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Michael Ziegfeld

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Michael Ziegfeld

Michael Ziegfeld is an American producer, comedian, ventriloquist and voice actor.

Biography

Career

Michael Ziegfeld’s professional career began at age 16 in local television within the 4th largest market of Philadelphia. He got a job at WPHL-TV working on the local, Dancin’ On Air and national sister show Dance Party USA on the USA Network after "convincing high school officials to excuse him" from elective courses.

In 1987 while a part of a studio audience at KYW-TV3, he "snuck away giving himself an unauthorized tour" of the station, then becoming the youngest production assistant hired at an NBC o/o station. He was assigned to TV Programming with production formats including magazine, talk, late night, telethon, parade & news with now established producers including Ed Glavin (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Ray Murray (Trading Spaces) and Glen Davish (The View).

Before graduating high school in 1989 his contract ended and Michael needed work or he would have to go back to class full-time. By day, he got a job in WCAU CBS – News Talk Radio’s PR/Marketing Department, which he landed after being the only applicant to "venture out in the biggest blizzard of the season" for the interview.

These jobs that began in production, would later open the door to being cast as “talent” including stints as the “Eyewitness Teen Reporter“, and radio host of Turn For Teens. And after a strategic encounter with his childhood hero, Muppet creator Jim Henson, Michael was invited to New York to assist in the workshop and later on Sesame Street.

He also accepted a night job with Greg Thompson Productions as a local theater stage technician. Over the next several years he toured with the casino revue show producer, mounting shows in every major resort location around the globe as performance coordinator, road manager, technical director, special appearances coordinator or casting and scouting.

Exposed to live entertainment, Ziegfeld was drawn to the comedy acts he befriended slowly experimenting in stand-up comedy and eventually going on tour. After three years and eventually headlining name clubs like Caroline’s, The Comedy Stop and The Funny Bone, he was introduced to name ventriloquist, Ronn Lucas who inspired him to revisit his childhood love of puppetry when another club circuit staple, Dan Horn taught him the basics of the ventriloquism technique.

The over-saturation of comedy clubs, TV shows and comedians in the 90′s, Michael added the ventriloquism into his stage show giving him a marketing edge in bookings. The 20 year comedy career had him opening or sharing the bill with names like James Brown, Wynonna Judd, Joan Rivers, Don Rickels, The Mills Brothers, The Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers, Jeff Foxworthy, The Pointer Sisters, Lisa Lampanelli, headlining stage shows in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Tahoe, Biloxi, New York, Hollywood, cruise lines, and corporate clients with an act that included stand-up, improv, audience participation, music and his ventriloquist characters, “Willle Swallow … The International Bird of Prey, “The World’s Oldest Gymnast, Nadia Coma” and a talking plate of food.

Michael held an audience with Queen Elizabeth II after "sneaking into the receiving line dressed as security". In 1998 he was voted Atlantic City’s “Act of the Year” by Atlantic City Magazine, appearances included The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central Mix, The Grammy Awards, The Jerry Lewis Telethon and produced his first comedy DVD, Jewicidal Tendencies.

He branched out into acting with a voice over career lending voice to Saturday Night Live’s irreverant, TV Funhouse, Ritz Crackers, The Moodsters, The American Music Awards, Coca-Cola, Mc Donald’s, Crank Yankers and a puppeteering career creating characters for The Jim Henson Company, Pixar, MTV, Disney and Comedy Central.

In 2007, he co-starred with Winona Ryder & Paul Rudd in David Wain’s The Ten playing duel roles of Harlan Swallow and Gary, a disturbed assistant to a superstar agent (Ron Silver). He also premiered his critically acclaimed, off-Broadway show Ziegfeld’s Folly: My Rise to the Middle of Show Business later running in Los Angeles.

In 2008 Michael played opposite Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses when after the audition, the character was given a threaded role in the film and renamed Ziggy, Michael’s actual nickname.

Michael is bi-coastal, living in Hollywood, California while his main office of The Ziegfeld Company Incorporated is based in New York City. He built the company to include Emmy nominated choreographer, Brian Thomas, TV production services director, Nick Buzzell and others as the go-to creative team in television & live productions. Scripting, music, continuity, casting, technical design, production managing, line producing, consulting, packaging, advertising, PR for clients like David Gest, NBC, Siegfried & Roy, Club Med, Global Industries, Texas Instruments, Health South, The Miss America Association, Mystic Lake Hotel & Casino, Dick Clark Productions, Anheiser-Busch International, Big Brothers, Caesars Palace, Celebrity Cruises and house director at the prestigious Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ballroom, home of The Golden Globes, providing the stamp of a unique, creative eye to new projects in stage, television and print transcending each entertainment medium.

He is also writing, directing and developing television and digital media content for cable and network television. He was plucked to direct the long awaited tribute to songstress, Phyllis Hyman Tribute live from the Apollo Theater, the magazine / fashion TV show Heel Me, Harrison Ford & Morgan Freeman in The Legends of Aviation and the 43rd Academy of Magical Arts Awards. He has written for The Friar’s Roasts, Real Time, The Huffington Post, numerous star, stage vehicles and is now teamed up with Funny-Or-Die/30 Rock’s Chris Caniglia for two new half hour comedies and screenplay. His study of the business has allowed him the sensibility to create and direct for multiple genres including the variety show, children’s programming, cooking, scripted and unscripted.

Currently his body of work has cast him in his biggest role to date, as the “doctor” to actors, scripts and shows that are broken. This year alone he has counseled, coached, re-worked or re-cast productions for CBS, TNT and Oscar winner, Kevin Spacey.

References

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • http://www.MichaelZiegfeld.com/
  • http://www.TheZiegfeldCompany.com/
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