Most Valuable Players
A Guide to Austin Stage Actors
On the scene since: 1984
MVP for: State Theater Company
Recent Roles: Bellomy, The Fantasticks, Austin Playhouse, 2001; Owen, Light Up the Sky, Austin Playhouse, 2001; Senex, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, 2000; Peck, How I Learned to Drive, Subterranean Theatre Co./State Theater Co., 2000; various, Spring Storm, Actors Repertory of Texas, 1999; Alfred Doolittle, My Fair Lady, State, 1999; Otto Frank, Diary of Anne Frank, Austin Theatre for Youth, 1999.
Honors: Critics Table John Bustin Award for "conspicuous versatility," 1998; Critics Table nomination, My Fair Lady; Payne nomination, Annie; Critics Table & Payne nominations, I'm Not Rappaport.
If it's decency you want in a theatrical character, then Tom Parker's your man. The basic goodness that courses through this amiable, honest, most generous actor shines through in virtually all his portrayals. It makes him an unusually sympathetic and honorable figure on stage, whether he's a warm and wise playwright, as in Light Up the Sky, a jaunty FDR, as in Annie, or, in one of his signature roles, a poor Russian adrift in Texas, as in The Immigrant. It gives even his rascals -- say, My Fair Lady's Doolittle -- a patina of sweetness. Where some performers cringe at the designation "character actor," Parker wears it as a badge of honor, relishing the opportunity to alter his gait, voice, gestures, appearance in pursuit of his art. It's what helped make him a longtime favorite of director Don Toner -- who praises Parker as "a chameleon" and "fearless" -- and of audiences all over.