Thursday, August 13, 2015

Spotlight On...Mike Amato

Name: Mike Amato

Hometown: Fredon, NJ

Education: BA Theater, Marywood University

Favorite Credits: I was Pluto in the first Debbie Downer sketch on "Saturday Night Live" with Lindsay Lohan. Some might say we both peaked at the same time.

Why theater?: My mother. She was an actress and so I grew up around theater people. We acted in several community plays together and it was through her that I discovered my love for theater.

Tell us about The Egg Progect: It's about a young man who returns home after being estranged from his family for several years only to find out that his microbiologist father has made him a horrifying "gift" with his DNA.

What inspired you to write The Egg Progect: A nightmare. I had a dream that my father did this very thing to me. So I did what everyone does when they have a nightmare--I wrote a play about it. I thought the premise spoke to a fear that lots of us have about how our lives, our circumstances, are shaped by our relationship to our parents and the baggage we carry.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: My favorite kind of theater has the heart of playwrights like Tennessee Williams and the cerebral torment of writers like Edward Albee. In fact, it was Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? that inspired the personality of my play--the absurd plot played real. I suppose in writing I'm inspired by contradictions, especially those within ourselves--the masks we wear, what we say vs. what we want to say.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: Film director Mike Leigh. I've never seen a Mike Leigh joint in the theater that I haven't gone back to see a second time. But I've yet to see an American in one of his films, dammit.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Egg Progect. It's hard to recommend other shows when you're spending all your time on your own.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Tracy Morgan, "The Notebook II"

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I'd see Harvey Fierstein in his Torch Song Trilogy when it was Off-Off-Broadway. I've always loved him and I feel like I'm him now, i.e., a comedic actor starring in his own comedy play.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: It's hard because I don't feel guilty about any of my pleasures, though I probably should. Theater-wise, "Joseph's Coat" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was literally written for kids.

If you weren't working in theater, you would be _____?: A celebrity chef. I love to cook. I make my own mayonnaise and pickle my own onions. I'm incredible.

What's up next?: Already working on my next play. A very very different play. And I'll be performing stand-up and storytelling. Look out.

For more on Mike and The Egg Project, visit