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Studio/LAB Artists-In-Residence 2024

 Tommy Francesco 

Tommy Francesco is a multi-hyphenate performing artist based in the Southwest, with an MFA in Theatre for Communities. He works as an actor and director for stage and screen, with a focus on improv comedy and musical theatre. He sings, specializing in musical theatre, sacred, and pop. Tommy is also involved in teaching artistry, emphasizing drama literacy and theater for social change. He prioritizes devising, new work development, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Additionally, he practices makeup artistry and drag under the pseudonym Tommy Girl.

What is at the core of your work?

At the core of my work is a deep interest for archival storytelling and a lifelong fascination with history. I'm drawn to the complexities of humans across time, particularly through the lens of love and identity, informed by my experiences as a gay man who does drag. Whether exploring historical figures or fictional characters, my work focuses on capturing the essence of real people, their joys, struggles, and everything in between.


I'm committed to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ+ people, whose stories are frequently sidelined or erased. I'm drawn to uncovering the narratives of lesser-known individuals, including those deliberately sidelined by institutions like the church I grew up in. My project, ‘Madam Pattirini, the Prophet's Son’ underscores the selective nature of history-telling. My work hopes to be a reminder that every person's story, no matter how overlooked, is valuable, deserving of recognition, and possibly even amusing.

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What is your role as a artist?

As an artist, I see my role as stepping into other people's shoes, or hey, maybe even strutting around in their heels! It's all about empathy to me. I also believe that humor and curiosity are essential, allowing us to connect on a deeper level and hopefully provoke thought with every performance.

As a playwright my aim is writing narratives that resonate with contemporary audiences while honoring the struggles and triumphs of those who've gone before us. I believe musical theater can spark meaningful dialogue on social issues. In essence, my work is a celebration of the power of storytelling to spotlight the human condition and foster connection.

My artistic inspiration comes from Musical Theatre, Vaudeville, Improv comedy, Puppetry, and Drag.

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