MEET THE ARTBURST WRITERS: Michelle Solomon
Michelle Solomon’s life on stage began early. Just out of her toddler years at five years old, she performed as a professional singer in Pennsylvania and at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City in the summer. Perhaps that’s why “I knew early on I was going to have a career in the arts,” she says.
It didn’t end there. By age 12, she was in a semi-professional company where she was cast as the part of Millie in the play Picnic. She continued performing throughout high school and college and also directed several plays. “Directing I truly enjoyed as well,” she says.
She attended Emerson College in Boston and received a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and Theater, following that up with a stint at the State University of New York/Empire State College in Albany to receive a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.
After graduation she continued to perform in theater and eventually became a full-time arts reviewer at a mid-sized newspaper. “It was my first job out of college. I was reviewing theater, among every other arts genre, and committed my time to that,” she says.
She then wrote for the Detroit Free-Press and later was on-air as entertainment reporter at Detroit’s NBC affiliate. And in
Currently, she’s theater critic for Miamiartzine and Florida Theater on Stage, and it was her work as a critic that led her to meet Artburst Editor Anne Tschida.
“We were both panelists at an arts and cultural talk and we started discussing what we did,” she says. Once she began writing for Artburst the passion was immediate.
Her belief in the Artburst mission of covering typically uncovered arts groups like dance, classical music, opera and jazz, among others, is an honor and a thrill for her. She loves using her background and talents to contribute to writing about these particular genres. “Whether it be to provide a preview as the interpreter in a story for the artists that work so hard to get an audience, or by contributing a review after the fact,” she says. “Additionally, that we can provide content to places that no longer or never have had a stable of arts critics — that, too, is so important.”
And with just a handful of theater critics in South Florida and even fewer of them covering those aforementioned genres, it is critical that more value be placed on arts criticism. “With only a finite audience actively seeking out arts criticism, it’s our job to help build that conversation and continue to have readers understand the importance of arts criticism as part of the arts community,” she says.
In her spare time, though, she loves to make people laugh so she considers stand up comedy her new “theater” outlet, where she is active in producing shows as well as being on stage as a comedian.
She says her act is “really like doing one long, original monologue” and helping people bust a gut of course.