Michael was born and raised in Jersey City. During his junior year of high school, he auditioned for New Jersey's Governor's School of the Arts on a lark to get himself out of the house. He was one of 12 students selected across the state. He went on to receive a full scholarship to the Catholic University of America, graduating with a BA in Political Science. During school, he supported himself as a theater carpenter - often building the sets that he would later perform on. Early in his college career, he portrayed Jim O'Connor in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie and The Beast in Beauty and the Beast.