Tazewell Thompson


As a playwright, his CONSTANT STAR has had 16 major national productions garnering 9 Barrymore Awards, 5 NAACP Awards and 3 Carbonell Awards (winning in categories for Best Play and Best Musical/Ensemble/ Direction). He has been commissioned to write plays for Lincoln Center Theater, Arena Stage, South Coast Rep and People’s Light & Theatre Company.

For the opera world, he has directed productions in New York City; Milan; Madrid; Paris; Cape Town; Tokyo; Osaka; Nagoya; San Francisco; Boston; Vancouver; Los Angeles; Portland; Orange County; Columbus, Ohio; New Jersey; Detroit, Bloomington, Indiana; and Lawrence, Kansas. His production of PORGY AND BESS at New York City Opera, broadcast on PBS’ “Live from Lincoln Center” received EMMY Nominations for Best Director and Best Classical Production. He directed the New York City Opera’s box-office sensation of MARGARET GARNER by Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison. Other selected productions include: Kurt Weill’s LOST IN THE STARS for Cape Town Opera, Glimmerglass Festival Opera and for Washington National Opera at Kennedy Center; new productions of Aaron Copland’s THE TENDER LAND at Glimmerglass Opera; Bizet’s CARMEN and THE PEARL FISHERS for Virginia Opera; Aaron Copland’s world premiere staging of THE SECOND HURRICANE at The Henry Street Settlement in NYC as part of Copland’s state-wide 85th birthday celebration; the baroque operas: Handel’s XERXES and the American premiere of Vivaldi’s CATO IN UTICA for Glimmerglass Opera; Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI and Britten’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Boston Lyric Opera; Bellini’s NORMA at Vancouver Opera; Marc Blitzstein’s STREET SCENE at University of Kansas/Lawrence; Poulenc’s DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES in four different stagings and opera companies: New York City Opera, Glimmerglass, Indiana and Vancouver Opera; Gilbert and Sullivan’s PATIENCE at both New York City Opera and Glimmerglass; Benjamin Britten’s DEATH IN VENICE at Glimmerglass Opera. Thompson also mounted world premieres of BLUE VIOLA; STEFAN; AS OF A DREAM; and VANQUI. A record was set and opera history was made when he directed three different operas in all three of the Kennedy Center venues during its 2015-2016 season.

For the theatre, Thompson has produced and/or directed more than 75 plays (many being world and American premieres) featuring the work of a wide range of authors including Aristophanes, Euripides, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Brecht, Max Frisch, Aphra Behn, Keith Huff, William Gibson, N. Scott Momaday, Dael Orlandersmith, Eric Overmyer, Feydeau, Chekhov, Athol Fugard, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Lynn Nottage, Lorraine Hansberry, Sarah Ruhl, David Henry Hwang, David Mamet, Charles Mee, Wendy Wasserstein, Terrance McNally and Alan Ayckbourn.

His national theatre credits include nearly every major theatre across the country including: the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, Roundabout Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Arena Stage, the Goodman, Seattle Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Play House, Hartford Stage, Second Stage, Guthrie, Indiana Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Playmakers Rep, City Theatre, Virginia Stage, and the Old Globe.

Thompson has also directed and/or produced the following artists: (a partial list) Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Eartha Kitt, Chris Sarandon, Caleb McLaughlin, Christopher Plummer, Joanna Gleason, Yaphet Kotto, Phylicia Rashad, Jeffrey DeMunn, David Patrick Kelly, Kathleen Widdoes, Viola Davis, Danai Gurira, Charles Grodin, Candy Buckley, Josephine Premice, Stephen Bogardus, James Hiroyuki Liao, Lewis J. Stadlen, Jane White, Eric Owens, Bill Cobbs, Charlaine Woodard, Billy Porter, Mary Testa, Helen Carey, Hannah Cabell, Steve Kazee, James McDaniel, Sara Ramirez, Wynn Harmon, Chuck Cooper, Leslie Odom Jr., John Bedford Lloyd, Ron Cephas Jones, Keith Randolph Smith, Irene Dailey, Tamara Tunie, Michael Christofer, Shuler Hensley, Cady Huffman, Peabo Bryson, Joyce Castle, Sharon Washington, Gail Grate, Cheryl Freeman, Tina Fabrique and Trazana Beverley.

He is a member of SDC, SAG, AFTRA, AEA, AGMA and CAE.

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