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

While earning his MFA in Directing at Northwestern University, Michael directed The Great Gatsby, Equivocation and Frankenstein. Other directing credits include Illinois Shakespeare Festival (The Comedy of Errors), Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (Gently Down the Stream, Ben Butler [upcoming], Deathtrap, Boeing Boeing, and Things Being What They Are), Next Act (Equivocation), First Stage  (Elephant’s Graveyard and As You Like It), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (The Tempest and Cementville), Illinois Wesleyan University (Dancing at Lughnasa and Treasure), and Youngblood Theatre (Cartoon, The Flu Season and Spirits to Enforce). From 2009-2013 he was the Founding Artistic Director of Youngblood, which did “terrific work that [changed] the landscape of Milwaukee Theater” (Milwaukee Magazine) and Youngblood was named the Shepherd Express’ best theatre company in 2010. As an actor Michael has worked with regionally with the Milwaukee Rep, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and in Milwaukee with Next Act, In Tandem and Youngblood. Michael has assisted prominent directors at Goodman Theatre (Robert Falls), Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Mary Zimmerman), Utah Shakespeare (Joseph Hanreddy), Steppenwolf (Hallie Gordon), Milwaukee Rep (Sean Graney), Gift Theatre (Jessica Thebus) and Northwestern (Henry Godinez). He was part of the FAIR Assistantship Program at Oregon Shakespeare (‘17), and also a member of the Chicago International Puppetry Festival Catapult Program (‘17) and Director’s Lab Chicago (‘13). Michael graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BFA in Acting. In 2014 he was named UWM’s “Graduate of the Last Decade.”

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 owner of two Chihuahuas:

Pepper Potts and Hulk.


“He is an actor of some note who has proven his abilities for several years, but for my money he is beginning to carve an enviable reputation as a director.” Dave Begel, OnMilwaukee.com

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


Learn more about Youngblood Theatre

“Milwaukee’s most exciting theater troupe.”

Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel