Michael made his professional debut as an actor in his native Dublin, working with the late Tomás macAnna of the Abbey Theatre. In 1989, he emigrated to the United States and began his career there, appearing off-Broadway in Grandchild of Kings written and directed by the multi-Tony Award winning producer and director Harold Prince. Michael went on to become a member of the acclaimed Irish Repertory Theatre Company in New York City appearing in many productions, including Juno & the Paycock, Shadow of a Gunman and Madame Macadam’s Travelling Theatre. He also appeared off-Broadway, in Sharon directed by the veteran stage and screen actress Geraldine Fitzgerald. A personal highlight of his theatre appearances in New York City include the title role in Hugh Leonard’s Da directed by the late Chris O’Neill for the Irish Bronx Theatre Company, for whom Michael also played Eddie in The Country Boy and Mr. Emmanuellli in Once a Catholic, directed by Jimmy Smallhorne. Michael also appeared in A Couple of Blaguards written by Frank & Malachy McCourt, at the Triad Theatre in New York City and in various regional theatres throughout the US. Other regional American theatre appearances include The Playboy of the Western World with America’s premier theatre company, the Chicago based Steppenwolf, at the Long Wharf Theatre, Connecticut and The Seafarer at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York.
In 1997, Michael founded the theatre company Banba’s Crown with his wife Sinéad and four other New York based Irish actors. The company presented alternative adaptations of John Synge’s Riders to the Sea and The Tinker’s Wedding, at the First New York International Fringe Festival. Michael later directed Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls and Seán O’Casey’s Within the Gates for Banba’s Crown.
Since returning to Ireland in 2002, Michael has appeared in Brian Friel’s The Home Place, with Tom Courtenay at the Gate Theatre, Dublin and on London’s West End. He also appeared in Dermot Bolger’s, The Consequences of Lightning and The Townlands of Brazil, as part of the acclaimed Ballymun Trilogy, at Axis Arts Centre and on tour to The National Theatre Poland. Other appearances in Ireland include Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, at Bewley’s Café Theatre, The Green Fool, based on the life of Patrick Kavanagh with Upstate Theatre Company, The Little Dance Girl with Livin Dred and a staged reading of Seán O’Casey’s Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy at the Abbey Theatre. Michael’s TV appearances include One Life to Live, a daytime drama for ABC, in New York City, The Flight of the Earls, and Frongoch for TG4 and ITV Wales; Northanger Abbey for ITV; The Clinic and Killinaskully, for RTE. His work on Radio includes Ulysses, for WBAI Public Radio NYC, and Cobwebs and Chandeliers for RTE Radio 1.