Alumni Profile


Michelle Kafel large

Michelle Kafel

Class of 2004


Major: English

Michelle Kafel had plans to study theatre in New York City when her parents made her an offer that redirected her to Franciscan University.

“[They] basically said, ‘Listen, you can go anywhere you want, but we’ll only pay for Steubenville,’” the 26-year-old actress recalls.

Although Michelle wasn’t initially enthused about going to school in Ohio, the New York state native agreed to visit Franciscan, where her sister, Maria ’99, was already enrolled. She fell in love with the school during an Easter vigil and went on to major in English with a concentration in drama.

She has known since she was about 14 and appeared in a summer theatre production of Damn Yankees that she wanted to be in theatre. “It’s in my blood. It’s in my body. I couldn’t not go into it,” she says.

After leaving Franciscan, Michelle was invited to be part of an intensive, three-month acting/training program in New York City at the Circle in the Square Theatre School. “I jumped at the chance,” she says.

Ultimately, Michelle would like to start a company of artists that produces classics and new works of theatre and music, contributing to the renewal of culture, as a form of evangelization. In the meantime, she continues to pursue work as an actress and vocal performer.

Since arriving in New York, she has worked with the Storm Theatre, a non-profit, off-off-Broadway company, as a producer on several plays, most notably the 2007 Karol Wojtyla Theater Festival. She also co-directed the festival’s Our God’s Brother, and acted in Job. “Putting Wojtyla on Broadway was one of the highlights of my life,” she says.

“I need to impress upon our world—especially our Catholic world—to generously support the arts….This is one of the major ways our culture is going to be evangelized...through art, through image, through beauty. That is how we need to communicate.”

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