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Wall of Fame Biography

Mr. Michael Ti. Clarkston

Clarkston

Michael T. Clarkston, son of Charles and Linda Clarkston, grew up in Fairview Heights, IL with his younger sister Kristina. During his four years at Belleville East HS, Michael spent every moment outside of class in the fine arts. If it wasn’t conducting the marching or pep band as drum major, he was playing first chair french horn in the wind symphony and orchestra, or singing in the show choir. Michael had successful theatre experiences as an actor in several shows, until he realized that while he loved theatre, he was not really passionate about acting. His English teacher and musical director, Kimberly Richey, convinced him to serve as a stage manager for Joseph & Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat  and the next year for The Will Rogers Follies. From this point forward, Michael fell in love with stage managing and knew it would be his future career.  From shooting confetti canons, calling light cues and scene changes, to the responsibility of being in charge of the production as a whole -- the adrenaline rush is better than any roller coaster. In addition to his involvement in the music department and theater, Michael served as President of Thespian Society, and he was a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish Honor Society.

Michael attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, earning a degree in Design Technical Theatre with a minor in music. There he achieved the distinction of being the first freshman in school history to stage manage a main stage production (A Doll’s House), and he earned many  honors and awards. Michael was selected to travel to Europe performing in cathedrals and other venues during his final semester.  Michael was also President of SIUE’s school chapter of United States Institute for Theatre Technology his junior and senior years.

After graduating SIUE in 2001, Michael continued to spend the summers working at the St. Louis Muny.  When the Muny season closed, Michael headed to Los Angeles.  Three weeks later he was hired as Production Stage Manager on the Los Angeles Premiere Xanadu Live! where he would later become co-producer.  He was excited to bring the show to his hometown at the Miner’s Theatre in Collinsville, IL before selling creative rights and reinvesting back into the Broadway production of Xanadu which premiered on Broadway in 2007, winning Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, Drama Desk Award for Best Book and being nominated for two TONY Awards for Best Musical and Best Book.

Just after Xanadu Live! Los Angeles ended, Michael was hired for his first Broadway production working as the assistant to the company managers, filling house seats for Disney’s The Lion King. Word traveled quickly and others heard of Michael’s real passion to be a stage manager.  Almost overnight, Michael was working as a substitute stage manager at night, while filling house seats during the day. After one year, Michael became a stage manager and later headed the national tour.

Michael’s hard work and determination didn't stop here. He would go on to work on over 15 Broadway shows/ tours to date, including Avenue Q; Hairspray; Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang; Million Dollar Quartet; Rent; In the Heights; The Lion King;  Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Hello, Dolly!; Hairspray; Disney’s Newsies, Anniversary Concert, The Normal Heart with Glenn Close, Jersey Boys Fans Unite w/ Frankie Valli; West Side Story 50th Anniversary Reunion Performance with Chita Rivera; and The Who’s Tommy 15th Anniversary Reunion Concert.  Michael’s company On Que Entertainment has participated in several film festivals across the country, winning numerous awards.  It has expanded into corporate events to help create and manage unique, sometimes larger than life experiences to launch or promote the latest product and brand. Clients include Google, Nickelodeon, MTV, Bravo, and VH1 among many others.

Today Michael's free time is spent volunteering and raising funds for Actors’ Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  He would later work as lead producer (2007 – 2009) earning the review  - “One of BC/EFA’s most cherished techies. Michael Clarkston has gone a long way in a short time to give words like “stability,” “reliability” and “consistency” a good name” – Jody O’Neil / Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.”

He recently started working on Wonderama, a revamp of the classic 1955 children’s television game show scheduled to air this October on Saturday nights.

Michael lives in New York but fondly celebrates his years at Belleville East while looking forward to new adventures yet to come.  His mantra is, “Live for today, love for tomorrow, and laugh at all your yesterdays. Never regret the past, always hope for the future, and cherish every moment you have.”