BORDWELL bodes-well at the ATA

The wit of playwright Shirley Beth Newbery coupled with the steady hand of director Laurie Rae Waugh will make even the saddest occasion a joy in AFTER THE WAKE, running Wednesday – Sundays, August 7 – 18 at the Serene Sargent Theatre – part of the American Theatre of Actors complex of arthouses. Wednesday – Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and matinees on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets $20 at the door. 

American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 W. 54th Street
New York City, 212.581.3044

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MICHAEL BORDWELL is a decade-long veteran of the American Theatre of Actors, turning in a virtuoso performance in Lynn Navarra’s SANDMAN, two years ago. now he’s back – as one of Laurie Rae Waugh’s repertory in AFTER THE WAKE at [wait for it] the American Theatre of Actors.

Like his director, Michael LOVED it then and LOVES it now.

“As an artist, I love to create. Ever since I graduated college, I’ve had the amazing opportunities to work with various theater companies throughout New York City as well as with different festivals and in different venues that I’ve lost count of. I’ve worked as an actor, a director, producer, a stage manager,  a designer and each and every time I am fortunate enough to do one of them gives me an incredible sense of fulfillment because to me, there is nothing better than creating. As an artist I love to be collaborative and work with all of the individuals that are involved with the production whether they be on stage or off.” 

Interesting subject matter. Where do you find the humor?
Honestly, humor is in the eye of the beholder. What one person finds funny, another person may not, and vice versa. The interesting thing to keep in mind is that in a piece like this, the humor comes from the situations that the characters are in whether or not the characters themselves find them humorous. That’s one of the great things that make some of the greatest dramadies work is that we are able to laugh with the discomfort that we are seeing. Each and every one of us, whether willing to admit it or not,  has those one or two members of the family that drive them absolutely crazy, or that neighbor that just doesn’t know when to stop, or the friend who you just hope may eventually get it.  That’s some of what I locked into as I’ve been working on this piece.
What’s your creative process? Does it change from show to show or do you have “a plan.”

Honestly, it changes from show to show. What I do for one show may be very different from what I do for another. Sometimes I like to memorize the lines 1st and then build the character around them, sometimes I will do it in reverse.   It all depends on what the spirit of the project is. Also, once we get into performances, the process I may have in getting ready to perform will change from show to show. The last show I did I had to go to some very Dark Places, places I hadn’t really gone before as a performer, and I remember I created the most depressing musical playlist that I just had to listen to in isolation for 30 minutes before curtain with the exact same song that played right before I went on stage.

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Bordwell – with beard – far right

The ATA has been opening the door to plays for over 40 years. How do you feel working [again] there?


I love working at ATA. I’ve been working here for over 10 years. I’ve worked on probably close to 25 productions in that tenure.  What I’ve always found amazing about ATA is that it’s willing to produce so many new works and allow so many artists of varied ages and types to be able to have an opportunity to explore their craft and create amazing characters be they in an original work or a classical work. It’s rare that I’ve turned down an opportunity to be involved in a production at ATA. The friendships that I’ve made over the years have been more lasting than those I’ve made in my professional life and even in my college years. Whenever I do a show at ATA, in a strange way, I feel like I’m coming home.

What’s next for you?


For me, I get to stay here in my “home” until early 2020. Later this fall I will be performing in a one act play directed by Jessica Jennings entitled “Natural Rarities Up for Bid,” and then in early 2020 I will be directing two one act plays entitled “After the Hanging” and “The Game is Not Over,” one of which will be starring my wonderful director, Laurie Rae Waugh.

You walk into a rehearsal with Laurie Rae Waugh … what do you expect?


A trusting and supportive environment.  This is the second time that I’ve had the opportunity to work with Laurie after performing in 2017’s P.O.W. Laurie is a wonderfully collaborative  individual who gives for performers the space to play and create strong characters. Prior to working with her, I had admired her work for years because I had seen almost every piece she had directed at ATA.  Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn’t reference that I would expect to walk into a very professional environment. Laurie is always prepared for the work and expects the actors to be the same. I greatly respect her for that and hope I have delivered on my end.  

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