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Michael Cerveris (1960)

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Michael Cerveris is an American singer, guitarist and actor. He has performed in many stage musicals and plays, including in several Stephen Sondheim musicals: Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Road Show, and Passion. He won the Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Assassins.

He was called, by Playbill.com, "arguably the most versatile leading man on Broadway", playing roles from "Shakespeare's Romeo to The Who's Tommy, from the German transsexual rock diva Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch to the homicidal title character of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd."


 early life
Cerveris was born in Bethesda, Maryland and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. His mother, Marsha (née Laycock), was a dancer, and his father, Michael Cerveris, was a professor of music; the two met while students at the Juilliard School. He is a 1979 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and a 1983 cum laude graduate of Yale University, where he studied voice, German lieder and Italian songs.

Broadway and Off-Broadway

Cerveris had roles in several Off-Broadway productions, starting with Macbeth in 1983 as Malcolm and including Total Eclipse in 1985 as Rimbaud at the Westside Theatre, Abingdon Square in 1987 as Frank at the Women's Project, and Blood Sports in 1987 as Nick at the New York Theatre Workshop.

He made his Broadway debut in The Who's Tommy in 1993 as "18-20 year old Tommy/Narrator", receiving a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Drama League nomination, Theater World Award winner, and Original Cast Grammy winner. He had appeared in Tommy in the La Jolla Playhouse prior to Broadway. He next appeared in the Broadway musical Titanic in 1997 as Thomas Andrews. He played the role of John Wilkes Booth in the Broadway musical Assassins in 2004, and won the Tony Award, Best Featured Actor in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award.

In the 2005 Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd Ceveris played the title role, and was nominated for the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League award, and received the Drama Critics Circle citation. In this John Doyle production, the actors also played instruments, with Cerveris playing lyric guitar. In the Broadway musical LoveMusik he appeared as Kurt Weill, and received Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Drama League award nominations. In 2007 he played "Kent" in King Lear at the Off-Broadway Public Theater, receiving a Drama League Award nomination. He appeared Off-Broadway in the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical Road Show at the Public Theater in 2008 as Wilson Mizner. Ceveris appeared opposite Mary-Louise Parker in the limited Roundabout Theatre Company production of Hedda Gabler from January 2009 to March 2009. He next played Dr. Givings in the Broadway comedy by Sarah Ruhl, In The Next Room or the vibrator play, starting in October 2009.

Other venues

In 2000 Cerveris played the lead role of "Hedwig" in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in the West End. He had previously played the role Off-Broadway from July 8, 1998 to August 4, 1998 and again from February 1999 He was a Garland Award winner, and Ovation Award nominee. During 2002, the Kennedy Center presented a "Sondheim Celebration"; Cerveris appeared in Passion as Giorgio. Ceveris has appeared several times at the Ravinia Festival Concerts , including: Passion Sunday In The Park With George , and Anyone Can Whistle in 2005. He performed in the New York City Center Encores! staged concert of The Apple Tree in 2005, with Kristin Chenoweth.


  • Crow in The Tooth of Crime, Hartford Stage (1985–86)
  • Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, opposite Phoebe Cates at the Goodman Theatre
  • Bazarov in Nothing Sacred, Northlight Theatre, Illinois
  • Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dallas Theater Center
  • Eastern Standard with Tom Hulce, Seattle Repertory Theatre
  • Richard II, Mark Taper Forum (1991–1992)
  • Measure for Measure, Old Globe Theatre
  • El Dorado, South Coast Repertory
  • A Little Night Music, as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (December 23, 2003 - January 21, 2004) Jefferson award nomination

A partial list of films
  • Stake Land
  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
  • Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
  • The Mexican
  • Lulu on the Bridge

  • The Observer on Fringe
  • Ian Ware on Fame

Cerveris' most visible role to date has been as The Observer in the FOX science fiction television series Fringe. His character, a mysterious man seen attending many unusual events, has appeared in every episode of the series, often in subtle cameo appearances. Cerveris also appeared as The Observer at several real-life events covered by FOX as part of a viral marketing campaign for the series. These include appearing in the audience at a taping of American Idol, and being shown in the stands at various football and NASCAR events. He also made a cameo in a commercial for Glee.

 Music career
Cerveris played guitar as a member of Bob Mould's touring band supporting the album The Last Dog And Pony Show. A performance at The Forum in London was recorded and released as BobMouldBand: LiveDog98 . His debut solo album, Dog Eared , was co-produced with Adam Lasus and includes guest appearances from Norman Blake , Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney), Ken Stringfellow , Steve Shelley , Kevin March , Anders Parker , and Laura Cantrell.

He has also contributed vocals to "My Other Phone Is a Boom Car" as part of a ringtone project by They Might Be Giants for Wired Magazine in March 2007. In They Might Be Giants' 2011 release, Join Us, Cerveris also provided vocals for the track, "Three Might Be Duende."

 Other activities
Cerveris has performed at many events, to honor or celebrate notable performers and creatives. He performed at The Drama League gala, A Musical Celebration of Broadway on February 7, 2011, which also honored Patti LuPone. In November 2010 he appeared at the Sonnet Repertory Theatre benefit, which honored director Jack O'Brien. On April 27, 2009, he performed at the Signature Theatre gala, a benefit and to celebrate the first annual Sondheim Award.

On December 8, 2010, he took part in the Symphony Space "Selected Shorts and Thalia Book Club" series of readings.

His concert appearances include the Broadway Cabaret Festival, held in October 2010 at The Town Hall .

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Michael Cerveris", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.