playwrights or authors as advertised for each week of performances.