Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop has been a BWW contributor in Tucson, Reno/Sacramento and Toronto, before landing in Phoenix, where she is a Teaching Artist for Childsplay. 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. With Shannon Cain, co-editor of the anthology Powder: writing by women in the ranks from Vietnam to Iraq, Jeanmarie conceived the notion of creating a stage version titled Coming In Hot. Following an adaptation and rehearsal period of nine months, the play opened at Tucson’s Rhythm Industry Performance Factory in September 2009. 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 her original solo performance work, Mary’s Joy, from 2011-2014. The piece explores the life and struggles of Quaker martyr, Mary Dyer, hanged in Boston in 1660. Jeanmarie now performs the play under a new title, The Joy. She  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. Contact her through her website: jeanmariesimpson.wordpress.com.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: GYPSY at Desert Foothills TheaterBWW Review: GYPSY at Desert Foothills Theater
Posted: Apr. 3, 2017


BWW Interview: Gerald Thomson of UNEXPECTED at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Interview: Gerald Thomson of UNEXPECTED at Brelby Theatre Company
Posted: Apr. 3, 2017


BWW Feature: Mark and Ryan Kleinman, Living the DreamBWW Feature: Mark and Ryan Kleinman, Living the Dream
Posted: Apr. 23, 2017


BWW Interview:  John Perovich of Now and Then Creative CompanyBWW Interview: John Perovich of Now and Then Creative Company
Posted: Apr. 12, 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 Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theatre WorksBWW Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theatre Works
Posted: Feb. 27, 2017


BWW Interview: Jeff Deglow of INTERRUPTING VANESSA at ChildsplayBWW Interview: Jeff Deglow of INTERRUPTING VANESSA at Childsplay
April 26, 2017

Interrupting Vanessa is a very sweet compact play; it is slow, compassionate, and very concise. It does not pander to its audience, and is not superfluous in its story telling. It is beautifully paced and allows for audiences of different ages to enjoy it. The message of holding on, and moving on, is gentle and very organic in its writing. Adults experience a very different play than the children do. It is such a joy to be part of telling this story.

BWW Interview: Dominique Holley of Driftwood QuintetBWW Interview: Dominique Holley of Driftwood Quintet
April 26, 2017

As an event organizer, I always feel like it's important that I organize the types of events that I see myself going to. If I can't personally see myself attending or spending money to see my own performances then how can I expect other people who don't know me to do the same. What that means for me as a classically-based musician is that I always try to redefine not only how I present the music to audiences but also how I determine what constitutes meaningful and significant repertoire worthy of performance. That's why at many of Driftwood's performances you'll hear music by video game and film composers such as Nobuo Uematsu or Joe Hisaishi alongside works by Mahler or William Grant Still. It's very important to me that we always treat the music with the same due level of care and interpretation whether we're playing an arrangement of Fake Love by Drake or Handel's Water Music. We take the same approach with our collaborations as well. We've played soundtracks to live films, performed with jazz rhythm sections, and performed music that's paired with poetry and spoken word.

BWW Feature: Carefree's English Rose Tea Room a Divine SensationBWW Feature: Carefree's English Rose Tea Room a Divine Sensation
April 25, 2017

We expected something quaint and maybe even charming, but nothing prepared us for the divine sensation that is the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree.

BWW Feature: Mark and Ryan Kleinman, Living the DreamBWW Feature: Mark and Ryan Kleinman, Living the Dream
April 23, 2017

I am incredibly proud of all my kids and Ryan is pursuing his dream as a performer. He has been performing for quite awhile now as a professional and I have had the idea that this would be so since about his Junior year in High School. I have always taken the time to include my kids (when they have shown an interest) into the shows I was doing. Ryan and his older sister, Kaitlynn, were able to be more inundated with it at a young age as I was more active as a professional performer and they got to be backstage and at rehearsal, and often in shows with me. Whenever I was in a show that needed kids, I got them an audition and, since they were talented, often got cast, so we were able to share the stage. Sound of Music, South Pacific, Music Man, Secret Garden, A Christmas Carol, all shows that my kids been able to share with me.

BWW Interview:  John Perovich of Now and Then Creative CompanyBWW Interview: John Perovich of Now and Then Creative Company
April 12, 2017

Now & Then Creative Company is a culmination of perceived needs in the valley, coupled with opportunities for learning and growth with students at Metropolitan Arts Institute. The 'now' focuses on new play development and film production-working with local artists on the development of plays, screenplays, workshop productions, and film productions. The 'then' produces theatre classics that speak to our present time-plays that tackle large issues to provoke conversation around social concerns. Further, I imagine the classics to be interpreted with a strong vision from directors. We are interested in producing classics with strong concepts-we are not interested in producing classics in ways that feel familiar. More to that pointsometimes classics begin to feel like museum pieces-once you've seen them, you've seen them. We want to nurture an exciting, vibrant, and meaningful approach to the classics.

BWW Review: GYPSY at Desert Foothills TheaterBWW Review: GYPSY at Desert Foothills Theater
April 3, 2017

This rags-to-riches story of ugly-duckling, Louise, the tomboy who rose to national fame as Gypsy Rose Lee (the entertainment queen who put class into Burlesque) is an all American classic; and Mama Rose, the pushy backstage mother who lived through her daughters, but paid a high price, is one of the most iconic characters in Broadway history.

BWW Interview: Gerald Thomson of UNEXPECTED at Brelby Theatre CompanyBWW Interview: Gerald Thomson of UNEXPECTED at Brelby Theatre Company
April 3, 2017

I am most concerned with what the audience sees, as they are the viewers/hearers of our story, so what they gather from our performance must be paramount. I come in with a strong image of what I want the show to look like. I then block the show right away to get it on its feet. I call this building the skeleton. The rest of the rehearsal process is about fleshing out that skeleton. I do not have the actors wander the stage looking for what feels right for them. It may end up being more true to life by letting two people do what comes naturally, but that does not make for a good presentational performance. I block to keep things visually interesting and I work to use the entire stage.

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.



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