Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Spotlight On...Michael Gioia

Name: Michael Gioia

Hometown: Carteret, NJ

Education: Montclair State University (I actually have a degree in English!)

Select Credits: The Secret Garden at the Lucille Lortel, 5th Floor Theatre’s Debbie Does Dallas 

Why theater?: Why NOT theatre?! Honestly, tho...

Tell us about Bitching & Belting: Bitching and Belting started as a Facebook post. Aside from theatre, my favorite thing in the world to do is, well... complain! My friend and frequent B&B collaborator, Joey Nelan, and I always joked about how we would put on a concert one day where we could combine both. We’d title it something like “Bitching and Belting.” Then, one day I put a status on Facebook asking if anyone would come to such show. Cut to five sold-out shows later, we're ready to bring the sixth B&B to The Green Room 42!

What is it like being a part of Bitching & Belting?: I always tell my cast and collaborators that all I want to do every time is have a party with my friends, and that's truly what “Bitching and Belting” is! We’re not here to showcase our writing or audition for casting directors, we are just getting up on stage to live our best lives and bitch and complain about every little thing bothering us (dating, bills, auditioning, you name it). As we say, no note is too high and no complaint is too small! 

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The best kind of theatre are shows that keep you thinking and talking long after the curtain has come down. Jonathan Larson, of course, was so inspirational -- as he was/is to so many of us. Writing about his life and legacy 20 years after Rent debuted is one of the highlights of my writing career (you can find it on!). Talking to his close friends and family to get to know this man who only exists through his music inspired me even more. How he longed to create and change Broadway. That’s what we're all trying to do, right? That’s why these concerts are so important -- the people you meet, the memories you make, the art you bring to life. You never know where it will lead you, what new ideas you'll come up with or what your next big project could possibly be!

What’s your favorite showtune?: OMG, isn’t this like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid? I guess I’ll just tell you one of the most played on my iTunes... Anna Kendrick's version of “I Can Do Better Than That,” currently at 318 plays, from The Last Five Years movie, which made me CRY SO MANY TEARS OMG HERE I AM SOBBING AGAIN. I also love to sing “Giants in the Sky.” Who doesn't love Into the Woods? And then, of course, anything from Rent, Wicked, omg the list goes on... I TOLD YOU I COULDN'T PICK!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I love working with new songwriters and have been so lucky to do so. We all collaborated on The Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know: Live!, based on an article I wrote for Playbill a few years back, so I don't know how anything in the world could possibly top that. But like Sara Bareilles, girl... Call me.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Some hot mess non-eq who could barely get his life together but has a killer smile and charming personality. Obviously titled: I Woke Up Like... THIS?!?!?

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I will always be so sad I missed seeing the original bare: a pop opera live in New York City.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I mean... I think everyone should see Wicked like once every few weeks, so...

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: OMG, SPEAKING OF WICKED... Who DOESN'T like falling down a YouTube rabbit hole of "Feeling Things I Never Felt" Competition vids???? (You know you've watched them.)

What’s up next?: A little birdie told me that “54 Sings Ariana Grande” is coming back by popular demand to 54 Below! (April 13, get your tix, the first one was SO sick!) My friend and B&B cast member, Melanie Brook, is producing, and I'll be among the sure-to-be stellar cast. Also, check out 5th Floor Theatre, which I'm on the board of! We have a great season coming up, and we put on some of the best non-union shows New York City has ever seen! So proud of that company!

For more on Bitching & Belting, visit and