Man, Not a Boy

At six years old, he was playing the recorder through his nostrils. At 13, he made second place in the

At six years old, he was playing the recorder through his nostrils. At 13, he made second place in the “Britain Choirboy of the Year” competition. At 19, his boy band hit #7 in the U.K. charts with “Man Not a Boy.” And now, after three years of West End (that’s British Broadway to you) performance under his belt, Tom Lowe has finally crossed the Atlantic to join the Class of 2005.

Tom made his Harvard debut at the Crimson Key talent show—freshmen would remember him as the very last performer, who received at least three proposals from random women before he finished his soulful rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight.” He says the attention has died down since that night, but then again, he’s no stranger to fame.

Tom got into music professionally with a boy band, at the age of 18, when he saw a recruitment ad on television and left his hometown of Manchester, England for London. While the group never went through with producing an album, “North and South” released four singles which all made it to the top 30. During his two-year stint as the keyboardist and back-up vocalist of “North and South,” he had “maroon silk pantaloons” thrown at him and crazed female fans camped outside his window. He even made the infamous British gossip columns, in one instance for a rumor he jokingly started himself. While Tom certainly doesn’t regret the two years of public recognition and exhilarating European tours that marked the short existence of “North and South,” he was glad to move on from the boy band genre and try out the West End, where he could better use his vocal talents.

Tom snuck on to the musical theater scene in the role of Marius, the romantic male lead of Les Miserables. While the fame issue was much less prominent as a star of musical theater, Tom still found opportunities to expose himself to the public eye, especially when he posed nude (with all the appropriate places covered) for a trendy British magazine. He went on to play the Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, a role that was not as musically satisfying as his previous one, but offered a lot more flexibility. “I could really make it my own,” he relates. After ten months of prancing around in a leotard and waving his paws, “eight shows a week became very knackering” and Tom decided to “attend university.” An American school offered a needed change of scenery, and Harvard was the obvious choice.

Tom’s growing fan base on campus can rest assured that his freshman week performance wasn’t his last. He just earned the lead in the Freshman Theater Program show, “The Rover,” a seat playing clarinet in the wind ensemble and a spot on the Harvard Veritones. And what’s in store for the future of this British boy wonder? He hopes to do Broadway after graduation, and possibly some “telly” acting. And if nothing else, he can always take out that recorder, warm up those nostrils, and play for cash in Harvard Square.