WordTheatre Presents: Author John Edgar Wideman Reading
Tommie was asked to perform in a stage reading of John Edgar Wideman's work at Chapman University, directed by Cedering Fox. He had a private training session with Fox who assisted Tommie in bringing out the nuances of each piece based on her own personal and professional relationship with Wideman. He was also fortunate enough to work alongside acting professionals Roger Guenveur Smith and Gary Dourdan.
On Stage With 'Stranger Things' Creators The Duffer Brothers
Matt and Ross Duffer, creators of the Netflix Original Series 'Stranger Things', were honored with the 2017 Alumni Achievement Award during the university's 36th annual black-tie fundraising gala. Tommie plays the role of a college-aged Lucas as the trio is sent through a time portal landing them smack-dab in the middle of the Duffer Brothers' acceptance speech. Shocked after coming face to face with their creators , they are forced to work together to get the boys back to the 80's in time for season 3. Not only was Tommie afforded the opportunity to work alongside the Duffer Brothers, but he was also fortunate enough to attend a master class led by the duo.
Sundance Ignite Finalist ' Mile Down Lake Street'
Project 1324 and Sundance Institute teamed up for a short film challenge to find bold new voices in the next generation of filmmakers. Mile Down Lake Street is a short story about Rane, a young black man on his way to pick up weed from a classmate, but is unexpectedly stopped by his drug dealer's mother who mistakenly reverses the roles and accuses Rane of selling drugs to her son. The film earned itself a finalist position, being chosen along side twenty-four other films out of the 350 submitted worldwide.
This production of Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel was guest directed by Dr. Jaye Williams and was the first main stage production in Chapman's history to be mainly comprised of African American actors. Playing the lead role of George Armstrong was no easy feat for Tommie. In addition to staying on top of his studies and spending hours every night rehearsing, Tommie used his free time working with dialect coach, Tamiko Washington, to perfect the character's Southern drawl used for the first half of the show then transitioning into a thick Barbadian accent for the second half.
"Tommie Russell's performance as George Armstrong is excellent. The letters are romantic and Russell narrates them perfectly."
-The Orange Curtain Review