Atelier Guest Artists

Michael Counts

Michael Counts headshot

Photo courtesy Michael Counts


Michael Counts is a 20-year pioneer of immersive entertainment, creating large-scale installations, theatrical productions and innovative media and entertainment experiences, often in unconventional spaces throughout the world. Hailed as a “mad genius” by the New York Times and “one of the most fertile imaginations working in New York theater today” by Time Out New York, the NY Times wrote an extensive profile chronicling his recent work.

In late summer of 2016 Michael created and co-produced PARADISO: Chapter 1. Taking place in Midtown Manhattan, Counts combines his many talents and past successes. The experience elevates the traditional escape room with innovative special effects while bringing a complex storyline to life within a fully-immersive environment, complete with actors embedded in the attraction who add multiple layers of entertainment. The New York Times described the production as “part puzzle, part performance, part technological razzle-dazzle,” while the Indie Theater Guide called it “Groundbreaking” and Zeal NYC described Paradiso as “a total aesthetic triumph,” with Stagebuddy heralding Counts as “unarguably the Stephen Sondheim of immersive theater.”

Also in the summer of 2016, two years of work with an all-star international team of collaborators culminated in the Boston premiere of the Ouroboros Trilogy. The highly anticipated production included the Pulitzer Prize winning Madame White Snake, composed by Zhou Long, as well as two world premiere productions, Naga composed by Scott Wheeler and Gilgamesh  composed by Paola Prestini.

Earlier in 2016, Counts lent his talents to the Tavistock Development Corporation to conceive and produce a piece of monumental public art for Tavistocks 7000 acre  a $5B development at Lake Nona.  Over the year leading up to the artwork’s unveiling in February 2016, Counts worked with the Tavistock team and his team of technicians and designers on The Beacon and the integrated lighting animation of The Code Wall, which combine to form a massive piece of permanent public art that stands as an anchor of the Lake Nona development’s Town Center.

Two of his recent productions (Moses in Egypt with New York City Opera and Philharmonic 360 with the New York Philharmonic) were listed on the New York Times Top 10 Lists for their respective years and his projects in a wide range of media have been critically acclaimed and featured in press and media around the world. His recent brand launch for Michael Kors in Shanghai China was a critical success and garnered an enormous amount of international press for the brand and designer. Counts’ recent work on the Walking Dead Escape, an immersive experience extension of the TV, comic book and video game franchise, was called “the high point of the 2014 San Diego Comic Con” by Oculus VR CEO, Brendan Iribe.  The Walking Dead Experience, a 30 minute immersive experience that Counts created in partnership with The Walker Stalker Con (the second largest fan convention in North America) and Skybound Entertainment, the LA based media company lead by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead’s creator, launched in the fall of 2015 and continues its national tour.

Upcoming productions include: The Anne Geddes Experience – an immersive theatrical exhibition of Anne Geddes’ photographic works over the last 20 years that will feature holographic versions of her most known and beloved images as well as immersive environments that depict the worlds that her photographs imagine.

Upcoming productions include Permadeath, by librettist/producer Cerise Jacobs, which will be the first fully staged video game opera that will launch at Pax East in 2018.