A sample of critics’ observations on Cardinal’s work:
2018 SYRACUSE AREA LIVE THEATRE AWARD (SALT): Play of the Year, On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson. RedHouse Arts Center.
2017 SYRACUSE AREA LIVE THEATRE AWARD (SALT): Best Director for Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare. The production was also honored as Best Play with 4 Best Actor Awards, and the Best Scenic Design Award. RedHouse Arts Center.
2017 TOP 10 BEST REGIONAL PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION: Noises Off at Connecticut Repertory Theatre. - Nancy Sasso Janis, Patch & OnStage
On Connecticut Repertory Theatre, CT:
(Cardinal) is reinvigorating CRT, which could quickly become a true contender in Connecticut's lively regional theater scene.
Cardinal's national reputation as a theater artist of talent and high standards and as an esteemed educator are clearly attractive to veteran and up-and-coming performers and creative collaborators.
…he (Cardinal) has struck a theatrical trifecta, drawing on big-name artists, early and mid-career professionals and recent graduates from theater programs around the nation. The cast sings, acts and moves as a cohesive ensemble and has a great time, winning the audience from the start.
The Hartford Courant
…a welcome return to form and among the strongest slate of offerings on any stage in the Nutmeg State. Congratulations to Artistic Director Vincent Cardinal…
Artistic Director and Department Head Vincent J. Cardinal should be both pleased and proud of the valuable contribution CRT makes to the theatre world and the efforts to pass the baton of live theatre to young and passionate newcomers.
Pillow Talking Blog
So: if you like adventurous theater that showcases imagination and highly trained ensemble performers, I'd recommend the trek to Storrs, CT..
Connecticut Critics’ Circle
How to Succeed is a fitting finale for Vincent J. Cardinal, Connecticut Repertory Theatre Artistic Director... He’s brought talents like Cassie Abate, John Pike, Terrence Mann, Riley Costello, Leslie Uggams, and more to Storrs. He’s jumpstarted the careers of some exciting young actors... He’s turned UConn’s theatre scene into something vibrant
The Westfield News
Honored as one of the “Top Five Directors In Connecticut” by CBS News Connecticut.
World Premiere of I'm Connecticut - “10 Best Productions of 2011” by The Hartford Courant
Regional Premiere of Odysseus D.O.A critics’ choice - “Best Play In Connecticut 2012” by Broadway World
On The Laramie Project, Connecticut Repertory Theatre:
Named 2015 Best Production of a Play by The Westfield News Group, Massachusetts
Named Connecticut Theatre's Best of 2015 by On Stage
… so powerful, you could hear a tear drop.
- Greg Ehrhardt, OnStage
In the hands of director Vincent J. Cardinal, and a terrific acting ensemble of eleven, all of whom play multiple parts, The Connecticut Repertory Theatre production of The Laramie Project is intense theatre at its finest.
Cardinal uses simple production techniques… and weaves together an evening that unfolds thrillingly with balance.
The Laramie Project, a brilliant and absorbing piece of theatre given this outstanding production by Connecticut Repertory Theatre shows the power of theatre to tell a story of our times. It’s one of the most intense, yet satisfying evenings of theatre I’ve experienced in a while.
- Mark Auerbach, The Westfield News
On Noises Off with Jennifer Cody, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, 2017:
It was well-paced, well-acted and most of all, hilarious. I do not recall the last time I laughed so much in the theatre...
Vincent J. Cardinal's direction was strong and as previously noted, at a pace where the action never stopped, but with the right balance of verbal and physical comedy.
Overall CRT's production of NOISES OFF is a hilarious evening of theatre. I overheard one patron as they left the show say that their face hurt from laughing so much. And I can attest - it really is that funny.
- Joseph Harrison, Broadway World
Director Vincent J. Cardinal gives the play a lively, disciplined sheen, which is so important in a show like this where one false move can spell disaster. He brings precision and exactitude to the production as well as eliciting both subtle and rollicking performances from the actors.
- Stu On Broadway
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) has done it again. Big time. They have magnificently staged this robust, outrageous farce with such verve and vigor, it will literally have you falling out of your seat…
…not everyone can pull off such buffoonery and improbability to true humorous effect. But this spectacular cast of nine, under the masterful direction of Vincent J. Cardinal, did just that and more.
To call this fine CRT troupe a well-oiled machine wouldn’t do them justice. In fact, they were truly among the best ensemble of actors I’ve ever seen…
There were countless moments during Noises Off in which I truly couldn’t imagine how Vincent J. Cardinal and his cast pulled this off. While there is not a dance to be seen, there was a tight choreography to the physical slapstick that blew doors (pun intended) on even the best musical dance sequences. Suffice it to say, you’ll be picking your slack jaw up from the theatre floor.
- Stephanie C. Lyons, Pillow Talking Reviews
…I was laughing so hard at CRT’s Noises Off that I thought I was going to have to stop at the ER on my way home because of a couple of cracked ribs.
CRT’s production makes it look easy-peasy. Indeed, it was a riotous, brilliantly staged piece of theatre. The cast was incredible and the comedic pacing impeccable. Vincent Cardinal, who directed Michael Frayn’s 1982 play, did a superb job. It takes a special creative visionary to pull all of the moving parts of a play like Noises Off together into a unified whole that works and Mr. Cardinal is just the director who can do it. He has an intuitive and instinctual knack when it comes to comedy and to know what works and what doesn’t with today’s audiences. As is the case with all great directors, he has a special talent for extracting the best possible performances from his cast of actors.
- Wayne J. Keeley, Pillow Talking Reviews
..."Noises Off" is an exceptional treat.
- Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant
Credit must be given to director Vincent J. Cardinal who has molded his cast of seasoned professionals and aspiring ones into a well-oiled machine. He has also added some creative directorial touches. The show moves quickly and the laughter keeps on coming.
- Karen Isaacs, Two On The AIsle
On A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Monomoy Theatre, Cape Cod:
A play is a puzzle: acting, directing, set, lighting, costumes are all pieces. Seldom do they fit together to form a perfect whole – usually something is slightly off, if not missing altogether. There’s nothing missing here.
A word should be said about the direction of this play, provided by Vincent J. Cardinal. The movement on the rather limited stage is so smooth and so physical; one almost expects to see a choreographer listed in the credits. Playing this comedy with such physicality also allows for more humorous moments liberally sprinkled throughout. The final few minutes of this play, where the laborers get to present their little drama, are, I would imagine, among the merriest to be found on a Cape stage this summer.
Cape Cod Times
On The Curious Case of Phineas Gage, Split Knuckle Theatre, NY:
With a top-notch quartet, tight direction, and smart writing, this show has the potential to be the next The 39 Steps. The show was tight and director Vince Cardinal ensured every single moment landed.
Theatre In The Now
Director Vince Cardinal uses the small space brilliantly, creating havoc, mayhem, and mystery with a rolling curtained frame and a trunk of wondrous props.
NY Theatre Now
Director Vincent Cardinal makes good use of DROM’s tiny stage and keeps the pace flowing through all of the costume and prop changes that transition the ensemble from character to character, using only a clothing rack with a curtain as his set, the curtain doubling as a projection screen for “slides”.
…thanks to engaging performances and inventive staging from director Vince Cardinal... Cardinal uses simple curtains, mounted on wheels in the center of the stage, to great effect. When we meet P.T. Barnum, he pops out from the top with his back to the audience, turning to speak to us in profile, as befitting a man of his legendary stature and mystique. At other moments, an elephant’s trunk flicks out from behind it, or the curtains part in the middle to reveal a mermaid, or the convincingly miniature personage of Tom Thumb.
In yet another scene, one of the curtains becomes a billowing cape, attached to the body of Greg Webster as Phineas, who is laid out over a stool so that it appears he is racing across the surface of the moon.
New York Theatre Review
Directed energetically by Vince Cardinal The Curious Case of Phineas Gage, is the kind of show that fills one with wide eyed, childlike wonder, without condescending to one’s adult intelligence. It’s a theatrical spectacle that seems so effortless only because each and every element has been tuned to perfection.
Stage Buddy: Your Guide To Entertainment
...loopy and resourceful.
New York Times
On King Dusyanta: A Tale From Kalidasa, Oasis Theatre Company, NY:
It’s a beauty, this little production... ...exceptionally well scripted by Vincent J. Cardinal
The direction, also by Cardinal, is tight and focused. He knows exactly what he wants and... fortunately how to get it. ...a director with a strong hand and a clear mind.
Cardinal has beautifully adapted the original work for the Western stage. That is to say, it is completely comprehensible while maintaining the magic and ritual power that it surely evoked in its original audience
The Buffalo News
On Romeo and Juliet, Connecticut Repertory Theatre:
Cardinal also deserves kudos for his sharp staging of the famous, but usually difficult to pull off, balcony scene. With a terrace that moves to jut out over the thrust stage, he creates distance and depth... The technique also unites the audience with the character.
The Journal Inquirer
Vincent J. Cardinal directs this complex tale with a strong hand and a surprising number of humorous moments.
Connecticut Critics’ Circle
On Steve Hayes’ Hollywood Reunion, Bateman-Harris Productions, NYC:
There's much to enjoy in Reunion, which has been directed with an easy hand by Cardinal.
Director Vincent J. Cardinal's simple staging lets Hayes's evocative powers shine through.
On Guys and Dolls, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, CT:
…CRT Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardinal delivers a quintessential Guys and Dolls. … this production is the real deal. … Director Cardinal has cast his show smartly with seasoned professionals alongside energetic fresh faces.
On The Odd Couple with Pat Sajak, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, CT:
Vincent J. Cardinal, Connecticut Rep’s artistic director, has directed his cast with excellent timing and laughter…
The New York Times
On Queens Blvd. by Paul Corrigan, off-Broadway:
Director Vincent J. Cardinal has a sharp eye and a light touch, wisely emphasizing the playwright’s obvious affection for two aging Queens who live minutes from Manhattan, but light years away.
Vincent J. Cardinal’s direction keeps the fun bubbling merrily along.
...determined direction... Director Vincent J. Cardinal paces the show smartly and has actors fill every nook and cranny… with comic business.
On Man of La Mancha with Terrence Mann, Connecticut Repertory Theatre:
How fortunate that Vincent Cardinal’s current revival at Connecticut Repertory Theatre has made me reevaluate and develop a new appreciation for the piece. Cardinal shows that he knows how to stage large scenes with clarity and intimate scenes with focus. The energy never flags and the show, overall, is beguiling. Make it your quest to see this Man of La Mancha.
On The Sunshine Boys with Jerry Adler and Richard Kline, Connecticut Repertory Theatre:
Director Vincent J. Cardinal finds a wonderful onstage rapport among veteran actors Jerry Adler and Richard Kline and UConn alum Richard Ruiz to propel CT Repertory Theater’s fine production of Neil Simon’s 1972 comedy The Sunshine Boys
Vincent J. Cardinal directs this fun-filled rampage, like a merry-go-round running out of control…
The Mansfield Patch
On Gypsy: A Musical Fable with Leslie Uggams, Connecticut Repertory Theatre:
…a multiracial cast so well directed by Vincent J. Cardinal that, for once, skin color truly made no difference.
Gay City News, NY
…a rousing production of what many consider the greatest of all American musicals.
The Boston Globe
Cardinal has found some new ways into the material by picking apart some small traditions and… nudging the audience into fresh theatrical air.
The Sondheim Review
...an important moment in theater history. And it’s happening right here in Connecticut.
Connecticut Arts Connection
Featured as The Boston Globe’s “Best Bet” two consecutive weekends.
On How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying with Fred Grandy, Connecticut Repertory Theatre:
Vincent Cardinal... creates a fast-paced, fantastical atmosphere that — played against scenic designer Tim Brown's clean, bright, shifting walls and backdrops — has a cool, kitschy comic-strip quality to it.
Hartford Courant, CT
On The Foreigner by Larry Shue, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, Utah:
The Foreigner is the third best selling production in the Festival’s history.
Director Vincent J. Cardinal keeps his players tight, focused, and wonderful. He has chosen a dream team and then amped it up even higher. It’s a beautiful message and one that is wrapped up in some of the best comedy I’ve ever seen…
Jennifer Mustoe, Front Row Reviewers, Salt Lake City, Utah
“The Foreigner” is a true gem at this year’s festival...a humorous gift to all and should not be missed if you plan on taking a trip down to Cedar City.
Cristy Meiners & Lottie Peterson Johnson, Desert News, Salt Lake City, Utah
On On Golden Pond by Ernst Thompson, RedHouse, Syracuse, NY:
Part Neil Simon, part Norman Rockwell and as comforting as s'mores at a July campfire, the show is the perfect tone-setter for the Redhouse's next act. ... director Vincent Cardinal keeps things brisk and breezy, like life "On Golden Pond."
Len Fonte, The Post Standard, Syracuse