STAGE DIRECTOR

Henry IV

Shakespeare Festival Saint Louis, 2014
  • Judith Newmark – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Director Tim Ocel shows a generous hand with scenes of spectacle, such as battles and coronations…at the same time, however, Ocel builds the drama by focusing on monologues. One by one, the four main characters speak directly to the audience…each forces us to take him on his own terms. Each seems sure that this play is all about him — and when he is speaking, he convinces us, too. …Ocel clarifies the complicated story… With the support of the many other first-rate performers, Butz and Ocel take Henry IV beyond the traditions it draws on, the war play and the young man’s journey. This time, they tell a tougher story: Everybody’s struggle, and everybody’s journey, is his own.more…
  • Tina Farmer – KDHX
  • The show, teeming with intrigue, war and Prince Hal’s transformation, keeps the tension mounting… a riveting, action-packed performance. The cast is a mix of local and imported talent, and they work together with a certain synchronicity and common purpose. The result is a sure-handed production that smoothly, even lithely, conquers the language and delivers connected, impassioned performances. Directed with efficiency and purpose by Tim Ocel, Henry IV is a tale of generations as much as war. The ensemble expertly displays the imperfections of each character’s age with spirit and commitment…a fast paced, swashbuckling Henry IV that nonetheless delivers the intended lessons on war, death and rising to the occasion.more…
  • Mark Bretz – Ladue News
  • The 2014 festival has kicked off with a flourish with a sharp, incisive and resounding rendition of Henry IV, an exhilarating theatrical romp that is easy to appreciate and admire… A testament to Ocel’s pinpoint, disciplined direction is the uniformly precise acting of his sizable troupe…more…
  • Christopher Reilly – ALIVE magazine
  • Tim Ocel’s direction is sure handed, and he has excelled at making the story precise and clear, along with steady pacing that keeps the audience’s rapt attention. He’s also drawn some very fine performances from his cast. The real triumph of the production is the clarity with which the story is told. Even those not familiar with Shakespeare’s language won’t have too much trouble understanding what’s going on, thanks to the direction and quality performances throughout the cast… It is a great thing to have free Shakespeare in the park. When that Shakespeare is good, well-acted Shakespeare, it’s something special.more…
  • Chuck Lavazzi – OnStL.com
  • The Festival’s Henry IV is a genuine “ripping yarn,” with all the passion, pathos, intrigue, poetry of Shakespeare’s sharply-drawn characters brought to vibrant, compelling life on the outdoor stage… The show runs nearly three hours but feels much shorter thanks to Tim Ocel’s crisp, well-paced direction and first-rate performances.more…
  • Chris Gibson – Broadway World.com
  • … marvelous productions… Directors Tim Ocel (Henry IV) and Bruce Longworth (Henry V) guide each production with steady and sure hands. There is a definite balance struck between drama and humor that pays off in each work… dynamic and brilliant productions.more…

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

American Players Theatre, 2013
  • Mike Fischer – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • …director Tim Ocel finds the play’s dark and dangerous side, while challenging us to take its characters seriously. The result is the smartest and most truthful of the four productions of Two Gents — including the 2003 staging by APT itself — I’ve now seen. … a memorably staged final scene reminding us that even when those we hurt agree to move on, it doesn’t mean they’ll also agree to forget.more…
  • Lawrence B. Johnson – Chicago on the Aisle
  • …this summer’s sharply drawn, energetic and sly production at American Players Theatre makes a savvy, satisfying case for a comedy worth catching. …credit is surely due director Tim Ocel and a small ensemble of mostly young actors who have flung themselves into Shakespeare’s tale of love-smitten pals and the stunning betrayal perpetrated by one of them. It’s a funny play, but at its core also deeply serious, a credible coming-of-age story that Ocel and his troupe hone to a touching point. …a delightful excursion down one of the Bard’s less-traveled roads.more…
  • Aaron R. Conklin – Madison Magazine
  • …[APT] tackles this pimpled comedy with a humor, grace and awareness that elevates it above the mere comic trifle most of us typically take it for. …Give director Tim Ocel, a man who’s always championed the import of the play, major credit for recognizing the perils and navigating them with skill, especially when the proceedings take an even more abrupt turn for the darker at the play’s climax.more…
  • Lindsay Christians – The Capital Times
  • …through the lens of director Tim Ocel’s intelligent staging at APT, Two Gentlemen of Verona feels more like a romantic drama than a comedy. …Ambiguity, moral and otherwise, in Ocel’s production make Two Gentlemen more intriguing than it might be as a light-hearted exploration of fickle young love. more…

The Whipping Man

Indiana Rep/Geva Theater, 2013
  • Leah Stacy – Democrat and Chronicle
  • …spellbinding humanity. … Tim Ocel, to his abundant credit, gives the actors ample creative license with Lopez’s brilliantly written scenes. … It’s more than a production about slavery, war or Judaism. It’s a powerful ode to the fact, as Simon says, “There’s more than one way a man can be a slave.”more…
  • Herbert M. Simpson – Total Theater.com
  • …admirable production… Erhard Rom’s large, haunting set and Kendall Smith’s wonderfully evolving lighting dramatically support Tim Ocel’s moody, strangely real, stylized direction to make this production an unforgettable experience. …the play grippingly explores a number of serious elements of beliefs, behavior, and still-divisive American history by focusing on three very human characters caught in lives of bewildering comedy, tragedy, hate and affection.more…
  • Charles Giuliano – Total Theater.com
  • … On every level, the Indiana Repertory Theater production of The Whipping Man proves spot on. … From the first moment of this play, we’re enthralled by its superb technical presentation, the finely tuned direction of Tim Ocel which balanced three high voltage performances, and a truly fabulous set by Erhard Rohm. … This is a very dark and moody play about dark times. It is also as good as theater gets.more…

Speed-the-Plow

New Jewish Theater, 2013
  • Judith Newmark – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • …director Tim Ocel embraces Mamet and his distinctive voice, delivering a lusty treatment of this 1988 satire…more…
  • Chris Gibson – Broadway World.com
  • Marked by solid performances from the cast, the play is funny and telling in equal measure. …nicely constructed and executed, as well as providing ample food for thought. … Tim Ocel’s direction is well done and makes the most of each humorous and dramatic moment. …engaging and amusing production of Speed-the-Plow is well worth checking out.more…
  • Steve Allen – Stage Door St. Louis
  • … this is a smart, clever and appealing production due to some excellent … Tim Ocel has directed Speed-the-Plow with a clear mastery of David Mamet’s script. He hits all the right notes and, at times, overpowers us with the cutthroat business of making movies. …a superb production. more…
  • Bob Wilcox – KDHX
  • … Tim Ocel, who is a very smart director, has wanted to emphasize the contrast in the positions and the styles of the two men. … Mamet makes exciting theatre, and so does the New Jewish Theatre with Speed-the-Plow.more…
  • Robert A. Cohn – St. Louis Jewish Light
  • …crackling production…tautly and brilliantly directed by Tim Ocel, and performed with volcanic energy by the three-member cast…an incredible, almost poetic energy to the dialogue…by turns hilariously funny and oddly affecting. It was a superb choice by the New Jewish Theatre for its first Mamet play.more…

Jackie and Me

Metro Theater Company, 2013
  • Dennis Brown – The Riverfront Times
  • …relevant to young viewers and resonant for older audience members. This production succeeds in tapping into hearts of all ages. … From the moment you enter the Edison Theatre…you know you’re in for a good time. …the student audience with whom I saw Jackie and Me was rapt. …directed with affectionate verve by Tim Ocel…the play succeeds in instilling us with admiration for a time when America was changed because a few brave citizens were willing to confront our national flaws head-on. …you’ll be hard-pressed to see this feel-good story told with more charm and bald emotion than is currently on display in Jackie and Me.more…
  • Judith Newmark – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • … poignant wit…many small, smart touches…a pleasure for adults as well as for the kids who are its main audience. …director Tim Ocel’s versatile ensemble creates the illusion of many more actors than there actually are. Ocel’s stylized staging of baseball games is persuasive, too.more…
  • Mark Bretz – Ladue News
  • … a delightful rendition…It’s all tightly directed by Tim Ocel… Jackie and Me is fun at the old ballpark, as our own Cardinals announcer famously pronounces.more…
  • Donna Parrone – St. Louis Public Radio-KWMU
  • … the beauty of what Metro Theater does, it instructs while it entertains and opens opportunities for discussions between parents and children… The production values are abundant… Director Tim Ocel and his technical team have put together a deluxe spectacle… Even if you don’t have children, you should still see Jackie and Me.more…

The Children’s Hour

Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts, 2012
  • Dennis Brown – The Riverfront Times
  • …a venomous evening of compelling theater. Director Tim Ocel has managed to elevate Hellman’s skillful melodrama into operatic grandeur. … The production is so involving that by the time it draws to its inexorable close, a viewer well might feel drained and exhausted. This is riveting theater. … Director Ocel has a firm grasp of the story he wants to tell and how he wants to tell it. This is patient direction that allows the performances to find their rhythms. Ocel ping-pongs from hysterics to quietude and back, imbuing a potentially dusty period piece with tragic dimension. … This is a rare opportunity to see an enduring American play, performed astonishingly well.more…
  • Connie Bollinger – KDHX Radio
  • Director Tim Ocel chose his cast wisely and put together an effective, professional and altogether entertaining production made even more extraordinary by the fact that all the actors are still students at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts. The themes of The Children’s Hour are many and deeply layered. This production handles them beautifully.more…

Cloud Nine

University of Michigan — Ann Arbor, 2012
  • Jenn McKee – Ann Arbor News
  • Director Tim Ocel does a terrific job setting just the right tone, which is tricky: You don’t want to be too broad with the comedy, but you don’t want to suck the playful, whimsical sense of fun from the piece, either, while also allowing its more serious moments to land and resonate. (The last moment in particular is a surprisingly emotional knockout.)more…

Don Giovanni

Des Moines Metro Opera, 2012
  • Mark Thomas Ketterson – Opera News
  • …first-rate Don Giovanni…insightful staging by Tim Ocel that registered with the theatrical truth of a legit drama. …This was possibly the most satisfying Giovanni I have encountered on the regional opera scene in the U.S. …an enhanced sense of space in one of the most impressive physical productions seen at the house in recent memory.more…
  • Michael Morain – Des Moines Register
  • …lusty, absorbing, even a little raw, thanks to stage director Tim Ocel in his company debut.more…
  • Watch Tim talk about Don Giovanni: http://youtu.be/Y1OX7C7UXHc

The Taming of the Shrew

American Players Theatre, 2011
  • Mike Fischer – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • …as he proved last summer in directing APT’s stellar As You Like It, Tim Ocel is not your usual director, and he once more cuts against the grain in directing Shrew. … It is Petruchio who…liberates Kate and simultaneously frees himself, having seen in the shrew he first meets what he too has become. With tender eyes and an increasingly gentle demeanor, Ridge consistently conveys respect for a woman who does some taming here of her own, ensuring that she leaves the stage at play’s end as a partner rather than a prize.more…
  • Katie Reiser – The Isthmus
  • …in the capable hands of director Tim Ocel, we’re able to see the relationship evolve in a way that somehow makes sense… an examination of how love can shape and bend you without breaking you… Ocel keeps that action taut, and even a scene change late in Act II becomes an opportunity to amuse the audience. If you’ve avoided The Taming of the Shrew because of your discomfort with the idea of a strong-willed woman needing to be tamed, APT’s production might win you over.more…
  • Tom Strini – Third Coast Digest
  • …Ocel did not remake the play along feminist lines; he did The Taming of the Shrew as we know it. But he, Arnold and Ridge found something generous and progressive in it, and those qualities rises to the top to redeem a speech that is self-negating… Everything that happens in this funny, lively production supports that reading of the finale.more…

Dead Man Walking

Union Avenue Opera, 2011
  • Sarah Bryan Miller – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • … director Tim Ocel and everyone else involved really knocked themselves out for this one. It’s probably the finest production that UAO has ever done…. Ocel added meaning to every scene with his staging.more…
  • Chuck Lavazzi – Operatic St. Louis / KDHX
  • …a searing and riveting presentation that is simply one of best local opera productions since Opera Theatre’s Glorianna back in 2005… Absolutely every aspect of Union Avenue’s work is spot on. The cast is first-rate both vocally and theatrically—as good a collection of singers and actors (some roles are non-singing) as you will find anywhere. Tim Ocel’s direction is clear and focused…more…
  • Chris Gibson – Broadway World.com
  • Tim Ocel’s direction finds the heart at the center of this terrible happening… The Union Avenue Opera’s production of Dead Man Walking is a must-see event, heavy and searing, but well worth the humanity and the pain of forgiveness, for the sheer joy of seeing masterful performers at work.more…
  • Mark Bretz – Ladue News
  • …story-telling at its exhilarating best. With impeccable stage direction by Tim Ocel…Union Avenue Opera’s rendition of this spare, direct work is a stunning artistic achievement that never fails to keep the focus on the sobering story unfolding… Dead Man Walking is receiving its Missouri premiere in a riveting, absorbing production.more…
  • Gerry Kowarski – Two on the Aisle (HECTV)
  • The acting has the kind of detail and moment-to-moment responsiveness that we’d be lucky to see on any stage, not just in opera. For this we have to give credit to the director Tim Ocel … the most involving production of an opera I’ve ever attended…a landmark of St. Louis theatre.
  • Watch Video for full review: http://www.hectv.org/video/2479/august-25-2011/

As You Like It

American Players Theatre, 2010
  • Mike Fischer – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Whether you’re a Shakespeare nut or have never seen a Shakespeare play, this one is a “can’t miss,” worthy of a summer pilgrimage. …director Tim Ocel makes clear that pastoral in As You Like It is no picnic. …[a] hilarious send-up of 1930s movies transforms a throwaway scene of just 60 lines into the funniest three minutes I’ve seen this year on stage.more…
  • Michael Muckian – Express Milwaukee
  • …exceptional style and swagger, resulting in a comedic broth bubbling with both foolishness and wisdom…one highlight after another. Don’t miss this one.more…
  • William R. Wineke – Channel 3000.com
  • American Players Theatre opened its 2010 season Saturday with William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and, if that opening night production is indicative of the rest of the season, this is going to be a very good year. …director Tim Ocel—making his first appearance in Spring Green— pulled it off. The production not only works, but the setting makes the plot seem more understandable than it has seemed in more traditional settings.more…
  • Damien Jaques – OnMilwaukee.com
  • …a handful of theater folks occasionally take their work to a higher level of artistry that touches the sublime. They provide moments of marvel. This is what’s happening in the American Players Theatre’s outdoor production of As You Like It. Two newcomers to APT, Chicago-based actress Hillary Clemens and veteran theater and opera director Tim Ocel, are responsible for a glorious production that takes its place among the company’s all-time best. … The production is vivid and earthy… It all works without undermining the text because Ocel has an incredibly deft touch. The production brilliantly walks a tight rope of modern humor and fidelity to the script, and it never slips into excess.more…

Evie’s Waltz

Geva Theatre Center, 2009
  • Marcia Morphy – Democrat and Chronicle
  • Carter W. Lewis…rivets the audience to their seats for 80 minutes of gripping suspense. But it’s the actors who truly give Evie’s Waltz credence under the sensitive direction of Tim Ocel.more…

All’s Well That Ends Well

Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 2008
  • Terry Teachout – The Wall Street Journal
  • …Tim Ocel has given us a taut, dark All’s Well whose characters are cloaked in dour Victorian Black.more…
  • Lisa Jensen – Good Times Santa Cruz
  • …Ocel plays up its comic strengths—including one of Shakespeare’s most entertaining rascals—while acknowledging its complexities in an often pensive production enlivened by wit and warmth.more…
  • Karen D’Souza – San Jose Mercury News
  • Director Tim Ocel lets the wistful cynicism of the play slowly emerge from tender performances and a minimalist staging where the only ornamentation comes from the natural splendor of the glen. … There is a naturalism to the sensitive production that heightens the beauties of the text. A cast anchored by veteran classical actors gives the play a lucid reading that allows us to discover its unexpected riches.more…

The Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 2004
  • Robert Hurwitt – San Francisco Chronicle
  • Sharply paced and played with impeccable comic timing, it draws most of its humor from the script, making use of its modern-dress format for occasional inventive flourishes and fleeting pop references. Ocel’s primary focus is on re-imagining the Kate-Petruchio relationship—and the result is intriguing. … Ocel makes the taming less monstrous by having Petruchio suffer as much as Kate… The result, in Chandler’s knowing recital of Kate’s big submission speech, and Dean’s overwhelmed reaction, is unusually satisfying and touching.more…
  • Rob Pratt – Metro Santa Cruz
  • …a classy new vision of Shrew…that manages to sharpen the cutting battle-of-the-sexes wordplay while blunting some of the objectionable Elizabethan ideas about a wife’s duty to her husband. … Ocel’s shrewd direction smooth out many of the rocky ideas about the subjugation of women to male dominance… This Shrew looks and plays like a screwball comedy… Ocel creates a beautiful moment even when the play has concluded.more…
  • Anne Bennet – Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • …a marvelously funny Shrew. Ocel’s direction is well paced and visually pleasing, and the characters evolve with fine definition. … The production is a splendid one, and even after all these years, Kate and Petruchio never fail to play games with your imagination.more…
  • Christa Martin – Good Times Santa Cruz
  • Taming transforms what many would consider an archaic story of females “submitting” to their husbands, into a contemporary analysis of gender roles and marriage. Blending equal amounts of comedy with wit, intellect, stellar acting, vivid costumes and perfect direction, this show is a new SSC favorite. …wickedly and deliciously funny.more…

Carmen

Opera Theatre of St. Louis, 2004
  • Judith Malafronte – Opera News
  • Tim Ocel’s vivid, traditional staging and Dean Williamson’s sure command from the pit highlighted the ensemble aspect of this production, with sharp characterizations from the entire cast.more…
  • Lew Prince – The Riverfront Times
  • Director Tim Ocel…tastefully cranks the musk up to maximum in a satisfying, libidinous, entertaining and carefully thought-out production of this timeless classic. …eschews the usual histrionic acting style associated with opera. …the entire cast forgoes, for the most part, grand vocal gestures… an exceptional supporting cast… A fine balance is struck between colloquial dialogue and the slightly more formal language in which the songs are couched. Again the result is an element of realism rarely achieved—or, for that matter, attempted—in opera. The staging eloquently restates this aesthetic. …exceptional production…more…

Broadway Bound

Geva Theatre Center, 2004
  • Herbert M. Simpson – City Paper
  • Geva has treated Neil Simon awfully well in its now-complete trilogy… The last is the best… Director Tim Ocel doesn’t lose an iota of the play’s warm comedy, but his approach to this decidedly darker play is more realistically rueful than earlier versions I remember. … That all this remains funny and heartwarming is a measure of Simon’s deepening talent in this play; and Geva’s production is more than worthy of it. All the designers and supporting artists work at top level. …a must-see theatrical experience.more…
  • Mark Liu – Democrat and Chronicle
  • …it has been a treat to experience Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy over three seasons…the only real complaint is that the project is over. …this production generates plenty of laughter… Director Tim Ocel creates a wonderful study of contrasts. … In a heart-melting scene, Eugene and his mother re-enact her finest hour… you feel that these actors have truly created a family—one we’ll definitely miss.more…

Biloxi Blues

Geva Theatre Center, 2003
  • Herbert M. Simpson – City Paper
  • …a splendid January production of Brighton Beach Memoirs and now topping that with a flawless Biloxi Blues …rich in period flavor, a quality that Tim Ocel has nailed perfectly in the two that he’s directed thus far. Ocel has also softened the hardedge of the original Broadway production of Biloxi Blues to bring it an unsentimental but affectionate nostalgia that is very endearing.… I like everyone in this cast. …topnotch revival.more…
  • Mark Liu – Democrat and Chronicle
  • …a satisfying experience. …the story has a fierce struggle at its core, which bristles on stage thanks to finely tuned acting and excellent pacing by director Tim Ocel. … The acting feels trustworthy, with direction that doesn’t try to get flashy or cute. …intelligent, talented production.more…

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Geva Theatre Center, 2003
  • Herbert M. Simpson – City Paper
  • Geva Theatre Center’s spiffy new production is beautifully cast and tightly directed by Tim Ocel to preserve the comedy’s balance of touching reality and hilarious wit, without a single false note. … The production is nicely judged. … The whole cast is admirable.more…
  • Mark Liu – Democrat and Chronicle
  • Geva Theatre’s production…is a solid one …the impressive set works perfectly with the plays designs …there’s nothing left to hide behind except the truth.more…

L’Elisir d’Amore

Lyric Opera of Kansas City, 2003
  • Paul Horsley – Kansas City Star
  • The hardest part about putting on a comic opera is finding a mood that treads a delicate middle ground where mirth abounds but serious human themes are never shirked. When it clicks, you can feel it. …[Elixir] succeeded because director Tim Ocel and musical director Ward Holmquist had worked really hard to find that tone. The cast completed the process with high-octane singing and sophisticated character development. The sanguine staging and conducting and the vigorous acting made this dramatically one of the most satisfying productions of recent Lyric history. The attention to staging detail was so natural that you hardly noticed it…more…

Ghosts

Geva Theatre Center, 2002
  • Herbert M. Simpson – City Paper
  • Ghosts still packs an emotional wallop, as Geva Theatre’s excellent revival demonstrates. A first-rate cast…is playing the old shocker with sufficient integrity to show how timeless, true, and powerful this modern classic can be. … Tim Ocel’s beautifully blocked, tightly directed production is smartly gauged to achieve maximum honesty with understated dramatic force.more…
  • Mark Liu – Democrat and Chronicle
  • …taut, solid theatre that never sags. Geva Theatre’s sleek adaptation of Ghosts…is well suited to a contemporary audience and extremely well executed. …Ocel and the cast get it right, and it makes all the difference. It makes Ghosts a truly haunting experience.more…

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 2001
  • Valerie Ross – Metro Santa Cruz
  • …Ocel’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream blends ancient myth with modern aesthetics, and 18th-and 19th-century set elements with other worldly costumes and distinctly 21st century sensibilities. By doing so Ocel skillfully captures the play’s own blend of multiple realities and layers of mythic history. Balance is the theme behind Ocel’s vision…reconciling the differences and conflicts between the natural world of magic and love and the man-made world of law and war. … Ocel’s imaginative manipulation of Nature’s destructive and creative forces steals the show.more…
  • Mark de la Vina – San Jose Mercury News
  • …simple yet spirited, imaginative take on one of the most beloved comedies is intent on smashing the stodginess of reality. Director Tim Ocel’s lively rendering accentuates the endless possibilities of Midsummer Eve…Ocel and crew have brought fresh energy to the familiar setting…SSC’s new version not only uses the space in inventive ways but imaginatively suggests a willingness to dream. That openness to possibilities, so inherent in the play, makes the production all the more enchanting.more…
  • Bob Fenster – Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • …a madcap version…Staged at a rollicking comic clip…a vivid re-imagining … Director Tim Ocel, a veteran of innovative SSC comedies, makes Dream both accessible to people who haven’t seen a lot of Shakespeare and exciting fun for people who have. …under Ocel’s direction, the complications remain fluid and risingly funny… Ocel and scenic designer Dipu Gupta have some amusing surprises for the audience…and makes effective use of both the stage’s intimacy and the redwood glen’s sense of size and power.more…

La Boheme

Opera Theatre of St. Louis, 2001
  • Sarah Bryan Miller – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • …a winning production of Giacomo Puccini’s deservedly beloved La Boheme captivated the audience. Conductor Federico Cortese and director Tim Ocel led a talented cast of youthful singers in a musically lovely and dramatically inspired production. …more than its share of fine performers, from the small parts to large, and, for once, the boyish hijinks were entirely believable. … Ocel’s direction was a delight. He drew beautifully nuanced performances from his singers, and demonstrated an eye for the small detail and movements dictated by the music. He made the Act II crowd scene come alive with plenty to see in all corners of the stage, and proved himself much more than a traffic cop.more…
  • Paul Griffiths – The New York Times
  • …a thoroughly enjoyable La Boheme.more…
  • Heidi Waleson – The Wall Street Jounal
  • When they were actually doing Puccini, however, Opera Theatre came into its own. The traditional production of La Boheme, directed by Tim Ocel and designed by Erhard Rom (sets) and Robert Perdziola (costumes), flowed smoothly, and the singers knew what they were doing. … The production even improved as it went along: the fourth act, which can seem like a musical anticlimax after the heartbreak of the third, was the tightest and most moving of all.more…
  • John Allison – Opera
  • La Boheme received a near-ideal performance (June 23), sensitive, beautifully scaled and more than the sum of its parts. … Tim Ocel’s production in Erhard Rom’s sets—the most elaborate of the season, but still simple and apt—captured the freshness of Puccini’s masterpiece, not as easy as is often thought. Even in this most traditional corner of the repertory, Opera Theatre showed what makes it one of the most special opera companies in America.more…

Le Nozze di Figaro

Opera Pacific, 2000
  • David Gregson – Opera News
  • …this Figaro was so lithe and airy, so swift and funny, so wonderfully sung that only an incurable curmudgeon could complain about its length. … Perhaps it was thanks to the influence of stage director Tim Ocel (replacing an ailing Colin Graham) that Bernstein’s comic persona never stooped to easy slapstick. Humanity counted more than shtick. …soprano Christine Brandes too avoided superfluous comedy …scenes blended into one another like lightning, and although the show was not overtly played for laughs, the opening night audience was in stitches through-out. more…
  • Timothy Mangan – The Orange County Register
  • …we have all behaved as the characters in Figaro do. That is the beauty of Opera Pacific’s production. It trusts us to get it. One could call the production, which originated at the Banff Festival and is directed here by Tim Ocel, straightforward, even plain, but that wouldn’t do it justice. Call it elegantly simple and quietly understanding. … Judgment isn’t passed. Lubitsch could have directed this. …this approach…never obscures Mozart’s music, which just happens to be pretty good. … The excellent cast—perhaps taking cue—forge a true ensemble and stay within their roles. The principals are characterized by freshness of voice, confident acting and unselfish singing.more…

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 1999
  • Steven Winn – San Francisco Chronicle
  • …Tim Ocel’s vigorous California-look Two Gentlemen, by far the better of the two Shakespeare shows… The plot’s abrupt swerves make a kind of blunt sense here. …telling small touches…more…
  • Mark de la Vina – San Jose Mercury News
  • …a swift and entertaining show. Director Tim Ocel…has turned one of Shakespeare’s most maligned plays into a limber, refreshingly waggish contemporary retelling of the story… Ocel festoons the whole affair with amped-up characters and colorfully reworked scenes. …full of wonderful moments…more…
  • Heather Zimmerman – Metro Santa Cruz
  • Shakespeare Santa Cruz stages a smart, modernized production of the play that’s plenty of fun but that also fully exposes the uneasiness of its final accord.more…
  • Lisa Jensen – Good Times Santa Cruz
  • Considered one of Shakespeare’s lesser plays, the romantic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona gets a production worthy of a classic… Credit Tim Ocel, fast becoming one of the festival’s most reliable directors, who demonstrated his understanding of how Shakespearean comedy and romance work in his delightful past productions of Twelfth Night and As You Like It. … Ocel circumvents the problematic plot with an engaging and spirited cast and a straightforward production that achieves its effects with inventive subtlety rather than frantic brio.more…

Billy Budd

Lyric Opera of Kansas City, 1999
  • Scott Cantrell – Opera News
  • …a gripping Billy Budd. Stage director Tim Ocel imagined the whole opera through Vere’s memory—hence the stylized unit set (by Erhard Rom), with its battered, upturned deck, and the distant, silent confrontations between Vere and Billy … Ocel played down Claggart’s attraction to Billy to focus, instead, on a mysterious magnetism between the young sailor and Vere. Having the hanged Billy swinging in the background, in front of a huge moon, made Vere’s final soliloquy almost unbearably poignant.more…
  • Robert Marcow – Opera
  • …unquestionably one of the most artistically fulfilling and viscerally exciting productions of any opera I have encountered in a long time. One could almost taste the salt spray in the air …one of those rare productions where every element came together in one perfectly coordinated, combined effort. At times the aura of menace and tension was almost palpable. … Nearly every vocalist demonstrated theatrical training as well, resulting in an evening of great theatre enhanced by the power of Britten’s wonderfully evocative score. It was a night to remember and a production worthy of any operatic stage in the world.more…
  • Scott Cantrell – Kansas City Star
  • …superbly cast and provocatively staged… Lyric has a real find in stage director Tim Ocel, who in an opera very much about human ambiguities has plumbed new depths of nuance.more…

The Cherry Orchard

Conservatory of Theatre Arts, 1999
  • Harry Webber – The Riverfront Times
  • Tim Ocel…who has directed this production with the most delicate sensibility, coupled with absolutely breathtaking dramatic acuity, fields a cast of young actors so good that I kept saying to myself that this character or that, in small role or large, was the key to understanding the play. Mr. Ocel’s triumph, ensemble performance…simply doesn’t allow you to notice that a tall, fit young man is acting the part of a 90-year-old servant because you’re so interested in what he’s doing that what he is has become merely accidental. …compelling performances …substance as well as theatrical competence …uniformly first-class production. It’s the best Cherry Orchard I’ve ever seen and, in its way, the best production of any play I’ve seen in St. Louis for a couple of years.more…

Measure for Measure

Georgia Shakespeare Festival, 1998
  • Dan Hulbert – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • In Tim Ocel’s terrific production for the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, even with the crystal clarity of the whole ensemble’s acting, the play’s essential mystery remains. This Measure is a dark, uncompromising vision, but as entertaining as any frothy farce in the sense that we care deeply about the characters and for three hours are galvanized by their journey.more…
  • Jim Farmer – On Stage
  • Director Tim Ocel gives the Bard’s work some fresh energy of his own, creating numerous haunting images. What’s so resonant is how valid Shakespeare’s work comes across today… The ensemble cast is dead-on, with all the leads connecting. … Even the smaller roles are aces. …it’s three hours long, but it’s time well spent. If you’ve never seen a Georgia Shakespeare Festival production, this is a dandy intro.more…
  • Curt Holman – Creative Loafing
  • …Ocel highlight[s] the play’s darker aspects, and it’s a very fruitful approach. …moody Measure still brims with excitement at theater’s power to give life to ideas and put symbols into motion.…an ending that’s dissatisfied audiences for centuries and Ocel turns that very unease into an advantage.more…