What brought you to theater?
I was not what you would call a class clown, but at an early age I was able to make people laugh. I realized that people would actually listen to me, this awkward little shrimp, if I entertained them.
What did 10-year-old Tom think he'd be when he grew up?
My parents would call me upstairs when they had guests to perform Bill Cosby's Noah routine for their guests, so I was thinking I was going to be stand-up comic.
What is the greatest challenge that you anticipate in portraying Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream?
Hmmm...there is so much discovery and change that happens in the rehearsal process. Can I answer this one after rehearsals start?
What do you hope that Shakespeare in the Park fans will take away from A Midsummer Night's Dream?
A damn good time. I want everyone that sees this show to have a friggin' blast.
Who should play you in the feature film of your life?
Me. Just because I want the paycheck that comes with playing a lead in a feature film.
What Shakespeare character do you most resemble?
All the bald ones, and hopefully by the time the summer rolls around I'll most resemble Puck.
What's your superpower?
My superpower is the ability to play trumpet teeth and harmonica mouth with no trumpet or harmonica.
Tragedy, comedy or history?
I love them all. Whichever genre I'm rehearsing is the one I love the most.
Truth or dare?
DARE! I'm an actor --- I'm supposed to take risks.
Boxing. I love the sport and enjoy participating in it on a non-combat level when I get the chance.
More about Tom:
Tom has portrayed various roles, including Leontes in The Winter's Tale, the title role in Macbeth, Feste in Twelfth Night, Caliban in The Tempest; he directed As You Like It. Tom is a member of the theater department faculty at Alverno College. He is a founding producer of Shakespeare in the Park and a member of Actors' Equity.
How much are WE looking forward to this?!
Of course, the show depends upon raising the funds to present it. To sponsor one (or more) of the minimum 2,440 people who will come together in July for the Shakespeare in the Park experience, go here.
While the Frys frolicked in Florence, Tom Reed was doing something less alliterative in the woods of the Northern Kettle Morraine.
Specifically, Tom spent five very chilly days shooting a film called The Coldest Game -- a story of complications on an uncle-nephew hunting trip.
Tom plays Uncle Saul, a hard-faced war vet, who has taken his nephew Ben into the woods for his first hunt. When things go wrong, Saul takes it upon himself to help them escape the dangerous situation they find themselves in.
With temperatures ranging from high-20s to the mid-40s, it was physically demanding. With shots that required multiple takes of sprinting through the woods and snow, it was a draining (but fulfilling) experience.
The filmmakers are two local men, Jordan Larson and Emmanuil Morari, who found their funding from a film producer outside of the state. They are using well-known industrial professionals to help with the post-production, so Tom is particularly excited to see the completed film in its entirety.
Fans of Optimist should look for it on the local film circuit this fall, and at film festivals nationwide. Click through to the film's Facebook page to stay apprised.
Optimist Theatre and BMO Harris Bank to Present 2014 Free Shakespeare in the Park’s Production of “The Winter’s Tale”
MILWAUKEE, WIS. – With great confidence that southeastern Wisconsin will have put the harsh winter of 2013-2014 behind them sufficiently by June to appreciate William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” Optimist Theatre and BMO Harris Bank announce the dates of 2014’s Free Shakespeare in the Park. The romantic comedy will be performed across three weekends: June 13-15, June 19-22 and June 26-29. There will be a media preview on June 12. Shakespeare in the Park will return to COA Youth and Family Centers’ amphitheater in Alice Bertschy Kadish Park for a second year.
The expansion of the season from two weekends to three was made possible, in part, by the organization’s achievement of a $20,000 challenge grant from 2014’s Presenting Sponsor BMO Harris Bank. Though fundraising for the free performances continues, the sponsorship of BMO Harris enables planning for the extended fifth season to proceed.
In addition to announcing the season for Shakespeare in the Park, Optimist Theatre further revealed the casting of “The Winter’s Tale.” The production will be directed by M.L. Cogar, who has been both the Dramaturg and Assistant Director for all four of Shakespeare in the Park’s previous productions.
Cogar is particularly drawn to “The Winter’s Tale” as “a panoramic adventure-romance that showcases some of Shakespeare’s richest language. The story stretches between two fairy tale kingdoms, across the genres of tragedy and comedy…it offers us a jealous king, a wrongly accused queen, a brave princess, a comic shepherd, and a singing thief—in other words, plenty of room for our team of local artists to explore the parallel inventiveness of both performance and production.” The audience, she explains, should “expect clear language and storytelling, evocative movement and music, and technical artistry that celebrates imaginative theater traditions. And puppets.”
The cast for “The Winter’s Tale” includes:
Allie Babich as Perdita
David Bohn in the Ensemble
James Carrington as Dion / Ensemble
Liz Fraglia as Dorcas / Ensemble
David Franz in the Ensemble
Ron Scot Fry as Antigonus
Cassondra Gresl in the Ensemble
Ethan Hall as Florizel
Jeffrey James Ircink as the Shepherd
Ashley Jordan as Mamillius / Ensemble
Mary Kababik as Paulina
Megan Kaminsky as Mopsa / Ensemble
Patrick Lawlor* as Polixenes
Linda Loving in the Ensemble
Brian Miracle as the Clown
Beth Monhollen as Cleomenes
Emmit Morgan as Camilio
Beth Mulkerron* as Hermione / Autolycus
Tom Reed* as Leontes
Genessee Spridco as Emilia
Susan Scot Fry as the Bear
*Member of Actor’s Equity Association
The cast includes the return of several actors from prior seasons of Shakespeare in the Park, alongside a number of Optimist Theatre debuts. Tom Reed, Optimist Theatre Associate Artistic Director and Shakespeare in the Park Producer, as well as the production’s Leontes, is “pretty darned excited to collaborate with this cast and crew. Each of our productions arises from the chemistry of the people we pull together. This cast of local professionals is so multi-talented—we have singers, actors, dancers, musicians—I almost can’t wait for the audience to see the results. We’ll be using all those talents to the best of our Optimistic abilities!”
About “The Winter’s Tale”
Generally believed to have been written later in Shakespeare’s career (1610-1611), “The Winter’s Tale” is a romantic comedy of jealousy and suspected infidelity, revenge, and ultimately, of redemption and reunion. It contains one of the most famous stage directions in English literary history: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” Some speculate that, because the Elizabethan theaters were housed in the same sketchy entertainment district as the “bear baiting” pits, it is possible that one or more performances featured a live bear.
Of further interest to historians, the plot, in which a monarch falsely accuses his consort of adultery, appears to parallel the fall of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII, and may have been an allusion to which the Bard’s audience would have been attuned.
About Optimist Theatre
Optimist Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit theatre company and an affiliate member of UPAF, the United Performing Arts Fund. Free Shakespeare in the Park is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board. In addition to Free Shakespeare in the Park, Optimist Theatre offers interactive educational outreach performances such as “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now.” The organization’s goals include reaching artists and audiences across the economic, ethnic, and experiential landscape by creating art that is accessible to all people. They aspire to educate, entertain, and inspire through creative works of artistic integrity and, in doing so, to serve as a “gateway” theatre experience, bringing new audiences to the arts. To learn more, visit OptimistTheatre.org, or contact Managing Director Susan Scot Fry at SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org or 262/498-5777 or Artistic Director, Ron Scot Fry at RSFry@OptimistTheatre.org or 262/498-9788.
Shakespeare in the Park is also support in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Milwaukee Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, the United Arts Performing Fund, and the Milwaukee County Arts Fund (CAMPAC).