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Michael Gruber is an American actor. He portrayed Munkustrap on Broadway and in the 1998 Cats film.

Cats Credits

Broadway - 07/1996 - 05/1997 - Munkustrap

Broadway - 06/1997 - 04/1998 - Munkustrap

1998 Movie - 08/1997 - 09/1997 - Munkustrap

Broadway - 01/1999 - 03/1999 - Munkustrap

Broadway - 05/1999 - 09/1999 - Munkustrap

Biography

It was my first New York audition. I'm not a dynamic auditioner. In fact, it was how I got my agent. They almost didn't hire me because they thought I didn't sing well enough. I can say that Gillian Lynne (Associate Director and Choreographer) told me that of all the people she worked with, Steve Barton and I were the best Munkustraps. I do feel that I did master that role. As difficult as that show was, it was a great experience.
— On being cast in CATS.
He made his Broadway debut in the final company of A Chorus Line, 1989-90. Michael is a composer and co-lyricist, with long-time collaborator Jennifer Allen, of three musicals: The Old Dead Five, Vegas Organic and Hit It, Mike!. He has also composed music for poems, currently working on a series set to children's poetry. Michael has performed the roles of Munkustrap both on Broadway and in the Cats video. He quotes regarding the Cats video, "It is sort of the signature of my career." He currently resides in Minneapolis, MA.

Gallery

Quotes

  • "I also love the immediate gratification I get from a live audience. For me, the best thing about what I do is being able to make people feel good and maybe go away with some sort of message."
  • "Every actor wants to be in the hot new thing, and it's easy to get into that toxic mindset of `What's this doing for my career? Who cares about this show that's been open for 15 years?' I take a breath and remind myself that I have a great job. I've grown as an artist doing Cats, and that's all that matters."
  • "For me, success is defined by the wonderful moment you learn something about yourself or you realize you did something you didn't think you could do before."
  • "In retrospect, my life has been fairly easy and the transitions relatively easy as well. I am no big overnight success but instead I've worked my way up. I always try to reinvent myself with each role I get."
Interview with Michael Gruber

Interview with Michael Gruber

Trivia

  • As a teenager, Michael Gruber was a professional diver. When Michael was only 14, he was ranked second in the world.
  • He has two older sisters and one older brother. He is the only member of his family who is an actor and singer.
  • He considers the Cats video to be the signature of his career.
  • He is often compared to Gene Kelly in his performances; Both have portrayed Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain.
  • He studied with the same dance teacher as Madonna in college.
  • While performing in the final company of A Chorus Line on Broadway, he tore a stomach muscle when performing an acrobatic stunt. Because of the injury, Michael had to take a break for two weeks. When he returned to the show, he didn't miss a performance for the next six months.
  • After his final performance of "I Can Do That" as Mike Costa in a Chorus Line he received over a minute of applause from the audience.
  • He was also playing the role of Munkustrap in Cats when it broke the record for the longest running show on Broadway, alongside Jacob Brent.
  • While filming the Cats video in London, he had dinner with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman who encouraged him to keep writing.
  • His great aunt was an opera singer.
  • His parents still live in the same house he grew up in as a child and teenager in Cincinnati.
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