Jason Simon - Drawing Up A New Plan and Crushin' It!

By Kimberly Dijkstra

Whether as iconic characters like Shrek, Tevye, or Cowardly Lion, Jason Simon has been bringing his talents to stages all across the country. In fact, he has performed on stages in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and three provinces of Canada, so far.

Beyond work Off-Broadway, at the Metropolitan Opera, and on television, Simon loves being part of high-quality productions in local areas.

“It was always cool with every single tour seeing how much people appreciated the arts and how grateful they were that we were bringing it out to everywhere else, which I think is a beautiful thing about regional theaters,” he said.

Having played Max Bialystock in “The Producers,” both on tour and at a regional New York theater, Simon has learned that the reaction of audiences in different places widely varies.

“There is just something about that show that is just inherently New York because it is about producing a show on Broadway,” he said. “That was a wonderful educational experience for me in the school of comedy about what jokes land, how different people respond, and it helped further extend my opinion that the relationship between the audience and the people on stage is a symbiotic thing.”

Simon has been fine-tuning his comedy chops since the start of his career.

“There’s a reason why they say laughter is the best medicine,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful experiential art form.”

In addition to the give-and-take between the actors and the audience that changes every night, there’s nothing better for Simon than when someone takes the time to say thank you at the stage door after the show and ask for a picture or autograph.

“I grew up doing that and to turn around and have that opportunity where people are asking that of me is a truly humbling experience,” he said, recalling a particularly special moment when four ladies came up to him after “The Wizard of Oz” to tell him how special that show was to them. The matriarch of the family had introduced the musical to her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter, who were all in attendance in matching outfits.

“To know you are a part of a legacy that has now affected four generations of people is amazing,” Simon explained.

During the COVID-19 shutdowns, Simon was able to pursue a variety of endeavors. Not just a singer and actor, he is an accomplished illustrator, currently deep in the illustration process for the sequel to “Ingredients For A Witch.”

The children’s book, a collaboration with friend John Treacy Egan, tells the story of a young apprentice witch who with the help of her friends finds her confidence and inner strength.

Simon also lends his powerful voice to a number of animated characters, including in web cartoons and video games.

Many theaters moved online to stay connected with audiences, and Simon has participated in several virtual theater productions, from Shakespeare to Santa Claus. “Kris Kringle,” the holiday musical, tells the untold story of the North Pole, with Simon in the title role.

“As much as we all curse social media at times, I do feel one of the blessings of social media this past year is gracing us with an easy form to keep tabs on and check in with each other,” he said.

For Jason, virtual is good, but live is better.

“There is something about that shared experience of live theater that I'm very much looking forward to getting back to,” he said.

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