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Akron, Ohio



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Manchester High School
437 West Nimisila Road
Akron, OH 44319
(330) 882-3291


Derek Michalak --  Class of 1993
  Television, theatre and film actor



I've been married for seven months to Suzanne Piccione, who was my destiny. (No kids yet, but we’re working on it!).

Location history:

I lived in Chicago for about four months before being accepted to The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Then I lived in Connecticut for about a year, and later settled in NYC. Studied Meisner, Stella Adler and the Strasberg technique

Education after MHS:

Spent a year at YSU . . . then acting found me.

Occupation history:

Acting chose me, I didn't choose acting. I’ve done a lot of award-winning films on the indie scene, and I've worked with a lot of celebs . . . including Dennis Farina, Tom Waites, Michael Imperioli, Vincent D'Onofrio. Tons of people!

Current acting projects:

Getting ready to play the lead in two features.

Spouse’s occupation:

My beauty is a CPA at Pfizer

Did your MHS education or experiences influence your career direction?

Not really . . . I've always known.

Interesting things you’ve done since high school:

Sitting down with Al Pacino. Great!!!

Strangest thing you’ve done since H.S.:

This article! LOL.

Something you’d still like to do in the future...

Be a member of the E Street Band!

Travel highlights:

Experiencing Dublin, Ireland! Wonderful people, beautiful culture and amazing Guiness!

Current Hobbies / Activities:

Playing guitar . . . there is something to learn everyday!

Other interesting life experiences from the past 2 decades…

Other than getting married? I'm actually writing a script that I plan to film, some parts in Manchester, so that will be a very interesting life experience.

Favorite Manchester teachers, and why:

To tell you the truth . . . Dave Douglas, from my 8th grade year. Never met a more passionate teacher.

Least favorite subjects at MHS:

Biology . . . actually never had better sleep!

Favorite Manchester memories:

Playing football for the Panthers

Least favorite memories from school, if any:

No, I'm one of those few guys who never had any problems.

Thoughts about attending Manchester schools, in general:

Pride! I know who I am and where I'm from.

What sports, if any, did you play or letter in at MHS?

Technically, I was a 4-year letterman on the football team (though they only gave me three); also lettered in basketball (3) and baseball (2).

Other H.S. activities / clubs you enjoyed:

I enjoyed being the class president . . . although people are haunting me now!

Which H.S. reunions have you attended? And do you have a favorite memory from any of them?

We had our 10-year . . . it was a lot of fun, but not a great turn out.

Did you have any favorite high school “hangouts?”

My favorite hangouts were on the football field!

Favorite music from your H.S. era, and current favorite:

A diehard Springsteen fan!

Favorite TV shows:

Nothing beats Cheers.

Favorite Movies:

I'm one of the few people who doesn't think "The Godfather" is the greatest . . . I love "Lonesome Dove"

Favorite actor / actress:

Without a doubt . . . Robert Duvall

Biggest pet peeve since graduation:

Rudeness! I will not tolerate it.

“My old friends would be surprised to know . . .”

. . . that acting is not what most people think, as in “Oh I’m going to go to work today and act like I want to be there.” Acting is “Living TRUTHFULLY IN THE MOMENT.” As Meisner said, ”Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances!”

If you could re-do or change one thing, what might that be…?

Nothing! All of my choices have shaped me to this point and will continue to do so.

Siblings who are also MHS alumni?

My brother, Jason (MHS 1990), works for Sterling Inc., as a computer programmer, is happily married with two great kids, and currently resides in Manchester. My sister, Angel (MHS 1995), is a happily married stay-at-home mother to three great kids, and lives in Green.

How often do you get “back home?”

As much as possible!

Derek has his own website, which includes photos, details about his many projects, a cool demo video, and contact info. Check it out:

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