Professor of Theatre
Fir Acres Theater
Michael joined the Department of Theatre in the fall of 2006 after seven years as a tenured faculty member of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama.
Michael teaches Fundamentals of Design and Scenography I & II, as well as mentors design students and designs the scenery and costumes for the department’s mainstage productions. Michael also teaches Design Thinking, a entry level course for the College’s Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership.
His scenery and costume designs have filled such nationally acclaimed stages as The Guthrie and the Children’s Theatre Company (both of Minneapolis), Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, Pittsburgh’s City Theatre, the Long Wharf Theatre, the Milwaukee Rep and the Mark Taper Forum, as well as all major stages of the Northwest including Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Portland Center Stage, A Contemporary Theatre, the Empty Space Theatre and ten seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In the early 1990’s, Michael originated the scenic installation for the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Kentucky Cycle, garnering the Los Angeles Critics Circle Award at the Mark Taper Forum, and later produced at the Kennedy Center and on Broadway. Mr. Olich has also served as resident designer for the American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco and Houston’s Alley Theatre, where he eventually served as Director of Design.
While freelancing from Seattle (where he made his home for 16 years), Michael served as Executive Director of the Seattle Fringe Festival for two years. He also served on the boards of Seattle’s Chicken Soup Brigade (now part of the Lifelong AIDS Alliance) and the City Theatre of Pittsburgh. Michael lectured for three years at the University of Santa Clara, served as guest faculty for the University of California at San Diego, the University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts, and holds an MFA from Carnegie Mellon.
Recent designs include West Coast premieres at the San Jose Repertory Theatre (Lynn Redgrave’s The Mandrake Root) and A Contemporary Theatre (Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?) as well as the scenic installation for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at both Pittsburgh’s City Theatre and the Hartford Stage Company, and the scenery for South Coast Repertory’s recent production of The Importance of Being Earnest. He won Backstage’s 2006 Garland Award for his scene design of The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? at the Mark Taper Forum. Locally, Michael has created the scene designs for Artists Rep’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Portland Opera’s production of Trouble in Tahiti as well as The Chosen and Clybourne Park at Portland Center Stage. He also designed the scenery for The Tales of Hoffmann at Wolf Trap Opera in Washington DC, and the scenery and costumes for Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera and Vivaldi’s Bajazet in Portland Opera’s 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Michael’s website portfolio can be viewed here.
MFA 1975 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA , BA 1973 St. Patrick’s College, Mountain View, CA