Michael K Lee
Frankie Suzuki (World Premiere, San Diego 2013)
FRANKIE SUZUKI is a law student turned activist, interned at Heart Mountain. At camp he meets Kei and the Kimura family. Frankie’s desire to protect Kei clashes quickly with his need to speak out against the injustice of their incarceration, and in particular the irony of the draft, where young Japanese American men are sent to fight while their families remain behind bars. His activism puts him squarely against Masaoka and his protégé Sammy, causing a rift between the Kimura siblings that could last a lifetime.
MICHAEL K. LEE is an international theater star, performing on many prestigious stages around the world. While attending Stanford University on path to medical school, fate intervened and led him back to the stage. At the start of his senior year, he was cast as the lead role of “Thuy” in the Broadway Production of MISS SAIGON. After Miss Saigon, he travelled the United States with the Broadway tour of RENT. He then was cast non-traditionally in the Broadway Revival of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. His last stint of Broadway was as the lead character of the Japanese Samurai “Kayama Yasaemon” in Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s production of PACIFIC OVERTURES, for which he received raves from The New York Times, USA TODAY, and New York Magazine amongst others. His love of collaboration and new work led him to help develop musicals in regional theaters around the country, including MAKING TRACKS and THE WEDDING BANQUET with Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist Brian Yorkey and the Village Theatre; BEIJING SPRING with East West Players in Los Angeles, for which he earned his first L.A. Alliance Ovation Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Musical; and COULD IT BE MAGIC in Chicago, with award-winning superstar/creator/director, Barry Manilow. He also has successfully broken down traditional casting barriers, being cast in roles such as “Jesus” in Jesus Christ Superstar; “Tommy” in The Who’s TOMMY (for which he was awarded the Seattle Footlight Award for Best Actor in a Musical); and “Aladdin” in Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. His success in the U.S. brought attention from producers from overseas, and he has begun to explore his opportunities beyond the borders of Broadway. Internationally, he has starred in Miss Saigon in Korea; the world premiere rock opera Where Elephants Weep in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (which he is now also Associate Producer); opposite Lea Salonga in They’re Playing Our Song in the Philippines; and opposite Laura Michelle Kelley in A Twist of Fate in Singapore.
Recently in Southern California, Michael made a star turn in East West Players’ production of The Last Five Years, of which the Los Angeles Times raved: “Michael K. Lee reveals his own prodigious gifts – namely, a rousing leading-man presence and a full and flexible voice.” For his performance, he received his second L.A. Alliance Ovation Award Nomination for “Best Actor in a Musical.” Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown himself requested to perform with Michael (and Jennifer Paz) in a one-night remounting of the show for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.
As a vocalist, Michael has toured with the Grammy Award Nominated Singers of the East Village Opera Company, performing along side The Parson Dances Company; toured the U.S. and Canada with “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber”; and performs in international concerts in Asia regularly.
His solo album, A VOICE FOR VOICES, celebrates the work of emerging Asian American composers and lyricists and has been sold around the world.
His production company, Emchaviel Productions, is committed to the development of work that transcends culture and convention.
He is a graduate of Stanford University.
His proudest achievements, however, are co-productions with his wife, named Jesse Michael Lee and Jude James Lee.