Tommy Newsom, nicknamed jokingly, “Mr. Excitement” by Johnny Carson, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, attended the Norfolk Division of William & Mary (now ODU), and later the Peabody Conservatory and Columbia University. While serving in the U.S.Air Force he was a member of the USAF Band. Later, he toured with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Known as much for his arrangements as his performing, Tommy joined the NBC Orchestra on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1962. He later became the assistant director. He was a winner of two Emmy Awards. Mr. Newsom retired from television when Carson retired in 1992.

This is part of three murals done of local musicals  by Mandy Smith on the Colony Theater. The other two are; Ruth Brown and Bill Deal & the  Rhondels.

Mandy Smith notes: Tommy was known for the saxophone as well as other horn instruments throughout his career. Therefore they are incorporated as a key element in this design. Tommy captivated audiences with his musical talent and contagious grin. The background has a vintage feel as well to continue with the design flow of this mural.


Tommy Newsom
Mandy Smith
Colony Theater  430 High St.


About the Artist:

Mandy is an artist/illustrator based out of Yorktown. She received her B.F.A. from VCU's School of the Arts with a concentration in Communication Arts and Design/Illustration. Her specialties include portraiture, murals, design, and book illustration. She considers being a part of this grand artistic endeavor an honor. Art has an inexplicable power to change an atmosphere. Thank you to Supporters of Portsmouth Public Art for this fantastic opportunity and the unfathomable support of my family.

You can view Mandy's work at


Outdoor Art