Michael Cerveris grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, where he experienced his first Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd, at age 18. His desire to become an actor was born during the show. He was so enamoured with the show he saw it six more times.
Michael was an undergraduate at Yale university where he majored in Theatre studies in the humanities faculty.
Growing up, Michael's father told his children that they each had to play an instrument for a minimum of one year. Michael started out on the violin, but only played it for a few months, before choosing the much "cooler" guitar.
"My father is a university professor so when the schools needed a little kid for their productions I was often the kid they used. The first time I was ever on stage was about 2nd grade. As one of the prince's little friends in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. So when you start out your theatrical career with Brecht at the age of 7 or 8 you know you are in for the long run."
"[The original cast of Tommy] had to re-audition for the Broadway company after doing the show 110 times in La Jolla. But when my turn came to audition I had to fly to NY and unfortunately, I was just getting over a cold. I was put up in a Times Square Hotel where they initially put me in a room next to one sealed off with NYPD crime scene tape. And the next morning I warmed up in an apartment full of cats (the animals, not the actors) and I'm allergic. So... by the time I got to the audition, my voice was pretty much dried up and gone. So, I plowed through a couple of songs before it disappeared altogether. The good thing is that it forced them to judge me on the basis of the work that I had done since I couldn't really have done anything better in an audition room that I hadn't done on stage. It also taught me that even your worst nightmares coming true are not always the end of the world. And most importantly, it gave me a good story to use on the Tonight Show when I met Jay Leno. I'm not sure the producers thought it was as funny a story as Jay seemed to."
"My lifecareer is more filled with left-field thrills than I could ever have hoped for."
"I've never been good at making smart career decisions or doing the right strategic thing, and yet somehow it's all led me to exactly the kind of career that I would have dreamed of having - if only I'd been smart enough to dream something like that."
In 2000, Michael played the lead role off-Broadway in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." In 1997 he was involved with the Broadway Musical "Titanic". He starred in The Who's "Tommy" in 1996. Michael starred opposite Patti LaPone in the lead role of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd on Broadway.