Michael Patrick Thornton is the Artistic Director of The Gift Theatre and a Jeff Award winning actor. A graduate of The School at Steppenwolf, The Second City Conservatory, and The Second City Directing Program, Michael has trained at the iO Improv Program and under Mick Napier at Annoyance Theatre and occasionally teaches at Second City, The School at Steppenwolf, and Columbia College. He regularly improvises with Natural Gas, with Susan Messing in Messing With A Friend / Thornton & Messing, and with Kirby Longbrake in Mike & Kirby and Jillian Burfete in Thornton & Burfete at Second City.
As a writer, Michael’s plays have been workshopped in New York through Young Playwrights, Inc. and in Chicago through Second City. His play The Princess And The Bear was published in Third Coast. He is a proud staff writer for “The Paper Machete.”
Awards/distinctions: Tree of Life Award: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; Chicago Finalist: National Shakespeare Contest (Mitzi-Newhouse Theatre; Lincoln Center); 3Arts Artist Award; Northlight Theatre’s Jack Springer Award for Outstanding Performance; The Tim Meier & Helen Coburn Meier Foundation Achievement Award, The Second City Foundation’s Jim Zulevic Chicago Arts Award, The Joseph Jefferson Award for Solo Performance and induction into The St. Patrick High School Hall of Fame.
Michael played Dr. Gabriel Fife on ABC’s Private Practice. He lives blissfully in Chicago with his wife, performance artist Lindsey Barlag Thornton.