Tom Oppenheim

Artistic Director

In his position as Artistic Director and President of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, 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) and Anton Chekhov’s major plays among 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. He spearheaded the creation of the Harold Clurman Art Series which has presented artists including Cornel West, Donna Murphy, John McWhorter, Joanna Gleason, Ron Carter, Harold Bloom, Edward Albee, John Ashbery, Julianne Moore and Harold Mabern in events that are free and open to the public. The Studio’s Harold Clurman Festival of the Arts explores the relationship between art and social activism through public events; participants have included Sonia Sanchez, Olara Otunno, Zlata Filipovic, Ishmael Beah, Anne Bogart, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Medavoy, Wallace Shawn and Phylicia Rashad. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr’s vision for a “beloved community”, under Tom’s leadership the Stella Adler Arts Justice Division was created. Since 2004, Arts Justice has provided free theater training to over 15,000 severely underserved New Yorkers. Tom co-edited The Muses Go To School (New Press 2012) and his writing is featured in Arthur Bartow’s Training of the American Actor (TCG, 2006). As a result of his 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.

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