JOHN KANDER: For the better part of a year I worked closely with Michael Unger in his capacity as assistant director of Steel Pier. I felt at that time that he was extraordinarily bright and talented. His organizational skill and ability to work with people, coupled with his imagination and sensitivity, pointed clearly, I suspected, to an important career as a director in his own right. Then, some months later, I saw a production of a Marivaux comedy that he had directed and was delighted to have my suspicions confirmed. It was funny, touching and extremely inventive without being “show-offish.” It is exciting, in a profession that is filled with fakes, to come across a director so solidly grounded yet filled with imagination. I’m sure he’s headed for a bright future. Michael is the real thing.
MIKE OCKRENT: Michael worked with me for a period of three years: first, on King David (Disney), then on A Christmas Carol (Madison Square Garden ’96 and ‘97). He is an incredibly able, smart and clever man. He is full of energy, ideas and zest. All his ideas for improving text, clarification of narrative, stage movement, etc., have been smart and inventive. I recently saw his Off-Broadway production, Retribution. This was a difficult play – well directed and conceived by Michael. He clearly has visual flair as well as a good sense of structure. So I unhesitatingly recommend him as a director. I’d welcome the competition!!