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Tomé's Professional Statement


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Tomé Cousin - An "interdisciplinary artist", heavily influenced by his eclectic range of creative mentors: Susan Stroman, Martha Clarke, George C. Wolfe, Ruth Maleczeh, Wendell Harrington, Luigi, Fred Rogers, John Weidman, Bertrum Ross, Miquel Goudrou, Hector Mercado, JudithLeifer, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, Hope Clarke, Charles Mee, Pina Bausch, Theo Bleckmann, Blondell Cummings and Meredith Monk, Tomé views the divisions of the performing arts to be artificial. As a result he has molded an award winning international career that includes collaborations in dance, theater, music, film, photography, television and literature. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Dance History and Choreography from Point Park University and a Masters of Fine Art in New Media Art and Performance from Long Island University. Additionally he studied at the Museum of Fine Arts (Baltimore), TheBauhaus School (Dessau, Germany), The Alvin Ailey School of American Dance, and The Martha Graham School.

For nine seasons Tomé appeared as "Ragdoll Tomé" on PBS' award winning children's program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Other television appearances include: Sesame Strasse (Germany), Flitterabend (Germany), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC),
The Rosie O'Donnell Show
(ABC), The Today Show (NBC), The 2000 Tony Awards (CBS),  The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (NBC) and Contact Live From Lincoln Center (PBS - 2003 Emmy Award Best Live Entertainment).

His dance credits include The Physical Theater Project (Co founder /Artistic Director), Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal (Germany), Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Co in collaboration with graffiti artist Keith Haring, Ballett Bern (Switzerland), and The American Dance Ensemble.

As a choreographer Tomé has received 2 fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Vera and Howard Heinz Foundations to complete a full evening dance/theater work Marathons. He has three commissions from the Lambda Foundation for the presentation of his AIDS awareness dance/theater concerts Wakeup parts I, II, III and his multi media collaborations with Squonk Opera. In addition he is the recipient of four Choreographic/Continuum grants and three Dance/Theater fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council the Arts. Mr. Cousin has composed over 70 original dance, theater, musical, new opera, film, installation, and site specific works for performance.

Ragdoll Jump
Tomé as Ragdoll on
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
Tomé has served as the resident director/choreographer for the Theater At Hartwood Acres with productions of Blues in the Night, Cole, Song and Dance, One Mo Time, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, and Ruthless. He has also served as a resident choreographer for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Playhouse Theater Co, and City Theater productions of Miss Evers Boys, The 3 Penny Opera, Freedom Train, Pippin, and Cabaret Verboten.

Tomé has taught all levels of contemporary dance and theater. From 1982-1993 he served as an Associate Professor at his alma mater Point Park University. He has been on the staff of the Alvin Ailey Extension, Ballet Tennessee, Steps NYC, Ballet Centrum (Germany), and served as a movement consultant for the Kahurangi Dance Theater of New Zealand and the prestigious Hungarian National Ballet Academy in Budapest, Hungary. He is a graduate of the teacher training program with the National Dance Institute (NYC) under the direction of Jacques d'Amboise. In the fall of 2001, Tomé was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater Point Park University. In the fall of 2010, Tomé joined the staff of legendary jazz innovator Luigi's school in New York City. He was also invited to conduct a six week jazz choreographic workshop at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City.

Tomé studied voice and drama with Melvin Jordan, Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble and the Elynn Diamond Studio. His theater credits include national tours of Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line (Richie) and Dreamgirls (JamesThunder Early u/s). Off-Broadway credits include Bingo Long and Village Wooing. International credits include Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity (Big Daddy) Switzerland, Tabaluga und Lilli (Germany), and La Cage Aux Folles (Jacob) Germany. Among his many regional credits are My One and Only (Florida Rep.), The Who's Tommy, Chicago, Big River, The Colored Museum, Peter Pan, Jesus Christ Superstar and Jewell Walkers' movement play Tuesday.

As a featured actor he appeared in The Jacksons (An American Dream), a mini-series for ABC television. Tomé was the inspiration for the animated character "Pop Hat" in the Rolling Stone's video The Harlem Shuffle, directed by animators Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi. He also appeared a featured model for Gentlemen's Quarterly Magazine (GQ) Tom Ford for Gucci Fashions, and Rosie O'Donnell's Rosie Magazine (Gap fashions), and served as a model/subject for interdisciplinary photographer John Lucas. He has been a featured performer with Elton John, RuPaul, Culture Club, Human League, Bruce Springsteen, Grace Jones, Sister Sledge and Nona Hendryx. Tomé was also a featured performer in the national ad campaign for Alize aperitif.

Ragdoll Jump
The Susan Stroman and John Weidman musical Contact
(2000 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Choreography)
Tomé was an original cast member of the Susan Stroman and John Weidman musical Contact (2000 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Choreography) at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center. Tomé returned to Broadway in 2002 as a featured vocalist in the 20th Anniversary Dreamgirls Concert and CD recording.

His autobiographical performance piece Some Kinda Wonderful had its premiere at the LGBT Center in New York City in 2003 directed by Danny Herman. His second solo vocal concert Dance Swif Me premiered in October 2004 at the Triad Theater in New York City. In June of 2003 Tomé participated in the vocal/performance workshops with the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble in New York City. Tomé was commissioned by The Family Pride Collation to create and direct the Dance Alive program in Provincetown Massachusetts. He created the role of "Monsieur Chocolat" in Belle Époque written by Charles Mee and directed/choreographed by Martha Clarke again at Lincoln Center (2005 Drama Desk Unique Theatrical Experience Nomination).

In 2007 Mr. Cousin was awarded a research/travel fellowship for his continued investigations of dance theater at the Bauhaus Museum and Archives (Germany). He collaborated with computer animation artist Marjan Moghaddam on a new performance project Unfurling and in October of 2006 Tomé composed a new media film for Franchesca Harper's MODO Fusion Lounge at the Makor Cafe (NYC). 2007 also brought a collaboration with Mabou Mines on the multi-media site specific work A Song for New York performed in concert at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and later aboard a floating barge in the East river in Queens New York.

Currently, Tomé serves as the Directing Supervisor for original director Susan Stroman for her Tony Award winning musical Contact. To date Mr. Cousin has directed five regional productions (Pittsburgh, Norfolk, New York, Boston, Sarasota), and three international companies in Hungary, Korea and Poland. He is the published author of The Total Theater Artist and New Media Performance (2009 Lambert Academic Press). In 2010, Tomé was awarded the SDC Foundation Mike Ockrent Directors Fellowship, for the new John Guare play A Free Man of Color, directed by George C. Wolfe at Lincoln Center Theatre.  In 2011, Tomé was the invited special guest instructor for the 7th annual Little Ladies / Little Gentlemen International Children's Theatre Festival in Ankara, Turkey. Also, in 2011 Tomé was appointed to the full time faculty at Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant professor in the school of drama. In the spring of 2012, he co-authored/co-directed the revival of June Havoc's 1963 play Marathon 33 for the Pittsburgh Playhouse and returned in the fall of 2012 to direct/choreograph The Producers for Susan Stroman Productions. Along with the Chinese premier of Contact in Shanghai, China the 2014 / 2015 season brought the direction of the plays Souvenir and The Wiz, master classes, lectures and direction for the American Dance Machine for the 21st Century in NYC.

2015 / 2016: Principal interviews for his next book The Franklin Project (Interviews, Essays and Articles on Diversity and Non-Traditional Casting for Theater Performance). Direction projects include: Choir Boy at the REP, directing the Chinese premier of the musical Grand Hotel, Directing the LUIGI Benefit concert at Symphony Space NYC, The American Dance Machine for the 21st Century at the Joyce Theatre (NYC), choreographing the Full Monty at Carnegie Mellon University.

2015 / 2016: Direction projects included: The publication of The Franklin Project (Interviews, Essays and Articles on Diversity and Non-Traditional Casting for Theater Performance), The American Dance Machine for the 21st Century at the Joyce Theatre (NYC), CHOIR BOY at the REP, the Chinese premier of the musical GRAND HOTEL, the ALL STAR LUIGI TRIBUTE CONCERT at Symphony Space, NYC, choreographing The Full Monty at Carnegie Mellon University, a return to print fashion modeling as a featured subject for Antonio Marziale’s THE FEMME PRIDE, and a subject for Curtis Reaves / UHIMWE Alliance, MORE THAN MEDIA, MUTE THE STEREOTYPE, exhibition, and the regional premiere of 2017 Oscar Winner Tarrell A. McCraney’s vogue / Harlem Ball culture play WIG OUT! for The REP.

2017 projects included directing RAGTIME at Carnegie Mellon University, the premiere of his collaboration with writer / director Jason Jacobs on their reinvention of the Harriet Beecher Stowe / George Aiken 1858 play UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, directing It’s About Time To Celebrate Andre’ Bishop’s 25 Years At Lincoln Center Theater, directing the Seoul, Korea revival of CONTACT for the OD Musical Company and Susan Stroman Productions, directing SWEENEY TODD for Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and directing THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS at The REP for Susan Stroman Productions.

He is a standing member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and four professional unions - Actors Equity, SAF/AFTRA, SDC, and the Society of Dance History Scholars.
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