Michael Patrick Thornton

Actor / Director / Artistic Director

Michael Patrick Thornton is a Joseph Jefferson Award-winning, Chicago-based actor, improvisor, and writer. He’s also the Artistic Director & co-founder of The Gift Theatre located in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood. Michael was most recently seen in Lookingglass’ Title And Deed and in Colossal at Olney Theatre. In addition to assistant directing Steppenwolf’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning August: Osage County, he has several directing credits, including The Gift’s War of the Worlds, and a lengthy list of acting credits, including Iago in Othello and a role in the world premiere of Hinderaker’s Jeff-Nominated Dirty (both at The Gift).


A graduate of The School at Steppenwolf, The Second City Conservatory, and The Second City Directing Program, Michael trained at the iO Improv Program, under Mick Napier at Annoyance Theatre, and occasionally teaches at Second City, Acting Studio Chicago, Black Box, and Columbia College. He regularly improvises with Susan Messing in Messing With A Friend / Thornton & Messing. Michael has also appeared in television and film roles, including ABC’s Private Practice, FOX’s The Chicago Code, and Ron Howard’s The Dilemma.