Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spotlight On...Ron Simons

Name: Ron Simons (not pronounced like Simmons)

Hometown: Detroit

Education: BA from Columbia College, MBA from Columbia Business School & MFA from University of Washington’s Professional Actor’s Training Program

Favorite Credits: Acting: Night Catches Us; Producing: Turn Me Loose, Jitney & A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Why theater?: It’s a living, breathing thing that requires a live audience to complete its experience.  No two performances are ever exactly the same

Tell us about Jitney: The first of August Wilson’s 10 play cycle and the last to appear on Broadway.  What makes this project so timely are the current politics climate where diversity is not celebrated, a resurgence of August Wilson (aided in no small part by the success of the film "Fences"), the attachment of one of August Wilson’s best interpreters (Reuben Santiago Hudson) and that pixy dust which enabled all the creatives of Jitney to offer brilliant caliber of  work.

What inspired you to produce Jitney?: I've loved August Wilson for a long time.  I'm not only a huge fan of his work but found his sharing his company reassuring, supportive and inspiring.  When the opportunity came to help produce this play I jumped on it!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: What or who inspires you as an artist?: I appreciate all types of theater.  The kind of theater that really moves me must always begin with a great story.  After that if the piece haunts me after the curtain falls because it caused me to reconsider what I think to be true or takes the time to explore one or more facets of the human condition, then I'm engaged!  What inspires me are stories that uplift the spirit and/or challenge my preconceived notions. Well August Wilson for sure.  It's quite a long list but here goes: David Oyelowo, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Pedro Almodovar, Wes Craven (I know, who knew?), Wes Anderson, Chekov and Billy Shakespeare.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Oh Man!  Sooo many!  Well including all the names listed above (William Shakespeare, may he Rest In Peace) I'd add John Singleton, Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: If by show you mean theater I'd say: Jitney (no surprise) and The Meeting @ Joe’s Pub. For film all three of my recommendations have gotten Oscar nods: "Hidden Figures", "Moonlight" and "Fences".

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Forest Whitaker in “What Will I Be When I Grow Up.”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Paul Robeson in Othello

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Porn (TOTALLY kidding!  I think.).  Probably the burger and fries from Dick’s in Seattle.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A veterinarian

What’s up next?: Turn Me Loose on Broadway

For more on Ron, visit