Profiles

Tom Oppenheim

Artistic Director

In his position as Artistic Director and President of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting for over 15 years, Tom has articulated a mission, engaged top faculty, structured a world-class training program and created a cultural center. Tom originated the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company in 2002 which has since presented over twenty productions including eleven world premieres. In addition to producing all of the Lab’s plays, Tom also directed As You Like It by William Shakespeare (with Steve Cook), Songs and Statues, by Peter Nickowitz (world premiere), Our Town by Thornton Wilder, What Shall I Give My Children? by Don K. Williams (world premiere) and others. Tom created MAD (the Harold Clurman Center for New Works in Movement and Dance Theater) a dance theater company that has presented over thirty new works, the majority of which were commissioned world premieres, and which includes Margie Gillis, Bill T. Jones and Mikhail Baryshnikov on the advisory board. Tom spearheaded the creation of the Harold Clurman Art Series which has presented artists including Harold Bloom, Edward Albee, John Ashbery, Julianne Moore and Harold Mabern in events that are free and open to the public. The Studio’s annual Harold Clurman Festival of the Arts explores the relationship between art and social activism in a week-long presentation of discussions and performances; participants have included Gordon Davidson, Derek Walcott, Olara Otunno, Zlata Filipovic, Ishmael Beah, Anne Bogart, Whoopi Goldberg, Giandomenico Picco, Jonathan Demme, Mike Medavoy, Wallace Shawn and Phylicia Rashad. A 2009 Festival event inspired a book that Tom co-edited with Herb Kohl; The Muses Go To School will be published by New Press in 2012. Under Tom’s leadership the Stella Adler Outreach Division, a program designed to educate urban youth, was created. Since 2004, Outreach has provided free theater training to over 2,000 low income New York City public school students. In addition the Stella Adler Studio of Acting trains over 500 actors per year. As a result of Tom’s vision the Studio has evolved from an acting conservatory to a cultural center with a unique focus in American actor training. Students are encouraged to not only be well versed in theater, art, music and literature, but to also be conscious of and involved in social, humanitarian and political issues.

Tom studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory and with his grandmother, Stella Adler. Acting credits include the title role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as Michael in Buzz McLaughlin’s Sister Calling My Name, both with the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company. Jambalaya’s productions of Othello as Iago, and Featuring Loretta; Henry IV, Part 1 and Macbeth at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Henry VI, Part I, II, III at Theater for a New Audience, Juana Queen of Spain at EST, Bound East for Cardiff at The Provincetown Playhouse, Romeo and Juliet at the Mint Theater, Comparing Books at the Producer’s Club. Film credits include Mike Nichols’ Wolf, Art Jones’ Going Nomad and Dodgeball and Deborah Kampmeier’s Virgin and Hound Dog. TV credits include Sydney Lumet’s TV series, 100 Center Street.