Mike Hathaway directs Seeing Stars in Dixie, Runway Theatre's first production of 2020, by Ron Osborne. Here's our "get to know you" interview with Mike:
Tell us about your theatre or arts background:
This is always kind of a scary question for me as I really don’t have much in the way of formal training outside of a couple of classes a million years ago in high school. In the early 90’s I moved from Arlington to Dallas to be a “real actor”, but the scene back then was so clique-ish (and in all honesty, I probably wasn't that good!) that I got discouraged very quickly. I was talked into joining the performing company of Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie where I learned a lot about improv and street theater. While I was only there for 3 seasons, I continued to perform with the Omni Madrigals (which magically became the Omni Carolers every November and December) for the next 15 years. In that time, I made a promise that I would try to return to the stage when I turned 40. A change in my life circumstances allowed me audition for MBS Productions in December of 2008, and in January, I made that return (rather triumphant, I must say) playing William Shakespeare in a world premiere translation of a classic Spanish play from 1867, Tamayo Y Baus' Un drama nuevo (A New Drama) just two days shy of that milestone birthday.
Tell us about your involvement in DFW area theatre:
I’ve worked with several theaters in the metroplex, starting with the now-defunct Main Street Theater in Mansfield and Gown-Town Theater in Arlington, but more recently MBS Productions, Rover Dramawerks, Theater Arlington, MainStage Irving-Las Colinas, Plano Children’s Theater, and ONSTAGE in Bedford. I swore I never wanted to be a director, but then I began to realize that I would quickly be entering a phase where I’d be too old for the "leading guy" and too young for "grandpa" (I'm looking at you, You Can't Take it With You), so I had to develop some other skills. Since 2008, I’ve been involved in almost 40 productions either on stage or directing. I currently serve as the president of ONSTAGE.
What is your favorite production to have directed/participated in - and why?
That's like asking me to pick a favorite child! Performing-wise, I'd have to say Samuel Byck in Sondheim's Assassins. Playing someone with some serious mental issues who's off his meds scared me to death, but the rewards from the audience comments afterward ("Man, you were scary as #$&@!" was a memorable one) will be treasured forever. Directing... I'd have to say it's a tie between The House of Blue Leaves and Shiloh Rules. Both shows have what I've come to refer to as an Ending (you have to pronounce it with the capital "E" and italicized). With Blue Leaves, the ending is built into the show, brilliantly, beautifully and tragically scripted. For Shiloh, I had a clear vision of how to end the play visually; my production team made it come to life and the audiences constantly commented on how moved they were by the experience. The play deserves to be seen by a larger audience and I'm hope to be able to remount it soon!
What first enticed you to work with Runway Theatre?
I've been looking at Runway for a couple of years now, but I never had a connection to any of the shows like I did after I read Dixie. I knew I had to be involved with this fun show!
How many Runway productions have you been part of in any way?