Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie Simpson is the Founding Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Matters, a theatre company for everyone. 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...
Jeanmarie Simpson is the Founding Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Matters, a theatre company for everyone. 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 more than 300 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, Peter Coyote 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 co-adapted a stage version of Powder: writing by women in the ranks from Vietnam to Iraq. Coming In Hot 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, HERETIC - The Mary Dyer Story. She is a member the Dramatists Guild of America and a retired member of Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. She lives with her husband, Dan, in a cottage with a garden in Glendale, Arizona. Contact her through her website: jeanmariesimpson.com.

Plays

  • Pineapple and Other Options
    Drenching rain pummels Nimipuu County as Helen, an idealistic middle-aged American History educator, sits alone in her kitchen recovering from a double mastectomy and looking at a pile of bills and an employment termination letter. What makes more sense than suicide? Newly retired social worker and rookie crisis hotline volunteer, AJ sits alone in the office desperate to save Helen from herself. As Helen slips...
    Drenching rain pummels Nimipuu County as Helen, an idealistic middle-aged American History educator, sits alone in her kitchen recovering from a double mastectomy and looking at a pile of bills and an employment termination letter. What makes more sense than suicide? Newly retired social worker and rookie crisis hotline volunteer, AJ sits alone in the office desperate to save Helen from herself. As Helen slips between the worlds after eating a huge assortment of pills, Elizabeth “Betsy” Pennington greets Helen and takes her on a journey designed to convince her to return and invent a new kind of educational model. Pineapple and Other Options braids the stories of three women into a – literally – constructive theatrical experience.
  • A Single Woman
    A powerful, dramatic and timely play about the funny, brilliant, warm, irascible, scrappy woman who voted against both World Wars — in Congress. Tens of thousands have seen the play in theatres, meeting halls and living rooms throughout the world. ENSEMBLE VERSION
  • Heretic - The Mary Dyer Story
    The play takes place in the last moments of the life of Quaker Mary Dyer, "Mother of the First Amendment," executed by the Puritan Church/State Government in 1660 Boston. The play is honest, painfully graphic and uncompromising in its storytelling. Reviews are uniformly raves and audiences love it.

Recommended by Jeanmarie Simpson

  • The Canterbury Tarot
    25 Sep. 2020
    I cannot imagine any theatre wouldn't want to produce this marvelous piece. Ashley Naftule is a ridiculously talented writer and beyond that, he is a visionary whose imagination apparently has no limits. Everybody - read this play for pleasure, and pay it forward by producing it for your patrons who deserve a hefty dose of genius in these trying times.