The director, choreographer and clear star of the show is Tazewell Thompson. A winning new production... vivacity and charm.
— New York Times, November 15 1985 (The Second Hurricane)
A stylish, exhilarating, and moving performance of music by Copland. It had been brilliantly directed and choreographed by Tazewell Thompson. It was an elaborate, animated, and carefully disciplined show—emotionally precise, and more spirited than anything else I’ve seen on the New York opera stage this season.
— The New Yorker December 2, 1985 (The Second Hurricane)
Tazewell Thompson’s imaginative production; Mr. Thompson stresses the folkloric nature of the piece, a Chinese legend reinterpreted to make a modern political statement. Spread over the Arena’s wide stage, the tale unfolds with a storybook simplicity; Mr. Thompson suggests on one level, spectacle and artful panoply.
— New York Times October 1, 1990 (The Caucasian Chalk Circle)
Mr. Thompson has done vivid work with the crowd scenes... under Mr. Thompson’s direction each member has an individual role to play.
— The New York Times, March 5 2002 (Porgy and Bess)
Tazewell Thompson’s direction is more recent, and he brings a fresh, urgent spirit of theatricality to the piece. The stage is constantly alive with the details of everyday life, but nothing looks fussy or threatens to interfere with the personalities who dominate the action. Each character, in fact, develops in fascinating ways that are likely to surprise even those who know the opera well.
— New York Magazine, March 25 - April 1 2002 (Porgy and Bess)
Tazewell Thompson’s shattering and gripping production and the spontaneous standing ovation proved that audiences might well prefer being harrowed to being spoon-fed.
— The Wall Street Journal, August 7 2002 (Dialogues of the Carmelites)
Tazewell Thompson’s eloquent and measured staging has never seemed more potent.
— The New Yorker, August 14 2002 (Dialogues of the Carmelites)
Of the summer’s four operas, by far the most compelling is Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites,... of all the versions of this opera, Tazewell Thompson’s cinematic production stands among the best of them.
— New York Magazine, August 26 - September 2 2002 (Dialogues of the Carmelites)
The highlight of the season was Tazewell Thompson’s fluid and overwhelmingly powerful staging.
— Opera Magazine, November 2002 (Dialogues of the Carmelites)
Thompson’s direction is exemplary.
— Variety, July 31 2002 (Dialogues of the Carmelites)
The production is impeccably directed by Tazewell Thompson.
— New York Times, July 27 2003 (The Old Settler)
Staged with elegance, stylishness and sophistication; with elan and energy by Tazewell Thompson. He knows how to compose an artful stage picture, but he also understands the dramatic tension of a tune and what it requires.
— Variety, June 5 2006 (Jam & Spice/The Music of Kurt Weil)
Tazewell Thompson’s direction was unfailingly potent and insightful.
— New York Times, August 9 2010 (Tender Land)
Directed by guest artist Tazewell Thompson, this “Macbeth” is a roiling, romping, testosterone-laced spectacle of man’s inhumanity to man — and woman.
— Lawrence Journal-World, October 10 2009 (Macbeth)
Tazewell Thompson, who has become a directing regular at Theaterworks in the last year and a half, is in excellent form here, evincing four lovely performances.
— New York Times, February 10 2012 (Sty of the Blind Pig)
Lost in the Stars,” presented in a humane and affecting production directed by Tazewell Thompson, was cast with great sensitivity to the racial identities of the various characters.
— New York Times, December 21 2012 (Lost in the Stars, Glimmerglass)
The venerable Molly Smith, the Arena Stage Director, lauded playwright/director Tazewell Thompson for his “glorious gift with language which helps us to see the humanity of these remarkable people.” Thompson, who has directed close to two dozen plays at Arena, such as M. Butterfly, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Fences, told me he wrote this play for his mother and grandmother. Like so many black women, he did not want Keckley buried in the footnotes of history. He wanted her to be remembered.
— The Washington Post, April 11 2013 (Mary T. & Lizzy K.)
...director Tazewell Thompson’s fluent blocking and direction let the action unfold naturally. The Indiana University production was simple yet effective with Robert O’Hearn’s period costumes, descending brownstone facade and domestic parlor interior enhanced by Kendall Smith’s artful lighting.
— Chicago Classical Review April 7 2014 (A View from the Bridge, Indiana University)
...all four performers, under the fine direction of Tazewell Thompson, create portraits worthy of a non-musical stage drama, assisted by Boresi’s wry jokes and poetic observations.
— DC Theatre Scene, March 22 2015 (Blue Viola)
director Tazewell Thompson’s sparely staged and smartly directed world premiere...
— The Guardian, November 15 2015 (Appomattox)
But the deft and economical stage direction of Tazewell Thompson, originally conceived for this past summer’s Glimmerglass Festival, in New York, credibly clarified those complications and propelled the drama forward with ease.
— The Washington Post, November 29 2015 (Catone in Utica)
There is much more to admire in the production, which plays out smoothly on Brandon McNeel’s masterful set and maintains a vibrant pulse under the finely detailed direction of Tazewell Thompson.
— Baltimore Sun, February 10 2015 (Ruined)
Washington National Opera has assembled a cast of 38 artists so talented—and so brilliantly staged and directed—that it is hard to single out individual performances. Yet there are a dozen who stand out, beginning with Tazewell Thompson, the director who originally put this production together at South Africa’s Cape Town Opera.
— DC Metro Arts, February 15 2016 (Lost in the Stars, WNO)
Lauded for his extensive success directing opera, Director Tazewell Thompson was an ideal choice to lead this talented cast and artistic team. Pulling together the many parts of this sizable production and forging them into a fluid, fast-paced whole was a formidable challenge performed expertly by Thompson.
— DC Metro Theater Arts, February 22 2017 (Great Expectations)
Director Tazewell Thompson, handling a tale that is heavy on narrative, guides the pliable ensemble to a performance that is dynamic, touching, amusing, lively and filled with gothic foreshadowing. Every sequence unfolds a new delight, from slapstick action to nuanced characterization to the most hilarious rendition of Hamlet it has ever been my privilege to witness.
— BroadwayWorld Review, February 14 2017 (Great Expectations)
Written by the gone but much remembered Lorraine Hansberry, this forward-looking and timeless play was truthfully directed by Tazewell Thompson in a way that mined many nuances of the struggle to be effectively human. Such is the truthfulness of the show, and it will leave audiences with a sense of wonder; Arena Stage’s A Raisin in the Sun is a lovely stage symphony of treasured performances.
— DC Metro Theater Arts, April 7 2017 (A Raisin in the Sun)
The weather vane of Arena Stage’s aggressively entertaining “A Raisin in the Sun” is Lizan Mitchell, the force-of-nature actress playing the 1959 play’s righteous, loving grandmother, Lena Younger. When director Tazewell Thompson wants this show to be funny, the impish Mitchell nails a punchline. When he wants it to be grand, Mitchell rises majestically and gives the performance the force and depth of Greek tragedy.

Quibble with its florid excesses if you like, but there’s no mistaking that this “Raisin” — bizarrely, the first in the company’s nearly 70-year-history — is a crowd-pleaser. “A Raisin in the Sun” is such a major cornerstone of 20th-century American culture that it seems like an obvious and maybe even dull choice, a warhorse for regular theatergoers to avoid while seeking out fresher stimulation. Thompson is determined that it won’t be a dull experience.
— The Washington Post, April 10 2017 (A Raisin in the Sun)
I didn’t know much about directing, but I relied on the work I had seen Tazewell Thompson produce, a visiting professor who directed performances at Dartmouth during the fall of 2013 and 2016 (in which I was an assistant stage manager and an actor, respectively). He has been a mentor and friend to me throughout my Dartmouth career, and I am certain that, had I not been exposed to his work, I would never have gained the skills necessary to begin directing actors.
— The Darmouth, May 3 2017
The unmistakable yearning Kopas displays whenever Marks and Esther must part company is so affecting, in part, because of Director Thompson’s facility with the power of timing. In not only the lingering glances and quiet resignation of Marks and Esther, but throughout the play, Thompson gives the story room to take hold and creates moments of great impact. If Vincent Lancisi was betting that lightning would strike twice if he brought together Tazewell Thompson and members of the outstanding cast of Ruined to put on another Lynn Nottage play at Everyman, he hit the jackpot. Intimate Apparel is, by turns, beautiful and tragic, hopeful and heartbreaking. With exceptional acting and beautifully coordinated design, Intimate Apparel is 100% worth putting on your Autumn To Do list.
— DC Metro Theater Arts, October 28 2017 (Intimate Apparel)
Intimate Apparel director Tazewell Thompson (who previously directed Great Expectations and Ruined at Everyman, as well as a production of Intimate Apparel at Dartmouth College) brings what Everyman Theatre Founding Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancisi describes as “a dramatist’s eye and a librettist’s ear” to the helm.
— BroadwayWorld, October 6 2017 (Intimate Apparel)
The Everyman staging, directed in his usual thorough, sensitive manner by Tazewell Thompson, mines the emotional depth of “Intimate Apparel” with the help of a dynamic cast. First-rate production values provide abundant atmosphere the whole way through.
— Baltimore Sun, October 25 2017 (Intimate Apparel)