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Tazewell Thompson Trustee

2015 -

Tazewell Thompson is an internationally acclaimed director of opera and theater, an award winning librettist and playwright, teacher, lecturer and actor. His opera Blue with composer Jeanine Tesori, won the 2020 MCANNA Award for Best New Opera in North America. The New York Times listed Blue as Best in Classical Music for 2019, “the most elegant libretto I’ve heard in a long while…” In early August 2020, he was named Director of Opera Studies at Manhattan School of Music. He has more than 150 directing credits, including 30 world and American premieres, in major opera houses and theaters across the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Africa, Japan and Canada, including New York City Opera, Glimmerglass, Washington National Opera, Teatro Real, La Scala, L’Opera Bastille; in select cities: Cape Town, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, Madrid, Osaka, Vancouver, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Norfolk, Washington DC, New Orleans, and San Francisco. His award-winning play, Constant Star has had 16 national productions, garnering 9 Barrymore Awards, 5 NAACP Awards and 3 Carbonell Awards; Mary T & Lizzy K, commissioned and produced at Arena Stage, is the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award; adaptor of the revue, Jam & Spice: The Music of Kurt Weill; an adaptation of A Christmas Carol; and a contributing writer to Our War, short plays for Washington DC. His a cappella musical Jubilee: Fisk Jubilee Singers had its world premiere spring of 2019 and played to extended performances and SRO audiences at Arena Stage. He has play commissions from Lincoln Center Theatre, South Coast Rep and People’s Light & Theatre Company. His production of Porgy and Bess, broadcast Live from Lincoln Center, received EMMY Award nominations for Best Director, and Best Production: Classical Music. He holds the record for directing three productions: Appomattox/ Philip Glass, Lost in the Stars/ Kurt Weill, and his American premiere production from Glimmerglass Festival of Cato in Utica/ Vivaldi, all in the same season in three different theaters at The Kennedy Center. He was chosen to rewrite the libretto and direct the American premiere staging of Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane as part of a New York State-wide celebration of Copland’s 85th birthday. A select list of operas directed: Dialogues of the Carmelites, Death in Venice, Xerxes, Carmen, Don Giovanni, The Tender Land, Street Scene, Pearl Fishers, Norma, Margaret Garner, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Patience, Freedom Ride. He is commissioned by chic Opera Theater to write a new opera and Seattle Opera to write a song cycle. His opera Blue is rescheduled for future productions at Washington National Opera, Chicago Lyric, Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Seattle Opera, English National Opera, and Mostly Mozart Festival. At schools and conservatories: directed productions and/or held artistic residencies; master classes at NYU, Juilliard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Tulane, Indiana/ Bloomington, and Kansas/ Lawrence. Chair of Theater Department: St. Ann’s School and Columbia Prep. His national theatre directing credits include nearly every major theater 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, The Guthrie, Indiana Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Playmakers Rep, City Theatre, Virginia Stage, and the Old Globe. He is a member of SDC, SAG, AFTRA, AEA, AGMA and CAE.

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