Acting came as a bit of a surprise to Michael Coady. The St. John’s native was a teacher when he found his passion in theatre through some teaching colleagues while working in Labrador.
“That is where I was bitten by the theatre bug – I hadn’t done it since I was 14 years old. I left it all behind because it wasn’t cool to be doing theatre, you wanted to just be Bono or Ozzy Osbourne and play in a band,” said Coady. “Acting just kept coming up in ways, and eventually out-stripped my passion for teaching and I knew I had to do more with that because I was not doing a service to the students or myself, because I wasn’t as passionate as I was about acting.”
That passion for acting came to a head in 1998 and from there on it, the actor decided to change the trajectory of his life. In 2003, He took leave from his job with the Faculty of Education at MUN and headed to Toronto to try and figure it out. Eventually his short- term absence from the university turned permanent when Coady found enough work to wet his appetite.
“I eventually landed a musical theatre gig with the first Canadian cast of the Broadway production of Urinetown, which had won Tony awards and was a big hit on Broadway. CanStage brought the Broadway creative team to Toronto which included the Tony Award-winning director, John Rando. You can book a lot of good gigs and they may lead to something else, and they may not. But in and of themselves they are great learning curves and opportunities, whether they break into something that sends you on an upward trajectory is another thing,” said the actor.
Even though Coady found his career path in Toronto, he continued to have connections close to home. After moving to the city, he met a woman who had Newfoundland roots. She was putting together a sketch comedy variety radio show that was being produced for the LA market.
“You meet people seemingly randomly and it takes you onward to a new destination you hadn’t planned for yourself and it’s almost too coincidental not to be the path that you were meant to go on. There have been a few examples of that in my career, (it) feels too random to not be somehow destined.”
That meeting eventually led the path to LA, where Coady found himself for sometime to further pursue his acting. While the move to the City of Angels furthered his career, he continued to find himself returning to the stage in Newfoundland, once in awhile.
“I certainly had my circle in St. Johns from all the work I did there in theatre, and some film. Through my network there and my move to Toronto, I became friends with Allan Hawco. I was home in 2009 to produce and act in the East Coast Canadian premiere of the play, “Doubt, A Parable”, and it happened to be when they were shooting the pilot for Republic of Doyle. Allan encouraged me to audition for the pilot – which never went to air. Because CBC liked it so much, they went back to the drawing board to recreate an hour-long format and they booked me again on the first episode of season one.”
While in LA, Coady wanted to continue returning home to bring productions to the stage, but it was nearly impossible to get away from the grind and upcoming opportunities. In the fall of 2017, he had made it back to act in the musical “A Call to Arms” produced by Atlantic Light Theatre written by Petrina Bromley of the Broadway hit, “Come From Away.”
“It’s a story of one soldier and how his death impacts a whole community. Great theme for the ravages of war. His father never wanted him to go to war, and he never came back and the family business died and the whole community died because they had no one to sell their fish to and it goes to show the one impact of one life,” he said of the production.
Though more recently Coady has been trying to focus on the film and television industry, there is a significant part of his heart that loves the stage.
“My first passion was theatre, so I think it might always be. What I love about theatre is it’s a lot more collaborative as you prepare your character and a lot more character development through the longer rehearsal process. The interaction and energy of an audience can inform the energy of any given show. That is infectious, it’s a visceral thing that you can feel. You can know someone is right with you.”
Coady currently resides in Ottawa with his family and has booked a few roles in the city.
“Who knew Ottawa is the Christmas ‘Movie of the Week’ capital of the world, I have auditioned for like 8 Christmas films since last January. So there is work here. I will always be looking for it.”