William Thompson (Tom) Prewitt, 63, died unexpectedly at his home in Alexandria on Wednesday, Nov. 11. A longtime area theater director, he dedicated his life to championing the performing arts and empowering those who shared his passion for the stage.
Tom lived in Falls Church City with his wife and son from 1995 to 2015, volunteering as a coach for many youth basketball and little league baseball teams. He was an avid amateur chef, filmgoer, and stargazer whose unquenchable thirst for reading was reflected in the numerous late fees he accumulated at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee., he was class president at White Station High School before heading north to attend Harvard University, where he graduated with honors in 1979. An educator at heart, he went on to teach English and theater at prep schools in Memphis and Simsbury, Conn., and later at NYU, Manhattanville College, University of Maryland, and George Mason University. He also engaged with numerous community nonprofits to connect younger generations with the arts.
For 25 years Tom was a fixture in the DC theater scene, directing 11 shows at the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company; receiving Helen Hayes nominations (Outstanding Resident Production and Outstanding New Play) for Ian Cohen’s “Lenny and Lou;” and winning the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play for Karen Zacarias’ “Sins of Sor Juana.”
Since 2013, Tom served as Executive and Artistic Director at Avant Bard Theatre in Arlington, where his bold creative vision brought to life both classical texts (his production of “King John” was set in a Cold War-era nuclear fallout bunker) and new projects such as “Visible Language,” a musical at Gallaudet University sung in English and American Sign Language. Among colleagues he was known as a sensitive, kind soul who led with an open mind, listened with an open ear, and loved to laugh.
Tom is survived by his wife (Eun-Joo Chang); son (Alex Prewitt), father (James A. Prewitt III, of Memphis, TN); siblings Andy, Merrin and Ben; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He will be dearly missed by countless family, friends and others whose lives he touched.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Avant Bard Theatre (www.wscavantbard.org/donate) or to your favorite local arts organization. A virtual memorial service will be held in the near future. For details please email [email protected]