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 Tom Lee is a director, designer, puppet artist based in Chicago & New York.

RESUME

BIOGRAPHY

Puppetry

My interest in puppetry began in Hawai’i in high school when I performed in a bunraku-style puppet adaptation of Momotaro the Peach Boy at the University of Hawai’i, Hilo.  My work involves figurative puppetry inspired by Japanese traditional puppetry as well as the use of projection, shadows and live feed video of manipulated objects.

Sounding the Resonant Path _ Illustration by KT Shivak
Sounding the Resonant Path – 2020 Pesta Boneka International Puppet Theater Festival
The Steadfast Tin Soldier directed by Mary Zimmerman. Design by Tom Lee with Chicago Puppet Studio
TOMTE – 2018-2021, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, NY State Puppet Festival, La MaMa ETC
PetersenPortrait
Saggitarius Ponderosa at NAATCO. 2016
Hoplite Diary
Hoplite Diary – La MaMa – 2003
AreTheyEdible
Are They Edible by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew.
Pinocchio at House Theatre Chicago 2019
The Return – 2015 Sarah Lawrence College and Seoul Institute of the Arts _Photo Jinyoul Lim.
Scarlet Ibis by Stefan Wesiman and David Cote _ HERE Arts Center 2015

Performance

I trained at Carnegie Mellon University for acting, though most of my current performance work includes puppetry.  Here are some of those projects:

Пиковая дама (QUEEN OF SPADES)
Puppetry by Green Ginger. Original production Richard Jones. Opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Lyric Opera Chicago 2020.

LA DIVINA CARICATURA
Written and Directed by Lee Breuer.  La MaMa Experimental Theater, NY.

WAR HORSE
Original Broadway Cast at Lincoln Center Theater, NY.  Directed by Tom Morris and Marianne Elliot.  Puppetry by Hand Spring Puppet Company.

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MADAMA BUTTERFLY
Directed by Anthony Minghella at Metropolitan Opera. Opera by Giaccomo Puccini.  Puppetry by Blind Summit Theater.

LE GRAND MACABRE
Directed by Doug Fitch at Avery Fisher Hall. Opera by Gyorgy Ligeti. Puppetry by Giants Are Small.

DISFARMER
Designed and directed by Dan Hurlin at St. Ann’s Warehouse and on tour.

Disfarmer by Dan Hurlin - photo by Richard Termine
Disfarmer by Dan Hurlin – photo by Richard Termine

HIROSHIMA MAIDEN
Designed and directed by Dan Hurlin at St. Ann’s Warehouse and on tour.

PETRUSHKA
By Basil Twist. On tour in Boston

Teaching

Tom Lee has taught workshops & master classes in puppet manipulation at Lincoln Center Theater, Rutgers University, Fordham University, Northwestern University, The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts, The Rhodopi International Theater Collective (Bulgaria), Naropa University, Links Hall, Hunter College, Metropolitan Opera, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Catapult Program, The University of Houston, The University of Hawai’i, Movement Theater Studio NYC, CultureHub/Seoul Institute for the Arts and Sarah Lawrence College.  He was a faculty member teaching theater design with a focus on puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College from 2005 – 2016. Mr. Lee was the 2017-18 Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Visiting Artist at Northwestern University.

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS… coming soon!

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Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto
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Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare

SHANK’S MARE

<< Le Sabre et la Comète >> << The Sword and the Comet >>

7 PERFORMANCES ONLY.  DEC 14-22, 2019.  PARIS, FRANCE.

Saturday, December 14 (2 performances) de 18:00

Sunday, December 15 de 16:00

Wednesday, December 18 de 15:00

Thursday, December 19 de 20:00

Saturday, December 21 de 18:00

Sunday, December 22 de 16:00

click below for tickets

Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac

37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris

kuruma ningyō workshops on December 19 & 21

SHANK’S MARE

to open the 2019 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY at The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Thursday January 17, 2019 at 7 pm

Friday January 18, 2019 at 7 pm

Saturday January 19, 2019 at 11 am followed by a public puppetry workshop

Saturday January 19, 2019 at 6:30 pm

TICKETS ON SALE NOW at ChicagoPuppetFest.org

“You simply won’t see better puppetry anywhere nor a tighter braiding of methods old and new nor artists working so confidently at the peak of their craft.”

 Helen Shaw, TIME OUT NY

SHANK’S MARE Hawai’i Tour 2017

Yara Arts Group is excited to announce the 2017 Hawai’i tour of Shank’s Mare, a collaborative puppet performance by Hawai’i-raised, American puppet artist Tom Lee and Japanese traditional puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V.  This beautiful and detailed production combines Japanese traditional puppetry, live video projection of miniature sets and a haunting score on hammered dulcimer and Japanese shamisen and flute.  After a sold-out premiere in New York in 2015, Shank’s Mare toured to Japan in 2016 and North America in 2017.

The Hawai’i tour includes a pre-tour of libraries throughout the State of Hawai’i, introducing communities and audiences to the kuruma ningyō tradition.

Shank’s Mare 2017 Hawai’i Tour dates

9/23  Parley Kanaka’ole gymnasium, Hana, Maui    6:30 pm  FREE

9/25  Lāna`i Community Center (Old Bowling Alley), Lanā’i City, Lāna’i    6:30 pm  FREE

9/27   Moloka`i High School Cafeteria, Ho`olehua, Moloka`i    6:30 pm FREE

9/29 Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theatre  7:30 pm  Tickets $12 – $55

10/1 Pearl City Cultural Center, O’ahu   2:00 pm  Tickets $10 – $25

10/4 UH Hilo Performing Arts Center, Big Island         7:30 pm  Tickets $15 – $25

10/6 Kahilu Theatre, Kamuela, Big Island          7:00 pm  Tickets $20 – $40

TICKET INFORMATION

For Hana, Lana’i, and Moloka’i, please call: Kahulu Maluo, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, 808-243-4269, tickets: FREE

For Maui Arts & Cultural Center, please call:808-242-SHOW (7469)

For O’ahu, please call:(808) 956-7221

For UH Hilo, please call:(808) 932-7490

For Kahilu Theatre, Kamuela please call:(808) 885-6868

Shank’s Mare Hawai’i Library Tour (FREE!)

with workshops in the kuruma ningyõ technique

9/15 Kahuku Public Library, O’ahu   11:00 am

 9/16 Kahului Public Library, Kahului, Maui      2:00 pm

9/17 Kaneohe Public Library, Kaneohe, O’ahu   1:00 pm

9/17 Mililani Hongwanji, Mililani, O’ahu          4:00 pm

9/18 Lihue Public Library, Lihue, Kaua’i           5:30 pm

9/19 Hilo Public Library, Hilo, Big Island            1:00 pm

9/19 Kailua-Kona Public Library, Kailua-Kona, Big Island    5:00 pm

9/20 Moloka’i Public Library, Kaunakakai, Moloka’i                3:00 pm

9/21 Lāna’i Public Library, Lāna’i City       2:00 pm

 

Help support our tour by donating through the Yara Arts Group portal HERE!

SHANK’S MARE U.S. Tour 2017

“You simply won’t see better puppetry anywhere nor a tighter braiding of methods old and new nor artists working so confidently at the peak of their craft.”

 Helen Shaw, TIME OUT NY

Yara Arts Group is excited to announce the 2017 Spring US tour of Shank’s Mare, a collaborative puppet performance by American puppet artist Tom Lee and Japanese traditional puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V, with the support of the Japan Foundation NY.  This beautiful and detailed production combines Japanese traditional puppetry, live video projection of miniature sets and a haunting score on hammered dulcimer and Japanese shamisen and flute.  After a sold-out premiere in New York in 2015, Shank’s Mare toured to Hachioji Icho Hall and the Iida Puppet Festa in Japan in 2016.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Thu, March 30, 2017  7:30 pm

Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta, GA

Sat, April 1 @ 8:00pm & Sun, April 2 @ 7:00 pm, 2017 (traditional puppetry program only)

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI

Fri, April 7 @ 7:00 pm & Sat, April 8 @ 2:00 pm, 2017

Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, TX

Thu & Fri, April 13 & 14, 2017  @ 8:00 pm

The story is about paths crossing. A medieval astronomer and his assistant track a comet across the heavens; a swordsman turns bandit out of grief. All wander up mountains, into snowstorms and eventually, through time. To the sounds of hammer dulcimer and flute, a golden goddess occasionally sends down emissaries, like the enormous wooden stag who fixes the audience with her black gaze. A complicated model set, filmed and projected as live scenery, turns the small room into a cabinet of wonders… Helen Shaw, TimeOut NY

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SHANK’S MARE Japan Tour 2016

Hachioji Icho Hall, August 3 & 4, 2016

2016年 8月3日 3:00 pm August 3, 2016 3:00 pm

2016年 8月3日 7:00 pm August 3, 2016 7:00 pm

2016年 8月4日 3:00 pm August 4, 2016 3:00 pm

Iida Puppet Festa, August 6 & 7, 2016

2016年 8月6日 7:45 pm August 6, 2016 7:45 pm

2016年 8月7日 1:00 pm August 7, 2016 1:00 pm

飯田市公民館ホール 長野県飯田市吾妻町139番地 Iida Kominkan Hall 139 Agatsuma-cho Iida City, Nagano. Zip 395-0085

*Supported by a USArtists International travel grant, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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“You simply won’t see better puppetry anywhere nor a tighter braiding of methods old and new nor artists working so confidently at the peak of their craft.”

TIME OUT NY, November 11,2015

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SHANK’S MARE Premiere New York 2015

Shank's Mare Postcard Front Old Man Star RGB Color Image Adjusted

Created by Tom Lee and Japanese Master Puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V, Shank’s Mare is the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional Kuruma Ningyo puppetry, video projection and live music, the piece explores themes of life and death and how tradition is passed on.  A workshop production at Sarah Lawrence College in April 2014 was followed by a World Premiere at La MaMa in 2015 and tour to Japan.

TheLesson
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AstrolabeSanbaso

SHANK’S MARE 2014 Workshop – Sarah Lawrence College

ShanksMareTelescope1
Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – from left: Hye Young Chyun, Josh Rice, Gabrielle Schutz, Niva Alush, CB Goodman

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photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – Koryu Nishikawa V

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photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – from left: Josh Rice, CB Goodman, Sarah Plotkin

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Shank’s Mare – from left: Koryu Nishikawa V, Josh Rice & Robyn Ralli

ShanksMareOldMan4
photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – from left: Josh Rice and Sarah Plotkin

ShanksMareBoy5
Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – from left: CB Goodman, Sarah Plotkin (obscured), Robyn Ralli

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photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – from left: CB Goodman,  Sarah Plotkin & Koryu Nishikawa V

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Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto

Shank’s Mare – Chris Carcione with live feed environment