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Tomlanovich, Matthew

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January 19, 1960 - October 19, 2014

Tomlanovich, Matthew

Matthew Tomlanovich, a longtime professor, director, actor and mentor in the Dallas theater community, died Sunday, Oct.19, after battling complications ensuing from a MRSA infection that left him paralyzed and hospitalized in a Dallas facility since April 3. He was 54 and spent his last moments surrounded by his wife of 21 years, Claudia Stephens, their sons Raisch, 19, and Eli, 17, and friends whispering love and encouragement.

Born January 16, 1960, the East Lansing, Michigan native worked for 30 years as a theater actor, director, voice coach, playwright, teacher and mentor. He held a BGS from Oakland University, an MFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts, an MA in Vocal Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London and was a certified associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. He taught, coached and/or directed in London at East 15 Acting School and Central School of Speech and Drama; in Texas at Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Dallas, Shakespeare Dallas, and Junior Players; and nationally at California Institute of the Arts, University of Utah, and most recently, Oklahoma State University. In 2013, he revived the Margo Jones Theatre in Dallas as a thriving venue for emerging theater artists.  Under his leadership, the Margo Jones Theatre was named 2014’s Best Theatrical Comeback by the Dallas Observer.

“Matt and I enjoyed working in the theater, each in our own ways,” Stephens said. “I am a costume designer and teacher at SMU, he was everything else: actor, director, voice coach, playwright, mentor, teacher, father, producer and ultimately landlord or ‘chief cook and janitor’ at the Margo Jones Theatre. In all of his roles, he challenged his collaborators, students, other teachers, theater artists, children and yes, even me, to think intensely, to speak boldly, to discover new challenges, to experiment and to create without fear, to live, most recently one day at a time. Everyone he met had value in his eyes, always.”

John Michael Colgin, 25, was in high school when he met Tomlanovich in the Junior Players program in 2006. Tomlanovich cast him as an officer in The Comedy of Errors.

“He made me feel I had something worthwhile to offer. No one had ever made me feel that way before,” Colgin said.

Colgin, now an activities director at a senior care facility in Dallas, said Tomlanovich taught him to be a kinder person, to see the good in people and not to panic if he found himself in a situation on or off stage where he didn’t know what to do next.

“He would say the best part about being lost is that you’ve never been there before.”

Stephens and her husband enjoyed fly-fishing, museums in Paris and hanging out with family and particularly liked the way their minds “intertwined,” as she put it, over crossword puzzles.

“Together, we could do every day of the New York Times crosswords. Truly, he was better at them than I, especially with the tricky Thursday puzzle. But we needed each other to finish Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will be lost without him.”

Matt is survived by his wife, Claudia Stephens and their sons Raisch and Eli Tomlanovich, all of Dallas, TX; Jon Tomlanovich and his wife, Kathy of Eugene, OR; Ann Tomlanovich of Ann Arbor; Mark Tomlanovich and his wife Lori of Petoskey; nieces and nephew Anne Tomlanovich and her husband Peter Tromba of Eugene, OR; Alicia Bostelman and her husband Jake of Alanson; Tony Tomlanovich of Petoskey; grandnephews Andrew Bostelman and Charlie Tromba. He is preceded in death by his parents Anthony and Donna Hunt Tomlanovich of Portland, MI.

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 pm on Saturday, November 22 at St. James Episcopal Church of Dallas, TX. The family requests that donations in his name be made to the Margo Jones Theatre http://margojonestheatre.com/ , 1st Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210 or to the Matt Tomlanovich College Scholarship, Jr. Players http://www.juniorplayers.org/ , 4054 McKinney Ave, #104, Dallas, TX 75204

 

Original text from the DMN

Matthew Tomlanovich, a longtime professor, director and actor in Dallas, died Sunday after battling complications from an MRSA infection that left him paralyzed and hospitalized in a Dallas facility since April 3. He was 54.

He spent his last moments surrounded by his wife of 21 years, Claudia Stephens, a professor of costume design at Southern Methodist University, and their sons Raisch, 19, and Eli, 17.

The Michigan native earned a master’s degree from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and a master of fine arts in acting from the California Institute of the Arts. He was acclaimed for his work with Junior Players, which began in 2000 and continued until he fell sick. He revived the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park in 2013 as a venue for emerging theater organizations.

“Matt and I enjoyed working in the theater, each in our own ways,” Stephens said. “I am a costume designer, he was everything else: actor, director, voice coach, playwright, mentor, teacher, father, producer and ultimately landlord or chief cook and janitor at the Margo Jones Theatre. … Everyone he met had value in his eyes, always.”

John Michael Colgin, 25, was in high school when he met Tomlanovich in the Junior Players program in 2006.

“He made me feel I had something worthwhile to offer. No one had ever made me feel that way before,” Colgin said.

Colgin, now an activities director at a memory care facility in Dallas, said Tomlanovich taught him to be a kinder person, to see the good in people and not to panic if he found himself in a situation on or off stage where he didn’t know what to do next.

“He would say the best part about being lost is that you’ve never been there before.”

Stephens and her husband particularly liked crossword puzzles, she said.

“Together, we could do every day of the New York Times crosswords. Truly, he was better at them than I, especially with the tricky Thursday puzzle. But we needed each other to finish Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will be lost without him.”

A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at St. James Episcopal Church, 9845 McCree Blvd., Dallas. The family requests that any donations in his name be made to the Margo Jones Theatre.

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS.

 

Arrangements are under the direction of:
ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home
10116 E. NW Highway
Dallas, Texas 75238
214.340.8008

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