top of page


"A rollicking good time!  With delightful visual surprises provided by director James Dean Palmer.  A rousing spirit!"  Jay Handleman, Herald Tribune

"Director James Dean Palmer kicks Hamill’s farce into overdrive.  Thanks to Palmer’s direction, the audience alternates between belly laughs and sobs.  All this madly creative genre-bending, gender-bending, and rule-breaking, adds up to a very funny play."  Marty Fugate, Your Observer

HAMLET (at home)

"Directors James Dean Palmer and Myah Shein took the show online with an all-female variant of Hamlet, and created perhaps the single most visually exciting production of the coronavirus era in 2020. Fronted by the debuting and dazzling artist Eliana Rowe as Hamlet, it was one of the shows that I not only was amazed by, but had to watch more than once." ~ Rodney Hakim, New York Shakespeare Year In Review 2020



"This Tempest urges us to take note of these diverse bodies and identities onstage, but also asks us to share Miranda’s vision of a world where those differences no longer alienate us.  In the freshest staging moment from James Dean Palmer, Ferdinand leads Miranda in a buoyant dance, wheelchair included, accompanied by a cadre of singing, dancing children.  A vibrant commitment to inclusive casting and deeply conscious of each of these aspects of identity." - Dan Rubins,



“Under the direction of James Dean Palmer the actors inhabit their worlds, whether then or now, with plausibility and passion, bringing their characters to vivid, colorful life.  It’s worth it to take a most unusual journey through time and human curiosity. As Hannah says, ‘It’s wanting to know that makes us matter.’” - Kay Kipling, Sarasota Magazine


"Director James Dean Palmer successfully keeps Stoppard’s intellectual and emotional plates spinning in the air — with no breakage at all.” - Marty Fugate, Your Observer 


"Palmer clarifies passages of philosophical, literary, mathematical and scientific theory with glances, gestures and a truly human response” - Maureen Martin, Herald Tribune



"An unexpected gem!  The Texas Shakespeare Festival’s ‘King John’ shines brilliantly. Fast-paced with dynamic performances throughout. Its exploration of the absurd pitfalls of political maneuvering seems to be more resonant every day." - Andy Coughlan, English With A Bit of Texas



"Fast-paced production and energetic performances bring a lot of life to a still-compelling story about greed, corruption and political power.  A keen sense of meaning and depth." Jay Handelman, Herald Tribune



“Creative genius! Simultaneously traditional and modern and very, very well done. It is like no other version ever created, for all the right reasons." — Susan McDonald, The Providence Journal 


"The mother of reinvention!  We couldn't wait to see what would come next.  Leaves us feeling as exuberant as Scrooge when he wakes up on Christmas Day."  — Kathie Raleigh, The Sun Chronicle 


"Outstanding!  One of Trinity's most unique and intriguing Yuletide offerings to date.  James Dean Palmer provides that steady hand."  — Veronica Bruscini, Broadway World 


"Awash in great good humor, brimming with original and interesting tweaks and turns, enough to make us fall in love with the piece once again. This Carol is a bright theatrical bulb." — Rich Fahey, On Boston Stages 


“Wondrous! One of the best things about the season, especially needed during a tumultuous time in our country. A tradition you won't want to miss!" — Will Demers, Edge Media Network 


"The ultimate salve for any wound, a story of transformation from hate and bitterness to love and charity. A Christmas Carol reminds us, there has always been and will always be, hope." — Grace Kelly, RI Monthly



"A brilliant production.  Palmer and Scenic Designer Deb O ingeniously recreate the space.  Precise direction.  A theater event this daring and of this caliber comes along only once in a great while and can only be described as extraordinary. To miss this remarkable opportunity would be... well, a real tragedy."   - Christopher Verleger, Edge Media Network



“Four Stars!!! Unconventional, provocative, breathtaking. [Lear] will have particular resonance for, oh, everybody!” - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago


“James Palmer’s smart production affords insights into the anguished, paradoxical bond between children and their parents.” - Tony Adler, Chicago Reader


“Director James Palmer works with an adept cast to give life and the illusion of direction to these narcissists and moral midgets.”  - Lawrence Bommer, Chicago Theatre Beat 



“Every element of James Palmer's brilliantly staged, terrifying Tympanic Theatre Company production amps up the tension” HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader


“Non-linear storytelling is tricky to pull off, but James D. Palmer’s direction keeps the action moving.  A whirlwind with a chill that will be hard to shake as you exit into the brisk autumn darkness” - Clint May, Chicago Critic


“A gripping tale of revenge is expertly turned on it’s head... one of those rare productions where a fantastic cast and a fantastic script come together.”   - Anuja Vaidya, Chicago Theater Beat 



Four Stars and Show of the Week – Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago


“Director James Palmer fills the Big Top with a-whole-lotta acts orchestrat[ing] carnies, townies and the six- piece band in a relatively small space. The feel has all the death-defying marvel of a real-life circus.” - Katy Walsh, Chicago Theatre Beat


“Director James D. Palmer creates a sepia-toned flashback with rootsy old-time songs from house band The New Switcheroo and a versatile cast that knows how to sing them.” - Lisa Buscani, New City Chicago


“Red Tape never breaks its spell and the pathetic slaughter of a five-ton rogue named Mary won’t be soon forgotten." - Lawrence Bommer, Chicago Stage Style 



Four Stars and Show of the Week – Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago


“One of the more arresting evenings of theater going on right now.” - Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune


“Two dazzling one-acts by experimental playwright Young Jean Lee...Like the playlets themselves, James Palmer's immersive staging for Red Tape Theatre is funny, sad, strange and ultimately, unexpectedly uplifting” - Zac Thompson, Chicago Reader


“Challenging, curious, free of artifice and utterly disarming.” 4 Stars! - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago “The pieces, both smartly directed by James Palmer, are highly immersive affairs” - Chicago Theatre Addict 



"A futuristic, fully immersive, hyperstylized theatricality... Director James Palmer and his first-rate design team have conjured up a strange steam-punk universe of mannequins and dystopian violence. It's a helluva performance." - Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune


“Palmer’s production is stunning, with images and scenes of immense power and thrilling theatricality. Full credit should go to the cast, an eye-popping 23, who commit fully to a challenging script and complex staging.” - Zev Valancy, CenterStage


“Red Tape’s Love of the Nightingale was refreshing, bizarre, and remarkably resonant. Palmer and his cast explode the story into life, ripping it from its ancient Greek context and filling it with anachronism and theatricality. The dream team of designers Palmer amassed has concocted a marvelous world.” - Barry Eitel, Chicago Theatre Blog 


"Red Tape's production is top-notch design-wise, and it's even more effective thanks to James Palmer's direction.  Palmer masterfully uses the spaces at St. Peter's Episcopal Church to prevent audiences from just being casual viewers. Instead, Palmer directly questions what you might do if you were a citizen of a poisoned community, and this makes Enemy of the People even more powerful and timely—with or without real-life headlines. - Scott Morgan, Windy City Times

"Director James Palmer has added some clever touches and some wonderful surprises that makes the audience feel much closer to the events that are happening both on the stage and what we read and hear in the news. I won't tell you what these twists are and I am hopeful that the other reviewers do the same." Al Bresloff, Chicago Stage Standard

"Director James Palmer doesn’t ignore the comedic elements (including a winning scene where Tammy imagines the joyous public reaction to her discovery), but also revels in the complex situations brought about by feminizing the lead. As a sister, mother, wife and valiant rebel, Tammy is a resilient, relatable source and her final familial breakdown is a wonder."  Brian First, Chicago Free Press

bottom of page