Tyler Michaels readies for Guthrie debut in My Fair Lady

The company of <i>My Fair Lady</i>.

The company of My Fair Lady.

It's been a busy 2014 for Tyler Michaels. The young actor has gone from starring as the Emcee in Theatre Latte Da's Cabaret, to the handsome prince in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' Little Mermaid, to the lovestruck Freddie in the Guthrie Theater's My Fair Lady.

And the work isn't going to stop soon. "I have my next year already booked," he says.

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This is Michaels's first turn at the Guthrie, in a production directed by longtime artistic director Joe Dowling. 

"It's the Guthrie. There is so much behind the name. It's one of the largest regional theaters in the nation. It's cool to perform on the thrust stage at the Guthrie, and to work with the artistic director is awesome," Michaels says.

He actually had to leave the run at Chanhassen early, which he describes as a "bittersweet" experience. Moving over to the Guthrie offered some new challenges.

"Not many of my generation of actors have worked there yet, so I was a bit nervous at first. I found out quickly that [Dowling] is collaborative. He knew what he wanted from the first day he stepped into the room," Michaels says.

Freddie is the young love interest for Eliza in My Fair Lady. It's a role that has famous names behind it (including Jeremy Brett) and a popular tune, "On the Street Where You Live."

As far as Freddie goes, "we're playing him as a goofball. He doesn't have all his marbles in a row," Michaels says. "We've made him very physical. He is swept up by the feelings of love he has. We've made him oblivious to the the world around him. He stumbles into people. We hope it's an interpretation people have not seen before, and then ask why it hasn't been done before."

As the actor has learned more about the show and the characters, he has also enjoyed interacting with a cast that features a mix of local talent, national, and international performers.

"I worked with Jeff McCarthy [Prof. Higgins] for a couple of days before I realized he was in Urinetown. He was Officer Lockstop. I used to listen to that all the time in middle school," Michaels says.

The essential part of the show? "Here's a classical piece of classical musical theater. We have a lot of fun and make people laugh," Michaels says.

My Fair Lady
In previews through Thursday, opens Friday, July 4 through August 31
Guthrie Theater
818 S. Second St., Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.377.2224 or visit online.

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