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Joseph J. Tomaska Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameJoseph James Tomaska III
Nickname JT
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Joe has made his home there since he was a child. His father, Joe Sr. was a narcotics detective with the CPD, and his mother, Louise, was the granddaughter of the famous restaurant tour Papa Milano. Joe developed his love for acting early in life while spending time on the set of the movie The Sting. At that time, Joe's dad was serving as Robert Redford's bodyguard, and, subsequently, Joe had a window to the amazing world of film making. This experience would have a profound impact on him and would be the impetus for his love of film and theater. Joe would eventually perform in theater through Grammar School and High School. He went on to study theater and film at Southern Methodist University in Dallas,Texas. There he performed in numerous productions including the student film Charlie, which was nominated for a collegiate Academy Award. After College, Joe was excepted into the prestigious Goodman School of Drama's Theater Program at Depaul University. While at Depaul, Joe studied with famed acting coach Bella Itkin.

In 1988, (through a mutual friend) Joe met a relatively unknown actor named Ben Stiller. Ben was in Chicago shooting the movie Next of Kin and pitched Joe and his brother Tony on producing a short film called Elvis Stories. The short would contain a series of vignettes about people who thought they had scene Elvis Presley alive. Packed with future stars Mike Myers, John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Andy Dick, Ron Dean, and Stiller, Elvis stories was a commercial success. In the fall of 1989, Joe and his brother formed Magnificent Mile Productions and produced the feature film Desire. This film was a drama centering around the day to day lives of professional dancers from The American Ballet Theater. It starred famed dancer Johan Renvall and gained critical acclaim. Joe's third venture in producing would be the film Shaking the Tree. The film dealt with the complex relationships of three couples and starred Courtney Cox, Arye Gross, Gale Hansen, Doug Savant, and Christina Haag- Joe also played a role in the film. The film was released theatrically and was praised by film critic Roger Ebert.

After several years of producing films Joe was excited to get back to his love of acting. In the summer of 1993 in Chicago, Joe began writing, producing, directing, and starring in the Broadway hit show Tony N' Tina's Wedding. He and his brother Tony would go on to produce the show there for seventeen years. Tony N' Tina's Wedding would eventually become the longest running show in the history of Chicago theater. In 1996, Joe produced and starred in a spin off of Tony N' Tina's Wedding called Joey N' Gina's Wedding. The show premiered in London's West End and ran for one year. After London Joe appeared in several films including: The Watcher with Keanu Reeves and James Spader, Back by Midnight with Rodney Dangerfield and Kirstie Alley, The Order with Charlton Heston, Top of the World with Dennis Hopper, Submarines with Jim Davidson, and Hard Cash with Val Kilmer.

In the year 2000, Joe and his brother realized a dream by opening The Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA). Built as multi-venue entertainment complex the CCPA houses a 500 seat main stage, a 250 seat studio, a 200 seat comedy cabaret, and a 100 seat black box theater. The CCPA features a school of music, a casting center, acting programs for all ages, and extensive community outreach programs. Over the years, the CCPA has sponsored/produced over 200 original productions, classic plays, and musicals. Through its production offices and rehearsal spaces the CCPA has housed such films as: The Lake House with Sandra Bullock, Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, The Weather Man with Nicolas Cage, and Stolen Summer with Bonnie Hunt. Original productions at the CCPA include: The Exonerated directed by Bob Balaban with Richard Dreyfus, Danny Glover, and MIke Farrell, Miracle on 34th Street directed by David Cromer with Tracy Letts, The Blues Brothers Musical Review produced by Judy Belushi Pisano, Congo Square's Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, The Jeff Award winning Orson's Shadow directed by Austin Pendleton, and Tony award winner Passing Strange. The CCPA also has theaters in residence which includes the much hailed Congo Square Theater and the award winning Bailiwick Theater. In 2001, at the CCPA, Joe had the great honor of directing Charlton Heston and his wife Lydia in the Broadway hit Love Letters. Some Acting credits for Joe at the CCPA include: Bolingbroke in Richard II, The Narrator in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thomas Mara in Miracle on 34th Street, and Weston in Curse of The Starving Class. To this day, through Joe and his brother's guidance, the CCPA remains committed to nurturing artists of all races, cultures, languages, and backgrounds.

In the year 2006, Joe and his brother teamed up with John Malkovich and his company Mr. Mudd to produce the feature film Drunkboat. In the film Malkovich plays a homeless veteran with PTSD who tries to reconnect with his family after a lengthy estrangement. Strong supporting roles by John Goodman (Fletcher), Dana Delany (Eileen), and newcomer Jakob Zachar (Abe) aided in Drunkboat's theatrical release in the summer of 2012. Along with his producing duties, Joe also served as the films music and story editors. In 2010, Joe returned to his passion for acting by starring along side Josh Lukas in the thriller Little Murder. Set in post Katrina New Orleans, Tomaska (Sandoval) and Lukas (Ben Chaney) track a serial killer played by Terrence Howard - Lake bell and Cary Elwes round out this talented ensemble. The film is set for release in the spring of 2013. Recently, Joe has been writing the screenplay for The Governor, which explores in detail the down fall of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jake Scott

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