My son spent the most exciting and formative hours of his “growing up” years with the Mad Factory! From the age of 5, when in a short skit he was a lion getting tangled up in his own tail, to his 17th summer, which he spent as a Mad Camp counselor and all-around theater hand, he has grown and thrived within the wonderful Mad Factory community. His sense of self-confidence and skill as a performer grew with each Mad Factory production he was a part of, and his sense of theater as something he wanted “to do” was all due to the exposure, experience, and pure awesomeness of Mad Factory! Thank you all so much for your amazing talent, humor, and hard work – and thank you for being there for the lucky kids of greater Lorain County!
Jessica Grim Collection Development & Management Librarian Oberlin College
Broadway Producer John Edward Thomas writes: “Beyond proud of the incredible cast, crew, & production team behind the Mad Factory’s Sweeney Todd. This amazing group of people delivered a professional quality production from the ground up. The costumes, lighting, & scenic designs were visually stunning. The automatic barber chair with automated moving ramp system was a marvel, stopping the show almost every night with applause. The cast possessed some of the best overall acting and vocal ability I have ever seen on any local stage, supported by a flawless orchestra and stellar sound design. Above and beyond creating a production of the highest caliber, the Mad Factory family has also created a warm, welcoming atmosphere while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. An environment where new friendships are born that I anticipate will last a lifetime. Thank you Linda Michalak, Nina Fisher, and Amber Michalak for blessing our son Christian and our family with such an amazing experience. We are proud to call you all friends! You have created a wholesome environment of love, tolerance, and acceptance many others strive for but few fully achieve. We look forward to seeing you all again very soon. As you can tell we are huge fans!”
Douglas F. Bailey writes: “Today we put Sweeney Todd to bed. Bittersweet does not begin to describe this feeling. I am so grateful for the dedicated, talented, and wonderful people that made this particular production as enjoyable as humanly possible. Linda agreed to produce an often overlooked story of bloodshed and revenge, and we’re all better for it. I watched Nina come into her own, and pull the gritty story telling of such a complex piece out of every actor on stage. Matthew pushed himself and this cast to produce a sound that I did not know was possible. Cameron pushed the limits by creating a magnificent set, complete with a slide to the oven (not to mention played the most fun sailor I’ve ever shared a stage with). Amber shined as Mrs. Lovett. We’ve played mother/son, mother/daughter, ogre/princess, and now a murderous duo! I can’t wait for our next adventure. On top of all of that, I got to work with some of my best friends, and forge a few new friendships that I’ll treasure forever. I’m going to try to tag everyone, but let’s be real; it’s midnight, and I’m exhausted. I love The MAD* Factory. I love Sweeney Todd. I love you all (yes even Johnathan Telepak). Thank you for an incredible summer. And thank you to the droves of people who came out to support a wonderful group. If you missed this one, you missed a damn good one We pushed boundaries. We did wonderful things. We done good. I’m proud as hell.”
I echo the other moms when I say thank you. When you are 13 1/2 like Grace is, it can be hard to join a cast of this size, with most kids either much older and in the last years of high school, or younger and not in middle school yet. Thank you to everyone for making this a memorable experience, but especially to those older kids who took the time to reach out and get to know the younger kids and teens in the cast. I’m not sure what all happened last night at Karaoke, but Grace came home beaming from the love and encouragement she felt. I also have a confession to make- I had never seen Les Mis until last weekend. I love it so much now, but this group is so talented that when I hear the songs on Spotify from Broadway, I find myself wishing I could just have a recording of the MAD cast singing instead. Your version will forever be the original Les Mis in my head! I can’t wait to see where life leads each one of you!!!
Hey big kids… If Tommy had Facebook, he would be chiming in here. He, well we, cried most of the way home today from the cast party. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for what you showed him during this amazing experience! As parents, we hope that the world will be kind and accepting of our kids, and that they will be surrounded by kindness and encouragement everywhere they go. Your simple sincerity in your words and parting hugs speaks volumes to the wonderful people you all are! We are so grateful for you! This has been a life-defining time for my little guy, and you are wonderful role models! Thank you! Your futures are all so bright! ❤
Just saying (for the millionth time??) this is the best cast I’ve ever worked with and I have so many new best friends and you all light up my life like no other and I cry every time I think about how great all of you are. I’ve for sure cried some after shows but not as much this one, you’ve all made such an amazing impact on me and have been so welcoming and I couldn’t be more thankful. You are all also great huggers and comforters when me or other people are sad. This is of course not goodbye to any of you with my heart full of love to all of you 💙🇫🇷❤ (I also can’t really tell the difference of happy and sad crying at this point either but I’ll live)
I love you all so much. I’m so grateful that you’ve all welcomed me with open arms into the MAD* family. you guys have taught me how people should treat each other, and what really friends are in these short couple of months. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to perform with such amazing people, inside and out. I always looked forward to coming to rehearsals, because I knew that no matter how horrible my day was, I would forget about everything as soon as I saw all of you. I couldn’t even fathom missing one rehearsal when I was basically dying from a sinus infection. I love you all so much and I wish we could do this show forever. I’m so proud of each and every one of you and I will cherish all of the memories and friendships I’ve made throughout this process.❤
Les Misérables at the MAD* Factory was the best experience of my life, plain and simple. It was the most talented, kind, loving, fun, and wonderful casts I have ever been a part of (which is crazy because everyone there was less than 18). I ugly cried for the first time over a show ending during the epilogue/bows when it hit me that I wasn’t going to be Marius anymore with a group of people that I love dearly, but I cheered up a little while later because I realized how lucky and grateful I am to have been a part of something so special, and to have met so many new friends. Thank you to all my friends and family who came and saw it, and to Linda Michalak, Nina Fisher, and Amber Michalak for letting me be in this show and all the hard work you put into it. At the end of the day I couldn’t have been more happy with how it all turned out. 😊❤🇫🇷💙🎭
- What The MAD* Factory means to me… (5/11/2014)
Testimonials from our teens!
“A fun place where teens can come and forget about stressful things, our social lives, and home. My day ALWAYS gets better after MAD* Factory Class.”
“A place to completely be myself and not have to worry about being judged or criticized, and to meet new people who share the love of theater
“Family. I have made friends here for life.”
“Somewhere to learn more about acting and music (theater) and to meet awesome new people.”
“A place where you can be yourself and enjoy the fun of singing, dancing, and acting.”
“It’s a great place to be crazy and make awesome new friends.”
“A place for me to meet new people who share a common interest in singing and dancing.”
“A place where it’s ok to be unique.”
“Life, expression, drama-free drama. A necessity for kids who love the theater.”
“A place to further my love of theater and meet new and fantastic people.”
“A place where you can be odd and unique and not be judged for it. MAD* Factory is home.”
“A place where I can make friends and make people laugh.”
“This has been my first time here and it has been a wonderful experience. I can truly be who I am here.”
“It is where I have grown and learned the most about theater that I have thus far. It is where I belong completely amid my closest friends in the universe. We’re all MAD here!”
“More than I can possibly say! My favorite place and my favorite people in the universe!”
“When I was little MAD* got me through a really hard time. Still helps and I’ve made great amazing friends.”
“A place where I’m not judged for being myself.”
“One of the most positive atmospheres I have ever encountered. I love everyone involved with The MAD* Factory.”
- From Gail Rottari, Educational Services Assistant Director for Horizon Activities Center (5/11/2014)
I am writing on behalf of Horizon Activities Centers regarding programming done by The MAD* Factory for its after school programs. The MAD* Factory provided an “Introduction to Musical Theatre” program at four of the nine Horizon sites over a seven week period. During this time, each class learned at least four chorale numbers, along with simple dance routines. As a culminating activity, The MAD* Factory also organized a student performance for our students and families.
I am pleased to say that this program was a huge success! Our children not only learned these routines, but also learned a great deal about themselves and their peers. The children enrolled in the musical theatre program developed a better understanding of the arts, as well as opening up socially in a group setting.
We appreciate The MAD* Factory and their wonderful program that they brought to our elementary sites! As an organization, we hope to incorporate The MAD* Factory and their programs in the future!
- From Sindy, MAD* Factory patron (5/11/2014)
I have attended several of The MAD* Factory’s productions in the last year. The acting and singing are superb. The cast always delivers a great performance.
The MAD* Factory provides young people with building self-esteem and developing excellence in the arts.
People can go to a show and be entertained for a nominal fee. Whether it is a musical play or a drama, The MAD* Factory is always entertaining.
Lorain County cannot afford to lose The MAD* Factory! The MAD* Factory is an excellent theatre troupe.
- A Play Changed My Life by Alex (5/11/2014)
One of our teens chose to write about us for a school assignment. Here is his story.
Katy went to MAD* Factory for over five years. She encouraged me to try out for the play called, “Urine Town.” I decided to try out because people think I’m funny so I thought there was a possibility I could act. I put on magic shows which are similar to acting. During the audition I was shaking in my boots! What was I thinking? Somehow I made it through the audition without keeling over. Now, I have to wait a long two weeks to find out if I got the part or not. What a long two weeks!
On a scorching hot Friday night in June, I received a call from the MAD* Factory. I felt nervous as I took the phone call. “Is this Alex?” said Linda, the director. “Yes, this is Alex,” I said with a curious voice. Then Linda went on to tell me I got the part. I ran around screaming and jumping like a crazy house monkey. My parents thought something was wrong but everything was right. Linda told me to come in and pick up my libretto and schedule. I went to Oberlin immediately and met Linda. I just could not believe something so spectacular could happen to me!
The first thing on the schedule was summer camp. Summer camp occurred in June from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Wow, these were long days! First, I would go from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and then Katy and I would walk around Oberlin. We would eat dinner and hang out for three hours until we had to go back at approximately 6:00 pm. Once summer camp ended the regular schedule began. This one was packed full of new things to learn.
One of the skills we had to learn was singing. We had started to sing at summer camp a little but now we had to focus on the words of the song and how to pronounce them correctly. We also had to learn choreography and how to make a set. Everyone needed to know how to change into a different costume after each scene quickly. There certainly were a lot of things to learn as well as several new people to meet!
During the rehearsals I meet many wonderful people, Jesse, Julian, Amber, Cameron, Linda, Nina, Erica, and others. One of my favorite friends was Julian. He was extremely shy but funny. Julian was tall with brown hair. We would hang out and chat about everything. Actually, I got along with everyone there. They all seemed to be similar to me. They were about 30 actors in the play. Some were paid and others, like myself, were volunteers. How awesome it would be if you were able to get paid for doing something you love!
We usually practiced in auditorium at Oberlin High School. There were hundreds of chairs, although it only seemed like a few. The auditorium had a fresh aroma but the dressing room smelled like sticky feet. Singing and laughing echoed the halls. As the day came closer for the performance everyone became serious. The director really had to crack down; the first performance was upon us! Wow, we were all getting nervous!
Finally, the day is here! I thought nothing could go wrong but wait. hurts my head, stomach, and body. How can I possibly attend the play tonight? I somehow dragged myself to the play because the show must go on. Although I felt sick during the play I managed to perform my best. As time went on, I felt much better.
The cheers from the audience over shadowed my illness. The audience clapped and cheered and I felt like I could accomplish anything! It was the best feeling ever!
After the last performance, we had to take our final bow. My feelings were sad and happy at the same time. I had tears of joy and was very proud of myself. My parents were proud of me also. When I got out of my costume and saw my mother and father standing at the end of the hall waiting for me, I was so happy. But now we had to take down the set. I realized then that my great summer was ending.
It’s time to celebrate our accomplishments by having a cast party. Everyone went to the director’s house, Linda. There was a variety of foods. They actually had a taco flavored chip. I got to pet a cow, pigs, chickens, and roosters. Unfortunately, I also got to smell them as well. We all went swimming in an enormous pool in the dark. And then came the really exciting thing, the fireworks. The director’s husband shot them off. I am talking about big fireworks! Words can not describe how they looked! After lots of fun, we all had to say goodbye. It makes me sad to think about it even to this day! Saying goodbye to these people makes my heart sink.
The MAD* Factory gave me something I’ll always remember. My costume is hung up in my room. Linda and the others encouraged me and made believe in myself. Because of them, I will continue my acting and plays. I have also become more mature over the summer. I hope someday I’ll be able to meet everyone and act again. This experience truly has changed my life!
- From Jennifer, the parent of an autistic child (5/11/2014)
Dear Linda, Nina, Amber and all the camp counselors,
Thank you all so much for providing Jaden with such a wonderful and rewarding camp experience. He truly enjoyed coming and seeing you guys every day and had so much fun with you and learned so much about theatre and art. Thank you also for your patience and for welcoming him with open arms. Your kindness is greatly appreciated. It makes me smile each time I think of all the joy you’ve brought to Jaden….
- From Anne, who attended our production of “Seussical:” (5/11/2014)
Dear Linda and everyone connected with “Seussical the Musical,”
I came to Opening Night because I am Ella’s Grammie Annie. I came again on Saturday evening because I enjoyed it so much on Friday. I am writing now because you ALL deserve the utmost praise for this most enjoyable, funny, sad, imaginative, convincing and completely professional production. It is one of the most oustanding theatre productions I have ever seen—amateur of professional. No moments that dragged—NONE! No weak characters. No lapses of character from anyone—everyone was ALWAYS completely “into it” on stage. Wonderful choreography! Always something going on that was relevant to the plot. Every character acting and reacting very convincingly.Totally enjoyable. What a priviledge for everyone to be a part of this. Bravissimo!! No one should miss this show.
In High School and University I was involved with many Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas in the chorus or orchestra. More recently I was Sister Henrietta (Instead of Bishop) and in the chorus of a local production of “Anything Goes”. I also played in the orchestra for “Footloose” and “Oklahoma”. I am an amateur clarinetist playing in orchestras, bands, dance bands, shows and in LOTS of chamber music groups locally, in Interlochen, MI, and on the beach of Ischia, Italy. I see a lot of amateur musicals and few would get such high praise as I am giving your “Seussical, the Musical.”
- From Caty, age 12 (5/11/2014)
MAD* Factory is awesome. I started taking classes with The MAD* Factory in 2007 and I haven’t missed a session yet. Miss Linda and all of the counselors are awesome. You get to meet a lot of fun people and you learn how to overcome your fears about performing in front of an audience. I love Musical Comedy Improv, but every class I have been in was great. The MAD* Factory is one of the best parts of my week, and I look forward to it. So, give The MAD* Factory a try. You won’t be disappointed.
- From Charlotte, volunteer Costume Mistress (5/11/2014)
Dear Linda and The MAD* Factory,
Many thanks! The gift cards were a great surprise and I really appreciate them! Helping with “Seussical” was really a fun experience and I truly enjoyed it! The cast was so good and they changed those costumes like clockwork, which was not easy. They were amazing and never complained or got tired of performing. They had a list of their costume changes on the wall and some were checking it even on Sunday!
I met some terrific actors and singers adding to the ones I already know. Thanks for letting me be part of your production and enjoying “Seussical” many times! It was a super show!
- From Ella, age 11 (5/11/2014)
I love the MAD* Factory. I have attended MAD* Camp every year I could and recently went to Improv classes and done musicals. I also attend First Friday night Improv. Every single day I go to MAD* Factory I always get happy and hyper. This is because MAD* Factory is hilarious, amazing and fun. If I have had a bad day, I always cheer up when I go to The MAD* Factory. When I am at MAD* Factory, I always feel I can just be myself and not worry. I am always so comfortable with The MAD* Factory. I’m extremely grateful fo MAD* Camp. If it weren’t for that camp, my summer would be much more boring, dull and pointless. But instead, I can go to camp and spend three entire weeks of laughter, acting and happiness. I think MAD* Factory is the meaning of happiness. I am always sure that I mention MAD* Factory to all my friends. Thank you for giving me so many hours of nothing but smiles.
What is the MAD* Factory? Some music, some art and some drama. It’s a place to have fun, grow and build confidence. I was but a lad when I began playing with the M.A.D. and still continue to do so into my adult years. Learning something new every show and year.
To me the MAD* Factory is a place where I can go to connect with many others who share interests with me as well as explore those interests and develop them into talents with the same people. The artistic exposure that I get through the MAD* Factory is beyond compare. The caring people I have had the pleasure of meeting through MAD*- whether they are directors or cast mates- have truly made every MAD* experience unforgettable. The no-judgement environment is also another important component to the MAD* experience. The bottom line is that I believe the MAD* Factory is a safe and fun place where I can go to do what I love with people I love. Victoria K.
The MAD* Factory is a great community to be a part of. We all share similar interests and it’s a great way to get to know people you normally wouldn’t have talked to. When I first moved to this area, I didn’t know very many people outside of school, here I have met a lot of great and supportive people. The only acting experience I’ve had is with the MAD* Factory and I have really enjoyed it.
MAD* Camp is like a second family. Everyone is so nice. It’s so much fun and you learn and meet a lot of new people/things. MAD* Factory is a strong, supportive environment that allows you to be yourself and enjoy the good things in life…friends and family.
Former MAD* Student dropped this note off along with a check for $200!
MAD* Family, MAD* Factory has taught me so much over the years. Not only about the performing arts, but more importantly about myself. You all have taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. Helped me to find my voice and inner confidence. When I first started classes I was 10 and was so self-conscious and scared to be me. And boy has that changed. I’m following my dreams and doing what I love. I honestly believe I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without the help from all of you! And y’all will never know how much that means to me! I am going through a lot of changes and crossroads and I think it would be great to come back to MAD*. I have so much love and respect for every single one of you. With Love and Best Wishes Forrest Locklear
Comedy Improv is how I was introduced to The MAD* Factory. This is a class where anything goes! The environment along with the wonderful teaching staff really helped me come out of my shell. I gained confidence that I carry into my everyday life and all aspects of my performing. Celia Romanoski And under this leadership team, they never will. Douglas Bailey
The MAD* Factory is more than just a theatre organization- to me it’s home and it’s where I have grown in numerous ways as a person. Being part of an organization so positive and heartwarming is something that I am so extremely grateful for. From previous shows to “Young Frankenstein” they never fail to entertain every audience member and bring people who are in the cast closer than anything imaginable.
The MAD* Factory is a fun, happy family where everyone can be who they are. It’s full of great people and we always have the best time. So many great memories and fun times here. Always a blast! Such a nice place to make friends and have fun. I love being here and I always have fun. Love all the people and all the fun games and memories. Kira F.
“Young Frankenstein” has been my first show with The MAD* Factory and I’m so happy I came here. I know this won’t be the only show I do here, because these people are part of my family now. It’s hard for me to trust new people but here I feel like I belong. I can’t wait to make more memories and to grow closer to my new family. These people bring a smile to my face every day and I couldn’t be more grateful. Hannah F.
“Young Frankenstein” is my first and not my last show with the MAD* Factory. This show is also the first musical I’ve done since I got sick last summer and had to drop the show I was doing at the time. This place and the people in it have truly blessed my life in such a short amount of time and I am so thankful for their place in my life and my heart. I can see myself coming back for many, many, many more shows in the future. We’re all a little MAD* and that’s a beautiful thing! Jackie S.
To me MAD* Factory is a chance to be yourself and not get judged. It is a place to be surrounded by people who love you for who you are. In MAD* Camp you learn so many important skills while having fun. I’m truly thankful for this group of people. London D.
The MAD* Factory is a place where like-minded people share in the creation of a work of art. It is a place where I can be whoever I want to be and I know that I will be accepted for it. The MAD* Factory is the best place I’ve found where you can become a better artist and person while creating friendships that will last a lifetime. Sebastian Grim(16 years old been doing MAD* Factory for 8 years)
While this show is my first experience with the MAD* Factory, I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite experiences with theatre. Everyone here is so welcoming and talented that it really creates a good environment for growth. I plan on coming back to MAD* Factory again for more great experiences. Luke J.