Volume 7, Number 2, 1998

Taking road less traveled

In 1995, Michael J. Skinner, AS '96, became the University's first member of a USA Today All-USA College Academic First Team. On campus, he was known for his compassionate devotion to numerous humanitarian causes, his acting and his stellar academic career.

After graduation, Skinner took the road less traveled. Bitten by the acting bug while at UD, he is a professional actor, director and instructor in the Washington, D.C. area.

He is appearing in a new play by Suzan-Lori Parks, Venus, at the Studio Theatre and is set to play Don Juan in Don Juan in Chicago by David Ives in Baltimore later this spring.

Meantime, he has co-written a new translation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and is directing a film adaptation of the play (shot in March and April) for a cable station in Virginia.

Always able to juggle many activities at once, Skinner also has been directing children's productions and teaching workshops on acting, puppetry and Shakespeare at D.C. area schools.

"Aside from a small shoulder injury from sword fighting in an opera, I'm loving what I do," he says.

Establishing oneself as an actor is time-consuming, and while Skinner says his volunteer activities have slowed considerably from his days at UD, he finds time to tutor, work with Habitat for Humanity and on a new project called Hope for Children. The latter also involves his fiancée, Becky Rak, AS '93, BE '93.

Skinner says he may someday decide to pursue an MFA in acting or directing.

-Beth Thomas