Faculty Focus: Michael Kary
College of Fine Arts and Production
Years at GCU: 10
Academic degrees: MFA in Acting from the University of San Diego Old Globe Professional Actor Training Program; B.A. in Theatre and Drama from Grand Canyon University
Faculty scholarship (publications, scholarly presentations, fellowships, etc.): “Acting in Faith: A Christian’s Guide to the Acting World” (Kendall Hunt Publishing); Performances: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” (Actor, The Phoenix Theatre Company), “Airness” (Eddy, The Phoenix Theatre Company), “One Man Two Guvnors” (Actor, The Phoenix Theatre Company), “Two Pianos Four Hands” (Actor, The Phoenix Theatre Company), “The 39 Steps” (Actor, The Phoenix Theatre Company), “The Wallace and Ladmo Show” (Actor, Actor’s Theatre of Phoenix), “My Name is Asher Lev” (Actor, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company), “Educational Host” (The Phoenix Symphony Educational Concerts), “The Composer is Dead” (Narrator, The Phoenix Theatre Company); Producer/Writer: “The Servant and the Fool” (Benefit Performance, Samaritan Theatre); Writer: “The Bible in 40 Minutes” (Tour, GCU’s Parables), “God with Us” (Tour, GCU’s Parables); Directing: “Anything Goes” (Musical, Theatreworks)
Notable employment in your field: See above. All of the performances listed there plus the original New York cast of “Fame” on 42nd Street” and Regional theatres in New Jersey, Connecticut, San Diego and Los Angeles.
What are you most passionate about in your field? There are so many things that give me the drive to perform. Acting is a collaborative art form, the purposes of which are to tell stories and evoke change. This means that I get to, on a regular basis, work with teams of passionate, talented people whose common goal is to cause our audiences to think, to feel and to dream about what it is to be human. It also means that the people who do this kind of work are brought in from incredibly varied backgrounds and worldviews. I am constantly challenged to live out my life as a representative of Jesus in an environment that is largely ignorant of who He really is. Nothing is so rewarding as coming to a point late in a production when the cast and crew are comfortable enough to ask about the Gospel or if I can pray with/for them.
What aspect of your teaching style is the most distinctive and/or memorable? I like to keep my students off balance for a good portion of the semester. I do this through a very hands-on, game-based approach to teaching. Most of the time, the students are the ones telling me what they are learning instead of me telling them what they are supposed to take away. Often, they will come away with far more practical and nuanced lessons when I step back and let them discover on their own in an environment I’ve created for them.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time? I’m a performer, a teacher, a writer, a husband and a dad, so when I’m not doing one of the above, I’m doing another. Having such a full schedule, I enjoy bopping around from wearing one hat to wearing another.
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know? I think it comes as a surprise to most people that I was adopted. I was placed in a super-loving house and grew up as normal as a theatre kid could. That said, being adopted also has given me an interesting perspective on God’s sovereign hand throughout my life. I can see how he has placed me in all of my circumstances and can trace it back to being put in a house where a personal relationship with the God of the Bible was a priority.