Tom Helmer was born in Brooklyn, NY. His family moved to Willingboro, NJ where he was raised and has made the greater Philadelphia, PA area his home base for professional theatre ever since. A graduate of Corpus Christi Roman Catholic School in Willingboro and Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ.
During his high school years, he attended the Shenandoah Summer Theatre Camp in 1980 where his love for musical theater took wing under Hal Herman’s guidance. He earned his Bachelor of Music – Music Theatre from Shenandoah University. With further encouragement from Hal and Mac Bozman, Tom continued his theatre studies with the Hilberry Repertory Theatre at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, earning his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre.
In Detroit, he acquired his Actors’ Equity Association membership when he was cast as Moony Shapiro in the imported British musical Songbook at the Attic Theatre. He moved back to NJ in fall of 1991 as the burgeoning professional theatre scene in Philadelphia was taking shape. Acting credits in 20 productions at Equity theatres include Storybook Musical Theatre, Foundation Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Oldcastle Theatre Company and the Walnut Street Theatre.
In the mid-1990s, Tom began a dual career as an AEA stage manager at Foundation Theatre. And as of 2018, he has stage managed over 90 productions at Equity theatres in Philadelphia and across the country. He recently completed his 9th season at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Theatres such as Philadelphia Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company, Actors Shakespeare Project in Boston, Weston Playhouse in Vermont and association with productions such as George Gershwin Alone by Hershey Felder have brought great fulfillment in providing support behind the scenes.
For many years, Tom served as chairman of the Philadelphia area AEA Liaison Committee. He proudly served the national membership of AEA when he was elected to the National Council of AEA from 2004-2009, 2011-2012.
Tom will always be grateful for the support provided by many wonderful teachers at Shenandoah to help him pursue a life in the theatre.