Thomas W. Jones III
Tom has written more than two dozen plays, many of them musicals. These include Ladies Swing the Blues, Blackberry Dayz, Billie’s Song (Reuben Cannon Entertainment), Cool Papa’s Party, Bricktop, Love Johnny, Holler, Three Sistahs, Two Queens One Castle, Harlem Rose, Slam, Birth of the Boom, Bessie’s Blues, Voices in the Rain, Every Now and Then I Get the Feelin’, The Prophet (adapted), Mad Hearts, Still Life, Le Corp N’est Pas Mort. Several of these works were produced at Metro Stage under Carolyn Griffin, where he also performed his solo work, The Wizard of Hip. It’s at Metro Stage where members of Alliance for New Music-Theatre began following his work.
He joined Alliance for New Music-Theatre in spring of 2019 to direct Frank Higgins’ play Black Pearl Sings! and collaborated with the team to develop workshops through this Library of Congress pilot model, serving the students of Duke Ellington.
As a company member, Tom will be developing new works for the company as both Writer and Director.
While it is hard to pin down the man with such prodigious talent and restless energy, he continues to maintain an important presence in the local DC scene. His work has received 48 Washington DC Helen Hayes Award nominations winning 15 awards, including Best Director for Samm Art Williams’ Home and his own Bessie's Blues. He has also received 3 New York Audelco Award nominations, the Dramalogue Award, the San Diego Critics Award, NAACP Phoenix Award, among others.
Tom has played a major role in developing the fertile landscape that is African-American theatre today. In 1978, Tom founded Jomandi Productions, where, as Co-Artistic Director and Producing Director, Tom led Jomandi to become the third largest African-American theatre company in the United States. There he showcased established artists and developed new wemerging talent for over to decades.
In 2000, Tom and his co-founders left Jomandi to create the entertainment company VIA International Artists, Inc. and subsequently a musical theatre company VIA Theatrical.
Tom’s musical Cool Papa’s Party completed a workshop in New York with Wayne Brady. He recently directed Kandi Burress’ musical A Mother’s Love, Only Just a Minute and Mary Honey B. Morrison’s play Single Husbands.
Tom is also an exemplary educator and has conducted workshops and residencies for university and high school students, including most recently leading workshops for five weeks at the Teen Arts Academy Summit, directing in residence at the University of Western Georgia, directing and teaching at George Mason University (Advanced Directing for Musical Theater and Devised Works), and at Duke Ellington where he directed Lanford Wilson’s Rhymers of Eldritch and taught master classes.
Tom holds a BA from Amherst College where he graduated cum laude.