My most recent acting role was as The Doctor in Richard Gale’s incredible short film “The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon.”
I guess my life as an actor began in the second grade. I played a cardinal (the bird, not the cleric). After the play finished I was chosen by my teacher, Mrs. Dudich, to stand in front of a microphone and read the names of the cast to the audience of proud parents. I did so, I’m told, without a quiver in my voice or a single mispronunciation. Not bad for a painfully shy and chubby 7-year-old. And so it was to be: shy and quiet in person, fearless and loud when performing.
In high school, I preferred the isolation of the lighting booth to acting on stage. However, that didn’t last long. I was drafted at the end of my sophomore year to play the role of Caiaphas, high priest of Jerusalem, in the Easter-themed play The Trial of Judas Iscariot. (I doubt it’s still in the rotation for public school usage, but this was 1979…) “He came to me of his own volition,” is a line I still remember because I had to look up the meaning of the word volition. Well, after that show, I came to acting of my own volition!
While in the Army I tried my hand at more acting, starting with the Fort Hood Community Theater (three plays, three not-so-good reviews), moving on to the Fort Ord Cabaret Theater (three plays, three sets of glowing reviews) and finally wrapping up my Army acting career with ACTOR (Army Community Theater, Okinawa, Ryukyu) where I acted and directed.
I moved on to Penn State University and landed roles with the mainstage University Resident Theater Company (URTC), along with workshop productions ranging from Shakespeare to some original works. In the summer months I either did plays at the Boal Barn Playhouse in neighboring Boalsburg, PA, or summer stock with the Pennsylvania Center Stage, and I spent one summer with the Elizabeth II living history show in Manteo, NC, which led to my network TV debut as a bar extra in an episode of Matlock starring Andy Griffith.
Although I did some professional (i.e, paid) work as an actor, it really wasn’t until I relocated to Los Angeles that the real challenges began. Within three years I was in both acting unions, AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild (now merged into SAG-AFTRA), had the first of two talent agents, and regularly attended acting workshops and performed in local 99-seat Equity Waiver theater productions. My most notable review from these early years was in Variety calling me “the excellent Mike Kacey” for my role as a police lieutenant in The Little Sister. The star of the show was Robert Saachi (The Man with Bogart’s Face) and was produced by Crane Jackson (anyone recognize the name from The Big Lebowski??).
Finally, with a better agent and the SAG-approved professional name of Michael James Kacey, I was able to book gigs on Beverly Hills 90210 working with Jason Priestly, Brian Austin Green, and Ian Ziering; Nickelodeon’s hit All That working with Keenan Thompson and Amanda Bynes; and a scene with Michael Keaton and Helena Bonham Carter in the film Live From Baghdad. I also played Ned the bartender in my feature film writing-directing debut, Daybreak.
Bitten by the filmmaking bug, I have largely left acting behind, although I was coaxed out of my self-imposed acting retirement by director Richard Gale and actor Paul Clemens to appear in the recent mega-hit YouTube epic short film: The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. Recent word that a feature film version of the story will be made has me chomping at the bit to return as the doctor!
I have, in recent years, fed my acting itch by appearing in old-time radio recreations alongside some of the veterans of the Golden Age of Radio. I usually play the Announcer (a surprisingly difficult role, actually) and some bit parts here and there. However, I must confess, I have played Superman as well… You gotta love radio!