Tom was born Thomas James Shaker on August 13, 1952, to Mary KatherineChristopher Shaker (daughter of Italian immigrants) and Mitchell Francis Shaker (son of Lebanese immigrants) in the town of Niles, Ohio. He is the fifth of eight children.
He scored the lead role in his kindergarten play Frosty the Snowman and never looked back.
Throughout his 12-year parochial education, Tom mixed high academic marks with countless arts, sports, and student government activities. This culminated with his becoming a participant, then counselor and finally consultant to the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) and its affiliates in Ohio (OASC) and Pennsylvania (PASC). Tom also was selected and participated in the Buckeye Boys State leadership conference sponsored by the State of Ohio. He continued these activities as he prepared for undergraduate school.
Entering Kent State University in September 1970, Tom immediately became involved with activities surrounding the tragic campus shootings the previous May 4. He was a founding member of the Candlelight Vigil Committee and continued to work with the Centre for Peaceful Change.
From 1970-74, Tom produced many theatrical works off campus while performing in university theatre department plays. He was inducted into three honoraria and given the Senior Service Award. Tom graduated with countless student activity, government and Arts credits highlighted by his work as the publisher for the Chestnut Burr Yearbook and Kent Stater Campus Newspaper.
Tom earned his AEA Actors’ Equity Association Card (the union for professional stage actors) in the summer of 1974 as the third cowboy from the left in Oklahoma and fourth Buddhist from the right in The King and I.
He was accepted to Akron University Law School, attending in the fall of 1974. But, the draw to the arts was too strong and he left law school to continue his main pursuit, the stage.
Tom spent 1975 as a teaching consultant for the Portage County Schools, filming and coaching teachers on classroom presentation and speaking techniques.
He began his Masters Degree program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, autumn, 1976. Again Tom graduated with high marks and a series of honors in spring, 1978, most notably serving as President of the Michigan Union. He also worked on a graduate school scholarship as a counselor in the University Admissions Office.
Tom simultaneously spent those years in Ann Arbor battling Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of lymphatic cancer that warranted his regular sessions of MOPP Chemotherapy throughout his academic tenure at the U of M.
With diploma in hand and a clean bill of health, Tom moved to Detroit and spent twelve years distinguishing himself as an actor, director, producer and Edu-Tainer. He earned union membership in Screens Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Announcers (AFTRA). His countless commercial, industrial and film credits included national spots for General Motors, the voice for Cadillac and a role in Beverly Hills Cop with Eddie Murphy.
He also formed his production company, staging dozens of musicals including Fiddler on The Roof, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma…and touring schools with creative interpretations of classic works from Shakespeare to Aesop to Dickens.
His Edu-Tainment company created an improvisational concept called Storybuilding where student stories and ideas were brought to life before the entire school assembly of their peers, thus building creative writing interest, literacy skills, and self-esteem.
He even developed a school outreach program for McDonalds Corporation and actually portrayed the character Ronald McDonald for the dozen years he spent in Detroit. He also served as a board member for The Ronald McDonald Houses (RMC) in both Ann Arbor and Detroit and was a consultant to Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities (RMCC) at Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Illinois.
Broadway had always been beckoning. In 1991, Tom moved to NYC and spent another decade in countless film, television, theatre and Edu-Tainment projects. Productions included Law and Order, Ransom, 15 Minutes, Die Hard III and a critically acclaimed showcase of his original musical Birdsville ,(adapted from the Aristophanes farce), staged at the Kauffman Theatre on 42nd Street.
In 2000, Tom travelled to Rome, Italy in search of his Italian heritage. A two-week vacation turned into a change of continents and he is now a dual citizen commuting between The Eternal City and The Big Apple.
He is Dottore Shaker in Italy, Director of Performing and Visual Arts Education, consulting at Sapienza Roma I University and Link Campus University. He is also a member of the USO committee in Rome, serves as a volunteer warden for the American Embassy, and is a past president of the American International Club of Rome (AICR).
He has spent countless hours on various sets and sound stages including Cinecitta, “Hollywood on the Tiber”.
Mel Gibson selected Tom for the role of Eyepatch in The Passion of the Christ. Then, the Cinecitta Jerusalem of Gibson became the Roman Forum for HBO and Tom was cast for recurring appearances in the drama mini-series, Rome. He is the Court Lictor in the episode titled Spoils.
In Italy, Tom is writing his books, At Home in Rome, 24 Hours in… and Italy with Tom Shaker. He is scouting for his documentary
Film Kissa Grandpa and producing/singing an album of new jazz standards with his band, “Tom and the Cats”, featuring his original tunes, Bella Roma and Italiano-Americano.
He has produced and recorded the album, Giggin’ with God, in the Vatican City studios.
Tom has completed principal photography for the first fifteen episodes of his
International media project, Where in the World with Tom Shaker, Rome 360º, the Churches. He has completed the pilot for his wine series, In Vino Veritas, as well.
In Paris, France, Tom co-wrote, shot and starred in the TV series, Forget About It (Fugedaboudit), the story of a bar/diner owner and his screwy clientele. The show was accepted and showcased at the Hollywood Film Festival in December 2012.
Works in Progress include:
- In Vino Veritas / 30-minute episode series about wines of the world
- 24 hours in… / a look at Piazza, Square and Centers around the Globe
- Post Production, Rome 360º, Season I
- Pre-Production, Season II, Rome 360º, March 2013
- Episode and distribution development for Forget About It
2016 will see the completion of his latest screenplays, The Siege of Malta and Roma Rewrite.
Finally, Tom keeps busy in Italy lecture-guiding friends, colleagues, and referrals around the entire boot and islands.
C/V Tom Shaker www.TomShaker.com / ShakerTom@gmail.com
Member / SAG, AEA, AFTRA, SIAE, UFT, USO
- Create and direct a resident professional theater company
- Build an international multi-media communications network
- Present international creative projects to the global village
- Enhance literacy and self-esteem through “EDUTAINMENT” curricula
- Teach drama, literature, technology, production and video/film/web
- Supervise mentoring, internship and employment for students
- Produce theatrical, film, television, radio and Internet works
- Write and publish books, articles, scripts, songs and scores
- Perform and record selected works
Completed International PAVE Curricula (Performing and Visual Arts Education) Model
Developed Streaming Version of Vino Veritas for Broadcast
Created Cuisine Series Pilot with Local Chefs and Celebrities in Orlando
Author, Complete Screenplay, Queen of the Boiler Room
Collaborated with Nick Pileggi (Casino / Goodfellas)
Director, Author and Host / Rome 360º The Churches
An episodic series looking at the 360 churches located in the Roma Centro
Director, Author and Host / Vino Veritas / Wine from Around the World
Who makes it? Who presents it? Who enjoys it?
Artistic Director, 3 Amici Studios, Rome, Hollywood and Boca Raton Florida
International Full Service Production Studio working in 40 Languages
All mediums, pre to post
Author and Director / Rome, the First 3000 Years http://www.Rome3000.Blogspot.com
Creator and Host / Italy with Tom Shaker http://www.ItalyWithTomShaker.com
Guide Wars / Tour Battles International Edu-Tainment Game Show
Fugedaboutdit (Forget About It) / TV-Internet Comedy Show “Set” in NYC, “Shot” in Paris at an “Irish” Pub
The King and The Pope / Feature Film about the Papal Visit of John Paul II to Norway
http://www.InternationalImaginationInstitute.com USA 501(c) 3 NonProfit
Imagination Institute in Italy http://www.iiitaly.com Image, Instruction, Itineraries
Web TV Italy http://www.WebTvItaly.com Everything Italian online and Free for All
- Founding Artistic Director / international non-profit corporation (Partita Iva #08033741003)
- CEO of Studio Colosseo Pre to Post Production Facility, a division of iiitaly.com
- Author and recording artist for audio and video guides
- Author-Performer, Rome, the 1st 3000 years, one-man musical salute to the Eternal City
- Lecture-guide and guide trainer
- Producer and Lead Singer Tom and His “Cats” Jazz, Blues and Standards Band
- Creator and Author Rome-Mania Series of articles and soon to be published book
- Coordinator, International Jazz Workshop with Barry Harris
- Keynote Speaker, E-Factor Leadership Seminar, Paris
2006 HBO ROME – Episode 11 “Spoils” / Character-Court Lictor
2004 Passion of the Christ – Mel Gibson / Character-Eyepatch
- Board Member, USO Rome
- President, AICR, American International Club of Rome, 2003-4
- Short stories and articles: clients include Continental Airlines, Al Italia, Shearman Law Firm
- Author of original lyrics for songs, “Family”, “Falling Down” and “Italiano-Americano”
- Member of SIAE (Union for Authors and Composers in Italy)
- Voice Artist, dubbing, original productions Disney, RAI, Mediaset, King World, HBO…
- Writer, voice artist and producer for “Amazing History”, 65 episodes, RAI 3 International
- Jazz and Blues Singer/Composer / Clients include Ambassadors Mel Sembler and Tony
Hall, St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rose Garden Palace Hotel, Grand Palace Hotel, Palazzo
Borghese, Quirinale Palace, American Women’s Association, Rome, Commune di Frascati
- Marketing Director of Vatican Tours and Beyond – Tour and Transfer Company
- English conversation tutor to Senator Montecone of the Italian Parliament and Professor
Luciano Caglioti, Roma Uno University
1978-2006, The Storybuilders
- CEO and founder of this international production company that has Film, Television,
Industrial, Theatre and Trade Show credits / Past clients include GM, Ford, Chrysler,
AT & T, American Express, Michigan Bell, AAA, Dominos Pizza, Coca Cola…
- Signatory and member of Screens Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television
and Radio Announcers (AFTRA) and Actors Equity Association (AEA)
- Member, The Adcraft Club of Detroit
1979-1990, McDonalds Corporation
- Developed Local Store Marketing campaigns for SEMMOA (South-Eastern Michigan
McDonalds Owner-Operator Association)
- Created POP (Point of Purchase) outreach programs to public schools / Directed the Ronald
McDonald Field Program under the supervision of the RAM (Regional Ad Manager)
- Collaborated with client advertising agencies (Ex. Ross Roy, J. Walter Thompson, Campbell Ewald, Satchi and Satchi)
- Consultant at Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Il.
- Board member of the Ronald McDonald Houses in Ann Arbor and Detroit / Consultant to Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities (RMCC)
- Performed as Ronald McDonald / Trained other actors internationally / Wrote original
Scripts for schools shows, ad spots and marketing campaigns
2005 University of Malta
- Artistic Director, PAVE Program Performing and Visual Arts Education
- Wrote and produced original musical version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol
- Designed summer musical theatre repertory season for international student candidates
Premiere Season June 2006
- London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art – Negotiated Examination Center Status with LAMDA http://www.lamda.org.uk
- Foundation for International Education – Negotiated Host Campus Status with FIE
- Developed interdisciplinary dept. for film, theatre, dance, art, graphic and web design
- Incorporated professional arts training into instruction techniques for educators
- Founded http://www.linkacademy.it / European Academy of Dramatic Arts
Director, LINK TV
- Designed, built and operated full-service digital HD production studios on campus
- Wrote and implemented production curricula focused on language acquisition
- Created promotional and educational pieces for broadcast and marketing venues
- Supervised student-produced film and video works
- Built daily live broadcast division on web, satellite and analog antenna
Director, International Division
- Developed campaign for international student recruitment
- Coordinated Visiting Student Support Services Office
- Proofed and edited all English language web pages, publications, and documents
Professor of Advanced English
- Designed, implemented and currently teaching an annual two-semester program where
Students write, produce and market original documentary works
- March 2004 – created and taught a one-week intensive course following the tenets and goals of the World Food Program (WFP) / Guest lecturer, Tony Hall, US Ambassador to FAO.
- October 2003 – created and taught a two-week intensive immersion course where students scripted and presented a television news program complete with ad spots, field reports and in-depth reporting / Now an annual program.
- September 2003 and 2004– designed and implemented a two-week intensive immersion course for the Italian Military (Army-SME). Student groups researched, created and presented marketing campaigns for original military products.
2000 Rome Italian Language, Berlitz
1994 University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- Doctoral Candidate (Ed D) in Organizational Development / Fellowship funded by
Bill and Camille Cosby
“Storybuilding / Curriculum Alternative for Multi-Racial Student Populations”
1976-78 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Master of Arts, Directing
- President, Michigan Union
- Thesis, “Brecht and the Concept of Alienation During the Weimar Republic”
- Counselor, Office of Admissions
1970-1974 Kent State University, Ohio
- Bachelor of Fine Arts, Theatre
- Minor in Secondary Education, Teaching Certification, K-12
- Editor, The Chestnut Burr (University Yearbook)
- Founder, All Campus Programming Board
- Founder, May 4 Candlelight Vigil
- Member, Omicron Delta Kappa and Blue Key, Men’s Honorary Associations
- Member, National Residence Hall Honorary
- Recipient, Senior Service Award
- New York State, Education, K-12, Literature, Arts and Technology
- New York City, K-12, Arts, English, Creative Writing
- Ohio, K-12, Liberal Arts
- Michigan, K-12, Literature Science and the Arts
APPOINTMENTS – USA
1999 High School for Global Studies, NYC District 15, Brooklyn Humanities and Video
1999 Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Drama and Video Director 1997 Queens College, Queens
NY / Lecture-Director Duke Ellington course and production
1996 MS158Q, Marie Curie Middle School, NYC District 26, Bayside / Drama and Video
1997 Beacon Program, MS 158 and JHS 216 / Drama and Video After School Programs
1975 Portage County Bd. of Education, Ohio / Educational Consultant and Teacher Trainer
1976 Univ. Of Michigan, Ann Arbor / Admissions Counselor / Selective and Competitive
1974 Kent State University, Ohio / Admissions Counselor / Undergraduate Department
1999 Brooklyn School for Global Studies / Director of Technology, Video and the Arts
- Designed Theatre, Television, and Video Programs
- Aided in construction of Student Web Site
- Implemented usage of 120 Mac Computers driven by server throughout the school
- Supervised student-produced Theatre, Video, Print and Web Portfolios
- Designed and implemented curriculum for creative writing, art infusion in humanities and technology usage to aid instruction
1996-1999 Marie Curie Middle School, MS 158, Bayside, Queens
- Appointed Instructor of Drama and Video
- New York City Certification 665B, Performing Arts, Drama / New York State High School Certification, Speech
- Built a complete theatre and video program from neglected, archaic and broken parts
- Staged student written works and supervised the presentation of student video projects
- Transformed closets into editing rooms, coat rooms into costume closets and storage rooms into television studios
- Served as consultant to NTTI (National Teacher Training Institute), MSI (Middle School Initiative) and UFT (United Federation of Teachers)
- The Beacon Program, MS 158 and JHS 216, Bayside, Queens Created an after school drama and video program with neighborhood students from two schools
- Staged “Inherit the Wind”, “A Christmas Carol” and various student written works
- Consulted with Beacon sights on how to implement performing arts programs.
Professor of English – Rome
- Senators from the Italian Parliament
- Public Schools of Rome
- Virgilio Superiore
- Visconti Media
- Pantheon Elementare
- Intensive Business English
- Berlitz Kids, Program Development
- Private conversation
PRODUCTION – ROME
Voice dubbing artist, Italian to English Films (various features, cartoons, and documentaries)
The Passion of the Christ Mel Gibson Speaking role of “Eyepatch”
Rome HBO Court Lictor Episode “Spoils”
RAI 1 Dominica In Big Band Vocalist
Guide text, scripts and itineraries for sites throughout Italy
THEATRE / Rome /Ford English Theatre
“The Bear” by Anton Chekhov – Male Lead
“Picture This” by Lamdon Coleman- Male Lead
”Ibsen meets Strindberg”-Strindberg
PRODUCTION – USA
1998 BIRDSVILLE / A High Flyin’ Rock and Role Musical Wrote, produced and directed an adaptation of Aristophanes Birds Showcased / Kaufman Theatre, 42nd Street
THE HUMBLE THEATRE COMPANY Founding Artistic Director / Multi-cultural performing arts troupe emphasizing non-traditional casting and ethnic inclusion in theatrical production.
1999 SOPHISTICATED STUDENTS Hired by the Queens College Department of Theatre, Dance and Drama to produce the first annual Queens Initiative project (Quip); a program where students throughout the Borough of Queens are invited to prepare a performance piece based on the works of a selected artist. 1999 honored the centennial of Duke Ellington.
AT HOME IN ROME A novel about life in the Eternal City
ROME, THE FIRST 3000 YEARS One-man musical review of the Eternal City
JAZZ, THE Ist 100 YEARS A look at the evolution of this American Art Form
KISSA GRANDPA An Italian-American-Italian Migration Documentary
REX Theme song lyrics for European TV series
YO, WALT! Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, Camden, NJ.
Original musical presenting the life and works of Whitman through poetry and modern Rap
START WITH THE HEART Robert Crown Institute for Health, Hinsdale, IL
An original musical teaching the anatomy and functions of the heart
A TIGER TALE Film Short honoring the Detroit Tigers baseball team