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Michael Kostroff


I've always had a passion for words. I relish not only their meanings, but their cadences, and the endless rhythms that can be created by combining them. I love honing sentences in search of maximum clarity and impact and making things really land with the reader.


My professional writing work has been wonderfully diverse, from live shows and events to proposals and grants, from journalism to jokes. I've composed songs, punched up screenplays, reviewed theatre, written an advice column, and authored a several books.

writing samples
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Audition Psych 101 (Gatekeeper Press, 2018) — Based on the popular workshop of the same name, this book addresses the mental gremlins that haunt actors as they approach one of the strangest job application processes ever.

“It has completely changed the way I now view auditions.”

—Chad Manuel, Chicago


“His expertise, sense of humor, and just old-fashioned good sense does the impossible: It actually makes the actor comfortable with the audition process.”  —J. R. Orlando, San Jose


 “Honest, spot on, hilarious, inspirational, and simply balls-out brilliant.” —Ellen Zolezzi, NYC

I’m a psychotherapist who specializes in working with creative artists. In Audition Psych 101, Michael Kostroff has validated everything I believe about the audition process. Let him save you a lot of disappointment and frustration. —Dr. Lee D. Kassan, NYC

“I can't wait for my next audition. (Holy mackerel, did I just write that?)” —Deborah Linehan, NYC

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The Stage Actor’s Handbook (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022) is a definitive guide for professionals and aspiring professionals alike, detailing the traditions, protocols, etiquette, and best practices of the professional stage actor. It covers everything from rehearsal demeanor and directors’ notes to curtain calls and backstage etiquette. It also offers field-tested guidelines on touring, self-care, interactions with the public, and more, while also sharing the theatre’s unique vernacular and revered superstitions.




“The Stage Actor’s Handbook is essential in the toolkit of the professional theater actor."  

—Kaitlin Hopkins, Head of Musical Theatre, Texas State University

“While theatre has incredibly specific codes of conduct, this is the only book I know of dedicated to helping actors find their footing. Kostroff and Garnyé have pulled together scads of useful information, shedding light on our often practical, sometimes charming, and occasionally bizarre theatrical traditions.”

—Jackie Apodaca, Professor of Theatre and Head of Performance, Southern Oregon University/Artistic Director, Ashland New Plays Festival

“Honestly, this book should be required reading by anyone who even thinks of acting as a profession.”

—Peter Van Norden, actor.

Letters from Backstage (Allworth Press, 2005) is a funny, behind-the-scenes chronicle of an actor's life on the road with two Broadway tours. Each chapter is written from a different city, and takes the reader deep inside a world of quirky locals, weird hotels, travel delays, onstage mishaps, theatre ghosts, and the strange and joyous adventure of sharing live theatre with thousands of strangers every night.


“...a gift from a performer to performers and from a traveler to those who love travel.”   Jason Alexander


“An insider's view of the wacky world of professional theatre most people never get to see.”   —Lisa Ann Richard (Mamma Mia)


“[Kostroff is] silly, curmudgeonly, exhausted, mischievous, honest, terrified, brave and always very, very funny. For those not in show biz, this is a great insider's peek. For anyone in show biz, it's a must-read. And for the Broadway gypsy, it's a Bible.”     —Steve Purnick, actor/writer/comedian

Answers from "The Working Actor" (Routledge Press, 2018) is a textbook

that draws on the authors' years as advice columnists for the actors' newspaper, Backstage. Using actual questions from aspiring and professional actors, the book covers a wide spectrum of topics, from the basic (headshots, resumes, agents) to the more complex (finances, personal relationships, sticky situations).

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