Graduated from Neshaminy High School during its musical heyday, he appeared in many school shows, and continues to perform wherever there is a role calling to him. Most recently, he played Andrew MacLaren in “Brigadoon” at the Candlelight Dinner Theatre near Wilmington, Del.
Next month, he will play “Rooster” in a production of “Annie” at Acting Naturally in Langhorne, and early next year, he will portray Joseph Pulitzer in “Newsies” at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman, N.J.
Orr went to the University Pennsylvania long enough to learn that being a lawyer was not in his future, even as he participated with the Penn Players in the mid 1970s, so he transferred to Temple University, enjoying its theater department activities.
Deciding he wanted to be an actor and singer full time, Orr has pursued his dreams for the past 40-plus years, playing roles such as George Washington, Mack the Knife, Sherlock Holmes, and more on TV, in commercials, in movies and in industrial shows.
Orr also is a recognized expert on comic books, sports memorabilia and popular culture. He was a consulting expert of Auctionata of Berlin, Germany, and he has managed collectibles for several different stores and national auction houses.
And, because he likes working with computers, he designs websites for people. Actors need sources of income in addition to the stage.
Predicting years ago that comic book characters would one day become action movie figures, he derives great pleasure seeing his vision realized.
But, as happens with many of us, life threw some curve balls to Orr recently ... not the kind anyone wants, and as a performer, dealing with them has been particularly difficult for him. Last year, Orr had a bad fall on the ice and smashed his left hip. It has taken a long time to heal, and he feels quite certain he will need a new hip one day.
But, that wasn’t all that happened. A detached retina and infection in his right eye resulted in his eye having to be removed, leaving him with no peripheral vision on his right side.
Sammy Davis Jr. carried on singing and dancing with only one eye, and while it’s been difficult for Orr and his wife, Jennifer, with performing as his primary source of income, he goes on auditioning, being positive, and looking forward to doing what he loves.
Some of Orr’s outstanding roles include several appearances as Perchik in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Thomas Jefferson in “1776,” Curly in “Oklahoma,” King Arthur in “Camelot,” Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes,” Adam in “The Diary of Adam and Eve” segment of “The Apple Tree,” Michael in “I Do, I Do” and many others. His website, actorr.com
, includes all of them.
Locally, Orr has made cabaret singing appearances throughout the area and he has performed his own shows at Bob Egan’s Cabaret & Supper Club, New Hope.
Late last month, Orr returned to The RRAZZ Room in New Hope with his annual performance of “It’s a Fruitcake” with his co-actor, Meagan Hill as “The Melodious Masters of Mirth.”
Tom Orr knew he was destined to be on stage and has worked toward that theatrical goal nearly all of his life.