Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Mililani, Hawai’i, Tom Lee is a director, designer and puppet artist based in New York & Chicago. Mr. Lee began his career at La MaMa Experimental Theater in New York with the encouragement of Ellen Stewart and, later, the St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab. His original puppet theater work includes Shank’s Mare (La MaMa, Japan Tour), Hoplite Diary (St. Ann’s, La MaMa), Punch of the Dead (St. Ann’s Puppet Lab) Odysseus and Ajax (La MaMa) and Ko’olau (La MaMa/Hawai’i tour). Mr. Lee has directed & designed puppetry for Giants Are Small with the New York Philharmonic, the Prototype Festival production of The Scarlet Ibis by Stefan Weisman and David Cote and for the National Asian American Theatre Company, among others. Mr. Lee collaborated with director Stephen Earnhart on a multimedia staging of Haruki Murakami’s The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, for which he designed the scenery, puppetry and projected puppet miniatures. This production was featured at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2011 and the Singapore Arts Festival in 2012.
Tom’s theater design work includes puppets, projections and sets for Yoshiko Chuma, Bora Yoon, Tom O’Horgan, Czechoslovak American Marionette Theatre, Paper Canoe Company, The Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Christopher Williams, The Swedish Marionette Cottage, The Stonington Opera House, Lone Wolf Tribe and Ellen Stewart, among others. In 2013, he designed the Korean pop musical The Lost Garden, directed by June-Young Soh and premiered at the Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena in China.