About 10 years ago, actor and director Michael Coty founded Youngblood Theatre to give himself and his fellow UWM Theatre graduates a chance to do professional work and take creative risks.
Over the years, Cotey acted for other companies in town and continued to direct with Youngblood, before taking a break to go to grad school for directing - a move inspired by his experience directing theater outside of Milwaukee.
"All of the directing that I had done had been with my friends and plays I'd picked for my company," he says. "I'd never been in a situation where, you know, one of the actors I worked with had been acting as long as I had been alive... I decided I really wanted to get some training."
Now, Cotey's back in town, after earning his masters degree from Northwestern, to direct Deathtrap at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, where he's putting his training to use.
"I think in the past I would be a little bit more focused on the how, like: how do we get to a moment, what does it look like; like the technical elements and sort of a little bit more coaching an actor to get there," says Cotey. "And now I'm really trying - at least in the front end of rehearsal - to lay the groundwork so I don't have to do the actors' work for them."
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's production of Deathtrap opens Thursday, August 10 at the Broadway Theatre Center in the Third Ward.