Music was Tommy Newman’s
childhood passion. This love of
music was the driving force behind
his decision to enroll at Troy Uni-
“The reason I came to TROY
was because of the marching band.
I came to an exhibition, and when
the (Sound of the South) hit the
first note of the fanfare, my skin
got goose bumps, and I knew
TROY was where I wanted to go,”
Newman, who played the trumpet,
But Newman couldn’t have pre-
dicted where this path would lead.
During his sophomore year of
college, he found himself involved
in the theater department’s produc-
tion of “The Chorus Line,” and he
was changed forever.
“I was bit by the bug,” Newman
said. “I asked (Adena) Moree if I
could work on original music with
‘Conecuh People.’ I did a score for
that, and I fell in love with the the-
atre. I did music for ‘Godspell.’”
Newman won a national award
for setting music to an original
score to a production of “Anti-
gone,” which changed his career
path and his life.
After graduating from TROY
with a degree in music education
in 2003, Newman went on to earn
his Master of Fine Arts in Musical
Theatrical Writing from New York
University. While at NYU, New-
man wrote two musicals as part of
The first, “Tinyard Hill,” was
produced at the Red Mountain
Theatre in Birmingham and then
nationally. The production of “29”
was presented on Broadway in
2006. Both also were showcased in
the National Alliance of Musical
Now, after working on sev-
eral other productions, Newman
is serving as TROY’s artist in
residence, where he is leading a
production of “Band Geeks,” a
musical he co-wrote that has been
performed by Goodspeed Musicals.
“Band Geeks,” which has been
performed in several locales in
honor of TROY’s 125th birthday
celebration, takes place in a high
school marching band.
“In ‘Band Geeks,’ the band has
a small ensemble and dwindling
funds, and the group is looking for
a way to save the band program
from extinction,” Newman said.
“They are entering into a festival of
champions against bands 20 times
their size in hopes of being able to
save the school.”
The play centers on a cast of
characters, learning to work to-
gether and overcome their pride.
As a “band geek” himself, the play
is endearing to Newman.
“It’s fun, sweet and good-hearted.
I was a band geek, and I loved the
band. It’s a homage to this group
of people who launched me as an
artist. They become family, and
that’s really what it’s all about —
family,” Newman said.
As for the next step, Newman’s
biggest dream is simply to continue
to find passion in what he does.
“I’d love to keep working, writ-
ing and making a living doing what
I love,” he said. “I would love for
a show to go really far, but real-
istically, I just want to keep doing
what I love doing. I love teaching
and would love to continue find-
ing ways to teach. It’s nice to have
ways to reach out and connect with
people,” he said.
Keaton is a graduate assistant in the
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