Keith Michell’s first association with Andrew Lloyd Webber was in the early 1970’s when he sang the number “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar on his own BBC TV special, a year before the original stage production was mounted in London.
He has starred in many musicals on Broadway, in London’s West End and Australia including Irma La Douce, Robert And Elizabeth, Man of La Mancha (London Critics Award), On The Twentieth Century, and La Cage Aux Folles.
Born in Australia, Keith trained as an art teacher there and later gained admission to the famous London Old Vic Theatre School. Thus began his career as a leading actor with the renowned Stratford, Royal Court and Old Vic companies, where he played such classical roles as Orlando, Hotspur, Petruchio, Macduff (to Laurence Olivier’s Macbeth), Orsino (to Vivien Leigh’s Viola), Antony, Don Juan and Benedick, amongst others.
In 1962, Laurence Olivier invited Keith to open the first Chichester Festival Theatre season, playing the leading role of Don John in The Chance. Keith was appointed Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre in 1974, and over the years, he has become renowned for his portrayals of Oedipus, Cyrano, lago, Magnus and Becket, amongst others. In addition to his acting appearances, he has also directed and designed several works for the Festival.
In 1971, Keith appeared in Abelard & Heloise, directed by Robin Phillips, which was seen in London, Los Angeles and New York. Among his many other celebrated stage appearances are Hamlet, which launched the Bankside Globe project in 1972; Sherlock Holmes in the West End production of The Crucifier Of Blood; Pete McCynty in his own Australian adaptation of Peer Gynt; a one-man show to open the Keith Michell Theatre in Australia in 1982; and Amadeus for the 1983 United Kingdom tour.
Keith is well known to television audiences for his starring role in the BBC Masterpiece Theatre production of The Six Wives Of Henry VIII which earned him an Emmy Award and many other accolades. He has been seen extensively on American, British and Australian television, most recently guest starring for three consecutive seasons on the popular CBS TV series, Murder She Wrote.
Keith has made many show records and LPs and has also illustrated and recorded a children’s book of poems called Captain Beaky. His paintings have been exhibited in London, New York and Australia and he recently illustrated his own cookbook, Practically Macrobiotic.
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