Tom Key is dedicated to the Theatrical Art Form as a catalyst to creating community. He has served as Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit since 1995 where his drive to tell “Stories That Stir The Soul” in the heart of downtown with the best artists of the city has developed the company into one of Atlanta’s major performing arts institutions. As an actor, he has appeared in over a 100 productions from off Broadway to Los Angeles and is one of Atlanta’s most celebrated performing artists: Alliance Theater (Art, Grapes of Wrath, Candide, Our Town, A Christmas Carol), The Atlanta Ballet (Peter and the Wolf), The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (The Defiant Requiem and Beethoven’s Egmont), Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater and Arena Stage in Washington DC (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and Theatrical Outfit (Big River Suzi Winner, Young Man From Atlanta Suzi Nominee, Red Suzi Nominee).
He has performed his solo dramatization, C.S. Lewis On Stage, across North America including residencies at Harvard and Yale Universities as well as Oxford University of England. At Theatrical Outfit, he has directed Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate (ArtsATL “Best Production of the 2013-2014 Season), Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys, Hank Williams Lost Highway, Godspell (Suzi Nominee), his adaptation of Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer and Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Seminar, and Cecil Dawkins’ adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s The Displaced Person. His off-Broadway musical hit, Cotton Patch Gospel, which he created, co-authored with the late Harry Chapin, and starred in nationally continues to be one of the most celebrated and produced musicals in the Dramatic Publishing catalogue.
Tom has received The Governor’s Award in the Humanities; the Georgia Arts and Entertainment Legacy Award, Two Dramalogue Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Theater and two Mayoral proclamations for his service to the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta Creative Loafing describes Tom Key as: “An actor with such energy that even standing still, he seems to quiver like a divining rod.”
Lessons from the Show
Tom talked to us about his life in the theater and offered us many wonderful lessons that point us towards an authentic, happy and fulfilling life and career including:
- As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage….” Acting is revealing who I am as appropriate, and masking as appropriate…and we all do it all the time!;
- Just as we attend the theater and listen to the story presented, it’s important we attend the story of life and listen to others;
- Theater cultivates a community of trust and responsibility within and among the players, a culture we would do well to emulate.
- Theater provides us both the lessons and the environment to connect with each other, to connect with the world in which we live, to connect with our very life!
You can contact Tom by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find out more about his craft at The Theatrical Outfit website.
This is episode # 122