Michael Cotey is one of the most exciting and wildly inventive [up-and-coming directors]. Cotey’s best work...has toggled effortlessly between absurdist humor and deeper existential questions, underscoring the relation between the two.”

Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



Michael Cotey (he, him) is a Chicago-based, Milwaukee-bred theatre-maker.

He has directed at Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Next Act, First Stage, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois Wesleyan University and Youngblood Theatre. Michael has also assisted at Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, and Milwaukee Rep, for prominent directors, like Tony Award-winners Mary Zimmerman and Robert Falls. From 2009-2013 he was the Founding Artistic Director of Youngblood Theatre in Milwaukee. Regularly celebrated by the theater community and the press as one of the most exciting new Milwaukee theater ventures in decades, Youngblood provided professional opportunities to early-career emerging artists, introduced the works of provocative new playwrights, and staged theatre in raw found spaces that invoked Milwaukee’s storied industrial past. As an educator, Michael has taught at UW-Madison, Roosevelt University, Northwestern, and UW-Milwaukee. Michael graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BFA in Acting and from Northwestern University with an MFA in Directing. In 2014 he was named UWM’s “Graduate of the Last Decade.” He is also the producer of #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence (www.enoughplays.com) a campaign of theatre activism for middle and high school students to address gun violence by writing original short plays on the topic and staging readings of those plays in schools across the country.

When not working on plays Michael is spoiled rotten by living an awesome life with his talented wife Eleanor Cotey, head of wardrobe at the Joffrey Ballet, reading too many comic books, and being the proud father of a beautiful boy named Jackson and two Chihuahuas: Pepper Potts and the Hulk.