Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop has been a BWW contributor in Tucson, Reno/Sacramento and Toronto, before landing in Phoenix. She was born in rural Arizona in 1959. Her family moved to Toronto in 1970 and she fell in love with the theatre after seeing, with her 7th grade class, the legendary production of Godspell (featuring Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy and Martin Short). She performed dozens of roles in regional theatre and stock in the US and Canada and began directing while still in her teens. Jeanmarie is Founding Artistic Director of the Nevada Shakespeare Company (NSC), from which she retired in 2008. With NSC she directed many projects, wrote original works and played myriad parts including Maud Gonne in Sailing to Byzantium, Gertrude in Hamlet, Lady M in Macbeth and Elsa in The Road to Mecca, directed by Zakes Mokae. Jeanmarie wrote and performed 263 times (including a run Off-Broadway) the play A Single Woman, about the life of first US Congresswoman and lifelong pacifist, Jeannette Rankin. She also starred in the film version that featured Judd Nelson, the voices of Martin Sheen and Patricia Arquette and the music of Joni Mitchell. In 2007, she appeared at the historic Beverly Hills Theatre 40 in the American premiere of the solo tour-de- force Shakespeare’s Will, produced by Leonard Nimoy. Jeanmarie is a lifetime member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). While attending a December 2008 meeting of WILPF’s Tucson branch, she met Shannon Cain, co-editor of the anthology Powder: writing by women in the ranks from Vietnam to Iraq. The two quickly agreed that the book could make a fine theatre piece, and Coming In Hot was conceived. Following an adaptation and rehearsal period of nine months, the play opened at Tucson’s Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. Simpson began an international tour of Coming In Hot in March of 2010, taking it throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She was commissioned by the Be the Change project to create a piece based on interviews with Dreamers; Liberty’s Children premiered at the Potentialist Workshop in Reno, Nevada in March 2014. She toured with Mary’s Joy from 2011-2014. She was denied entry at England’s Heathrow airport in February 2015, after which she took a hiatus from theatre for 18 months. She now performs the play under a new title, The Joy. Jeanmarie is a retired member of Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatists Guild of America. She lives with her husband, Dan, in a cottage with a garden in Glendale, Arizona.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Feature: Brelby Theatre Spring Classes - Nurturing Artist Growth in the ValleyBrelby Theatre Spring Classes - Nurturing Artist Growth in the Valley
Posted: Feb. 21, 2017


BWW Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theatre WorksBWW Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theatre Works
Posted: Feb. 27, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Interview: Shelby Maticic of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Interview: Shelby Maticic of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER
Posted: Dec. 22, 2016


BWW Feature: Brelby Theatre Spring Classes - Nurturing Artist Growth in the ValleyBrelby Theatre Spring Classes - Nurturing Artist Growth in the Valley
Posted: Feb. 21, 2017


BWW Review: Brelby Wins THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEEBWW Review: Brelby Wins THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
March 12, 2017

Brelby Theatre Company's Shelby Maticic has directed her company in a breakneck paced, enticing production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. With a book by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn, it's a show that could be breathtakingly dreadful, but instead is wildly entertaining.

BWW Interview: Alanna Kalbfleisch Makes Theater HappenBWW Interview: Alanna Kalbfleisch Makes Theater Happen
March 6, 2017

I don't think my goal is to be a performer, rather more of a person who makes theater happen. Whether that is being an actor, a designer, a director, a patron, a donor, a supporter, an observer, or the executive director of a theater company, that's completely up to fate, really. All I want is to be a part of the progression of this art.

BWW Review: BLACKLISTERS at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Review: BLACKLISTERS at Brelby Theatre Company
February 27, 2017

Blacklisters ain't for sissies. It is, however, a vital work by a serious young playwright, produced by an essential young theatre company that must be encouraged and supported. Our survival depends on it.

BWW Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theatre WorksBWW Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theatre Works
February 27, 2017

Alanna Kalbfleisch is an utter delight to see and hear, with luminous skin, bright eyes and dimples in both cheeks and chin. Let's face it. She's eye candy. As Dot/Marie, the comfortable authority with which Kalbfleisch moves about the stage suggests a lifetime of performance. Her voice is off-the-charts resplendent, however she is by no means all flash. The nuances in her performance are breathtaking - her pure talent and spectacular range, vocal and dramatic, are world class.

BWW Feature: CLASSES DRAW RAVES FROM STUDENTS at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Feature: CLASSES DRAW RAVES FROM STUDENTS at Brelby Theatre Company
February 23, 2017

'Not only are you learning a new skill or refining already existing ones, the instructors are working artists from all around the valley. Artists you may be working with in the future on a professional level are teaching you. It's a wonderful opportunity to not only learn but network.'

BWW Feature: Brelby Theatre Spring Classes - Nurturing Artist Growth in the ValleyBWW Feature: Brelby Theatre Spring Classes - Nurturing Artist Growth in the Valley
February 21, 2017

'There is something for everyone in the upcoming classes at Brelby Theatre Company,' said Education Director John Perovich. 'I speak frequently with audience members, collaborative artists, and our company members about what classes we should be offering at the theatre. This spring, we have 4 exciting class offerings that focus on playwriting, acting, directing, and musical theatre,' he said.

BWW Interview: John Perovich on NEW WORKS at Metropolitan Arts Institute And BrelbyBWW Interview: John Perovich on NEW WORKS at Metropolitan Arts Institute And Brelby
February 10, 2017

We're excited for the New Works Festival! The plays were written by Metro students, predominately from my beginning and advanced theatre classes. Once completed, the plays were read by a group of 9 readers. The readers consisted of one of my advanced theatre students and a group of artists from Brelby (including Brian and Shelby). The plays were selected, began rehearsing in January, and will premiere at Metropolitan Arts Institute at the end of the month.

BWW Interviews: TheaterWorks' Chris Hamby on SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE... Et CeteraBWW Interviews: TheaterWorks' Chris Hamby on SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE... Et Cetera
February 6, 2017

I am thrilled with how the production looks and sounds so far. We have a great team at the helm with Phillip Fazio and Steve Hilderbrand. These two have created some of the biggest hits at Theater Works in past few seasons. I think Phillip is a brilliant director and am always excited to see what he brings to life with a production. Steve Hilderbrand, is a foremost Sondheim enthusiast and I feel blessed to have such a well versed music director for this project. The design team is creating something quite unique and appropriate for our production.

BWW Interview: Lucas Gomez of BLACKLISTERS at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Interview: Lucas Gomez of BLACKLISTERS at Brelby Theatre Company
January 30, 2017

When I wrote Blacklisters, I was focusing on fascism and totalitarianism through the perspective of the individual in relation to absurdism. It's strange now considering the relevance a lot people who've been involved with the script have given it. On one hand it bugs me that the current events are being very tightly tied to the story when it was not my intention, but I can't deny that interest in it has picked up as a result. As I see it, what I wrote in this show was designed to be slightly unreal and terrifying but not beholden to a specific time period. I also can't deny that inspiration comes from weird places and like most people I was obsessively watching last years politics unfold, largely in horror, so it probably affected me.

BWW Interview: Ian Gray - Front and CenterBWW Interview: Ian Gray - Front and Center
January 30, 2017

My favorite experience was playing the part of Young Cain in The Children of Eden. I loved being with all of the college students. They were so talented and taught me a lot. I only knew one person from a previous Valley Youth Theatre play, but by the end had a lot of great friends. Even though I was just a kid they treated me like a professional. I will always remember that. When I am an adult actor, I will be sure to be nice to all the kid actors.

BWW Review: Outstanding PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Review: Outstanding PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre Company
January 23, 2017

Now and then, but not often, a theatregoer experiences theatre that is THEATRE. Not theatre that tries to be film or television, but theatre that has the audacity to be theatrical. Theatre wherein the actor looks the witness in the eye and says, 'I know you know I'm an actor, and I know you're sitting there experiencing this with me. I know you see the lights and the seams in the muslin walls and the painted wood grain on the scenery. And I feel your heartbeat, and we're all breathing this air together.'

BWW Feature: Brelby Leaders Take the Stage in PETER AND THE STARCATCHERBWW Feature: Brelby Leaders Take the Stage in PETER AND THE STARCATCHER
January 19, 2017

The two are featured in Brelby's Peter and the Starcatcher, opening Friday at the Brelby Playhouse in historic downtown Glendale. Maticic plays the coveted role of the dread pirate Black Stache (who will one day be Captain Hook), and Perovich appears as Lord Leonard Aster.

BWW Interview: Louis Farber of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Interview: Louis Farber of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre Company
January 3, 2017

I was attracted to Peter and the Starcatcherbecause of the script. It is an extremely well-crafted and an exceptionally inventive grown-up's prequel to Peter Pan where twelve actors play over 100 assorted characters, through the use animated characterization and the boundless limits of imagination. The actors enter a sparse stage and create a world for us where we face high adventure, big dreams, tough choices and flying; and the audience is asked to employ their imaginations immediately. The script is smart, tight, heartwarming and hilarious.

BWW Interview: Shelby Maticic of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Interview: Shelby Maticic of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Brelby Theatre Company
December 22, 2016

Molly is fierce. She's a brassy know-it-all, but she's always fighting for the greater good. She lost a parental figure at a very young age, and it's shaped her into a different person than she might have been otherwise. She's also at a turning point in her life during the course of this play. She's learning about what it means to be an adult, and to make the difficult decisions, even if you don't feel ready to. She has some of the wittiest lines in the show, and gets to be unapologetically confident. Especially when it comes to putting boys in their place.

BWW Feature: Brelby Theatre Nourishes Historic Downtown GlendaleBWW Feature: Brelby Theatre Nourishes Historic Downtown Glendale
December 21, 2016

Brelby is committed to encouraging, nurturing and producing the work of local playwrights. Their 2017 lineupfeaturesten world premieres.

BWW Interview: Lynne GriffinBWW Interview: Lynne Griffin
April 6, 2015

Lynne Griffin is what director David Ellenstein describes as 'a heavy-weight' in the industry. Her credits span more than 5 decades and include print, film, television and theatre. She was a child model and actor, appearing in multitudes of commercials and even hosting a children's television show in Toronto.

BWW Interviews: Christopher Daniels - Saying YES to LifeBWW Interviews: Christopher Daniels - Saying YES to Life
December 18, 2014

Christopher Daniels is a character with a lot of identities in Reno circles - celebrated solo performer, yoga teacher, manager of a theatre company and ensemble improv performer. I asked a couple of questions, and he was so generous in his responses that I'm letting him do the talking.

BWW Reviews: THE HOUSE OF YES at GLMBWW Reviews: THE HOUSE OF YES at GLM
December 2, 2014

Wendy Macleod's play, The House of Yes puts the funk in dysfunctional, but without the 'n,' if you get my drift.

BWW Interviews: John Frederick - Reno Renaissance ManBWW Interviews: John Frederick - Reno Renaissance Man
October 24, 2014

It's really interesting to me in any kind of Shakespeare how people speak in definites, when there's no way to know them. This one seems to be one that actors hold very near and dear to their hearts. Some people are into the superstition and it's bad luck to say the title, but to me, it's just a frickin' word. It's funny to me.

BWW Interviews: Tom PlunkettBWW Interviews: Tom Plunkett
October 19, 2014

Bottom line is, I'm better at it than I am anything else. A secondary benefit was meeting girls. But now I get paid to play music, do movies, commercials, print... all kinds of stuff. Also girls.



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