When Michele Verhoosky was a young child and would gather with her friends for fun and games, a popular choice was to create impromptu plays. “That was one thing all my friends in the neighborhood would do,” Michele stated in a 1995 interview with her local paper, The Pictorial Gazette. “We’d become kings and queens, and charge our mothers a nickel to witness our fabulous imaginations.”
During these times it was discovered Michele had a severe hearing loss. Since that time the condition has progressively worsened to the point where Michele is now completely deaf in her left ear with approximately only15% of hearing in her right ear. But that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing many interests and accomplishing many great things.
Michele studied children’s theatre, speech and oral interpretation at Emerson College in Boston, where she working and performing with their Children Theatre Department. She went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum laude from The University of Connecticut with a degree in English and Creative Writing. Her progressive hearing loss led to learning sign language and studying playwriting and deaf theatre arts at The National Theatre of the Deaf.
She went on to be a two-time winner of The Sam Edwards Deaf Playwrights Contest, sponsored by New York Deaf Theatre. A Laying of Hands was performed on Theatre Row in New York City, earning a rave review from The New York Times which stated “Her insights into despair, hope, wickedness and rascality are extraordinary, and often brilliantly exploited...what is most striking is how natural all this conversation is and how much it reveals about imagination, speech and silence.” Her second award-winning play, I See The Moon was showcased by The National Theatre of the Deaf at their 1st International Deaf Playwrights Conference under the direction of Tony-award winner, Phyllis Frelich.
In 2002 Michele was commissioned by Debra Wise of Underground Railway Theatre to produce a new work for the famed Women On Top Theatre Festival. Beyond The Blue, inspired by September 11th, premiered at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Incorporating music, sign language and the spoken word, this mystical play is an incredible journey to the world beyond and the world within, crossing boundaries, revealing secrets, reclaiming lost love and—ultimately—setting it free.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my life is that what could have been viewed as my most severe disability has turned out to be my greatest ability,” Michele states about her deafness. “It’s what enables me to dive completely into any of my myriad interests and lose myself completely. I give it 100% focus. It’s the same when I talk with people. I have to give them my full attention to sign, lip-read and speak. And you know what? People love that! The fact that somebody’s actually listening to them and interested in what they have to say. And I love it because nine times out of ten a fabulous conversation ensues.”
A certified yoga instructor, Reiki Master, Hypnotherapist, Michele is a member of The Dramatists Guild, published poet, short-story writer, artist, musician, and songwriter. She and her husband traded in their long-time affiliation with the rugged New England coastline to move to the “Prince-of-Tides” low country of the Carolinas. They are the doting grandparents of three beautiful little girls and a Puerto Rican rescue puppy.
- A Laying of Hands (written in 1992) Winner of The Sam Edwards Deaf Playwright Contest sponsored by New York Deaf Theatre, A Laying of Hands was first produced by Onyx Theatre Company at Westbeth Theatre in 1995. A Laying of Hands moved to The Judith Anderson Theatre on Theatre Row, earning a rave review from The New York Times. Tours of the show have included performances at Gallaudet University and The University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
- I See The Moon (written in 1994, winner of The Sam Edwards Deaf Playwright Contest sponsored by New York Deaf Theatre. Selected by The National Theatre of the Deaf for their 1st Worldwide Deaf Theatre Conference for a special showcase production under the direction of Tony-award winner Phyllis Frelich in 1995.
- The Middle of Nowhere (written in 1997) Selected by The National Theatre of the Deaf for their 3rd Worldwide Deaf Theatre Conference for a special showcase production under the direction of Aaron Weir. Excerpt of this play published in DEAF WORLD, A Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook edited by Lois Bragg (New York University Press, copyright 2001) in an article written by famed deaf playwright, and good friend, Willy Conley.