imagesCarl Occhipinti, long-time, retired Artistic Director of Village Players, pass away on January 3, 2014 at the age of 61.  For many, Carl, was the heart and soul of the late Village Players.  Oak Park Festival Theatre joins area theater lovers and all whose lives were touched by this remarkable and passionate man in mourning his all too early exit from the stage.

Occhipinti shared his prodigious talents for acting, directing and fundraising and his unstintingly generous heart not just with the theater community but with all, bringing people together to make the world a better, brighter, kinder place.

Former OPFT Managing Director, himself the heartbeat of our theater, Galen Gockel said of Carl that he “single-handedly kept Village Players afloat for years….it was his passion. I suspect he had a cot hidden away there so he could sleep overnight in one of the dressing rooms after a hard days’ work. At the final tribute to him to him upon his retirement, the theater was packed with admirers and those with whom he had worked. A perfect gentleman.”  OPFT’s current Artistic Director, Jack Hickey commented, “Carl was a gentle, compassionate, and genuine man. I was delighted when he hired me to direct You Can’t Take It With You for Village Players. He tried to foster cooperation between Festival Theatre and Village Players. He will be missed.”

OPFT extends our condolences to Carl’s long-time partner, Gary Shum, and everyone whose lives were touch by his life.