Cool as Hell Theatre

If you’re not listening to Michael Rice’s Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast, you’re missing out.

Rice interviews all kinds of Bay Area theater folks about their lives and work, but what’s really cool as hell (sorry, Michael) is the way he manages to steer the conversation in such interesting, unexpected places. Just listen to his recent interview with Erin Blackwell about a show she directed in the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Really good stuff. Hilarious, in fact.

I was curious about Rice and the reason he decided to pioneer the art of Bay Area theater podcasts, so he kindly agreed to be Theatre Dogs’ first blog interview.

So, Michael, why did you start the Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast?

I started the Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast out of frustration. I had been
putting together my brilliant one man show (yes I have an ego when it comes
to acting), but I knew that I did not want to do the traditional and
antiquated postcard marketing thing. So as I was putting together my one-man
show, I thought long and hard about marketing ideas. At the time, I loved
this program called FLASH, which was used to design interactive websites. I
had a designer create an interactive design that I put onto CD. I then
distributed this CD to different arts venues and such. I handed them out to
people coming out of shows. I thought it was a brilliant idea, until the day
of my opening and 2 people showed up. You can see what was on the CD by going to Click enter, and after the brief intro, hover over the panels and click to see the picture and hear the vocal. It may need some time to load.

So how did that lead to the podcast?

After that failure, I was still convinced that there was a better way to
market theatre. So I pondered for a while, and a friend mentioned blogging
to me. It was a good idea, but at that time, a little over a year ago,
blogging was already a pretty mature platform and I knew that I would not
write on a consistent basis.

So as I was researching blogging, I came across the term podcasting. I
researched that for what turned into an all-night affair because as I began
to understand what it was all about, I knew that it would be the platform
for self-promotion. But not long after seeing that it would be great for
self-promotion, I saw a bigger picture, and realized it would be a great
vehicle for promoting the theater profession.

From whence do you hail?

I am from the Bay Area. I was born in San Bernardino but moved to the
Bay Area in my infancy.

How did you get involved in theater?

I got involved in the theatre scene after being a cellular and molecular
biology major (I wanted to be an opthalmologist) and realized that I was
not smart enough to handle the physics that would be necessary to become an
eye surgeon. I had to change my major, and after a few detours with
different majors (physical therapy, occupational therapy), I decided I
wanted to act. And so at the age of 26 I went to the theater department at
California State University Northridge and joined the department. Two years
later I graduated and went to Graduate School at the University of Missouri
@ Kansas City.

What’s your ultimate theatrical goal?

My theatrical goal is to let my genius shine for the world to see. (But
first I gotta get off my ass and perform) 🙂

As Michael frequently says fon the podcast, cool, cool, cool. Find out more and subscribe to the podcast here.

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