Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spotlight On...Elizabeth Simmons

Name: Elizabeth Simmons

Hometown: Hagerstown, MD

Education: Point Park University, Conservatory of the Performing Arts, City College of New York, Master's Candidate, Educational Theatre

Select Credits: GoodbadUgly (Players Theatre); Hysteria (Rep Stage); Brighton Beach Memoirs (Broward Stage Door); Table Manners (Garage Theatre Group); Boston Marriage (Actors Theatre of Washington)

Why theater?: Doing theatre makes me feel more satisfied and powerful than anything else.

Tell us about David’s RedHaired Death:
In our rehearsals we asked ourselves the question, what is this play about? Is it about two redheads, loss, grief, regret? With our director, Michael Rau, we focused in on grief, and the process of it. Jean and Marilyn each mourn for something in the play, in their own way. And they're each vulnerable in their own way.

What made you want to produce this show: David's RedHaired Death has been in the back of my mind for eight years since I first heard of it in Washington DC. The actress in the original cast, Jennifer Mendenhall was in the same community as me and I admire her work very much. You don't see many two women shows at all, especially ones with such depth of language and also elements like non-linear time. It really had something mysterious and special that spoke to me. When I met Diana Beshara, my co-star and co-producer, I knew she was someone I would make good theatre with. We both suffered a tragedy around Christmas, my Aunt died suddenly and I was left with the idea of this script and producing it. To be actually doing it now is such a surprise and an honor.

What kind of theater speaks to inspires you as an artist?: Oh my gosh, so much. I've always been drawn to contemporary theatre and new works, although I started out in musical theatre. I am a singer as well; if a company could find the same truths that I see in a well done straight play, I would be auditioning for every show! Classic American theatre excites me too because of the historical aspect and the language.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Stella in Streetcar Named Desire. And a newer one, the title role in Becky Shaw.

What’s your favorite showtune?: "Send in the Clowns" when Bernadette sings it.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I admire the Women's Project here in NYC. I would be such an honor to work with them as an actor.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Julia Stiles in "Bravely Onward", or Drew Barrymore in "Foot in Mouth", I can't decide!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Well, these e-cigarettes we've been using for the show are pretty good all of a sudden!

What’s up next?: I'm graduating with my Masters in the Spring, and am partnering with the Center for Arts Education and the Brooklyn Academy of Music as a Teaching Artist. I also hope to do another show at one of my favorite theaters in NYC, New Jersey, Florida, or Washington DC.