55. Paul Tei

In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

55. Paul Tei
Warning: Reading Paul Tei's resume may cause seizures, facial tics, and temporary blindness. Seriously--when going down the list of all the projects he's either directed or acted in, we stopped counting after a hundred.

This guy can pull off a killer Cockney accent, rip a bass to shreds, pound the skins, and fence. Tei is also a six-time Carbonell Award winner--both for his acting and directing. Not to mention he's also taught at New World and been named New Times' Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and also one of the members of NT's Best Ensemble Cast. He's also really cute. We can name at least two former Churchill's bartenders whose hearts would flutter every time he walked in the front door.

But enough about that--this man is a serious artist. Well, a serious artist with a deadly sense of humor. Tei did not miss a single day of school from kindergarten until 8th grade, "when I stayed home one day, just so I could understand what that felt like."

After his failed experiment in truancy, he went on to earn a BA in theater from Barry University where he met a photography major who liked taking his picture. "And I liked having my picture took. She introduced me to her sister who was an actress; I saw her in a play at school, and it just clicked, like right out of a dream, that I should be doing this." Tei then received his MFA in directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and has established himself as one of Miami's most respected actors and directors.

Tei has a recurring role as Barry the money launderer on the made-in-Miami series Burn Notice on TNT and serves as artistic director for the Mad Cat Theatre Company (New Times Best Theater, Best Fringe Theater). And even though his Miami roots are deep, he's now bicoastal, with a recurring gig on the show Zeke & Luther filmed in L.A. Don't worry though--he will never abandon us. "I love Miami." Thank God.

1. List five things that inspire you.






2. What was your last big project?

I don't know...define big? Big in the sense of scope? Who cares? Big in the sense of importance? The last Mad Cat show Going Green the Wong Way by my inspirational friend, Kristina Wong.

3. What's your next big project?

The South Beach Comedy Festival. Mad Cat will be presenting a new piece I'm writing and directing which at the moment is called "blah blah blah-deconstruction-whatever." Why is it big? Well for starters, my parents are going to be performing in the play, and that's big!

4. Why do you do what you do?

I don't know what else there is to do. Since I started doing this it's just always felt right. I love creating with Mad Cat. Everything we do is the most important thing in the world to me while I'm doing it. I guess you could say it makes me feel better to create. That seems a bit underplayed, but I get these ideas in me and I have to see them through or else I could go mad. 

5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?

I am an excellent handicapper at the horses.

What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?

I am an excellent handicapper at the horses.


The Creatives so far:

56. Lee Materazzi

57. Karla Garcia
58. Anna Mixon
59. Octavio Campos
60. P. Scott Cunningham
61. Elena Garcia
62. Summer Hill
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow

73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar

90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon

100. Ingrid B

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ily Goyanes
Contact: Ily Goyanes