Theatre

Dr. Andron’s passion for theatre began as a child at Camp Tranquillity. The camp would produce a play a week in a 200-year old barn that had been converted for use as a theater. If you weren’t acting, you were sweeping the floors, or climbing rafters built with wooden pegs instead of nails and aiming floodlights inside #10 tomato paste cans down at the actors. Needless to say, Michael was hooked! By age fifteen, he directed his first show. By seventeen, he was the head theatre counselor. For twelve years – at nine shows a summer – that old barn became Michael’s home away from home.

In 1969, while visiting his brother Sandy, Michael directed a play for a local school and soon became the founding Artistic Director of the Oconee Community Theatre, which is still in operation in Seneca, South Carolina. He completed his B.A. in Speech and Drama at Yeshiva University in 1971 under the incredible mentorship of Dr. Anthony Beukas (Yale, N.Y.U.). In 1973 he completed his M.A. in Educational Theatre at N.Y.U., married his wife Lillian (a professional actress he met at an audition), then returned to Seneca for a year to run the O.C.T. full time before returning to New York and ‘retired’ from theatre to pursue advanced training in martial arts, yoga and energy healing.

When their son Ben was eleven, he found Michael’s old scrapbooks and asked if he could be in a play. Michael arranged to direct a production of Oliver! at Ben’s school. The show was a success and the school wanted more. The Hillel Community Theatre was born, which lasted 20 years, with over 50 productions, and a variety of community awards. Many alumni from that program – including their son Ben – went on to pursue careers in entertainment, including theatre, movies and television.

In 2007, Michael and Lillian – always working together as a team – moved the operation about 150 yards southwest to found J-CAT, the MAR-JCC’s Cultural Arts Theatre. J-CAT is now in it’s 6th year, with Michael serving its Artistic Director. J-CAT produces 6 shows a year (half youth productions, half ‘adult’ community theatre), has a full summer-stock camp program for 8 weeks each summer, has a traveling troupe of teens (J-Cabaret) that perform in children’s hospitals and senior citizen’s groups, and is undertaking a Jewish Theatre Fringe

Festival in 2013. In its youth productions, J-CAT draws students from over 20 schools. The JCC is currently raising funds to build a state-of-the-art 250-seat black-box theatre in a new Cultural Arts and Education center.

Ever the synthesizer, Michael has taught acting classes in “Martial Arts and Yoga as a Training Tool for the Performing Artist” at New York University, North Carolina School of the Arts, and at Miami’s New World School of the Arts. In 2000 he got to fulfill a long-missed dream… he played the role of Henry Albertson, the old actor, in the original Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks.