Living in 'a State of Trust,' Joan Hess is Crushin It!

By Kimberly Dijkstra

Joan Hess describes herself as a very positive person. As an actress with credits in theater, on stage with symphonies, and on television, Hess is used to living life “in a state of trust” – trusting the future despite not knowing exactly what job will be waiting down the road. Though the pandemic may have altered her plans slightly, it hasn’t taken her optimistic spirit.

Hess was in the middle of workshopping a new musical based around the opioid crisis called “The Jury” when the pandemic forced the production to call it quits.

“Even though we had to let it go, we recognize that it goes into the ether and it will have a life later on down the road,” she said.

Living with her boyfriend in Weehawken, NJ, Hess is used to self-directing her days, which routinely includes meditation, yoga, and working out in the room of the house with the best light. Staying busy creatively this past year, she has participated in several online readings and benefits for regional theaters, as well as taken up a little painting, doing more reading than usual, putting pen to paper, taking classes online, and connecting with friends and family virtually.

In other words, “we’ve just tried to live in the silver linings of it all,” Hess said. “I feel like it’s a really important moment for the history of our country and for the feeding of good things to come.”

A butterflies-emerging-from-their-cocoons metaphor is apt.

“It takes a struggle to get out of the chrysalis, but that is how you build the strength of your wings,” Hess said. “There will be a renaissance in the arts world. There has been light shone on so many shadows in our culture and I think that’s a very positive thing. By all means, a lot of things were broken that we weren’t paying attention to because we were all so busy.”

The time away will make us appreciate the return all the more.

“The first time we get to perform live or just be in a live theater – think of how electric that will feel, she said. “The rest of our lives feels like something we will cherish all the more for having had to lay it down for a minute.”

Like the giddy feeling she and her boyfriend felt the first time eating at a restaurant after months of eating every meal at home, Hess expects everyone to feel excited for those communal experiences once theater reopens at full capacity. She truly believes that live theater is not only transportive, but transformative, with the power to change hearts and minds. In fact, a recent study found that live theater improves empathy and has the potential to shape people far beyond simple entertainment value.

“I have always known the power of the arts, but it’s great to see it studied and printed and have people recognize it,” Hess said.

Hess sees a surge of creativity in our future, and she is always looking for “the gifts” in life. The pandemic has already generated numerous new and interesting ideas, there is no telling what’s next.

“There are gifts in every situation and I knew this was going to present some really good opportunities for new things,” she said. “It will be very exciting to see the renaissance and to participate.”

Actor Profiles - Most Recent Additions 2

Eddie Gutierrez - actor profile

Eddie attended NYU for acting, training at the Stella Adler Studio and the Experimental Theatre Wing, and while he was there, he picked up a minor in Music, while also enrolling in the dance program at Peridance in Union Square.

Monica Cioffi - Actor Profile

Get To Know Dancer / Actor Monica Cioffi backstage at The Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY

Richard LaFleur - Actor Profile

Richard Lafleur is a Canadian born actor, singer, dancer, and aspiring writer.

Montreal, Quebec
View details
Carina Avila - Actor Profile

Meet Carina Avila got her start in Los Angeles working on TV and music videos. She is now focused on transferring her early success to the theatre.

New York, New York
View details
Lance E. Hayes - Actor Profile

Lance is currently a working actor out of New York City, and is loving every minute.

New York, New York
View details
Gina Milo - Actor Profile

Gina is a Long Island born, actor/singer based in New York City. She most recently appeared as Martha Vail in the York Theater's Mufti production of Subways are for Sleeping and Tanya in Mason Street's production of Mamma

New York, New York
View details
Cait Crowley - Actor Profile

Cait is a New York City based actor, dancer and singer who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University.

New York, New York
View details
Jason Simon - Actor Profile

At a petite 6'3", Jason Simon is a presence!

Equity Theatres - Most Recent Additions

American Stage Company

Since 1978 American Stage has been dedicated to telling meaningful, compelling stories with integrity and professionalism. As the Tampa Bay area’s longest-running, most critically-acclaimed…

St. Petersburg, Florida
View details
Gable Stage

Founded in 1979 as Florida Shakespeare Theatre, GableStage originally performed the plays of Shakespeare in repertory, using the outdoor Casino Gardens at Vizcaya. From 1987 to 1992, Florida…

Coral Gables, Florida
View details
Aurora Theatre Company

Aurora Theatre Company invigorates audiences and artists through the shared experience of professional, intimate theatre. Our work, while entertaining, is more than entertainment as we…

Berkeley, California
View details
Pasadena Playhouse

A theatre such as The Pasadena Playhouse does not and cannot achieve a level of success, sustainability and excellence on merit alone. The pillars of our beloved and historic theatre are the…

Pasadena, California
View details
Metro Stage

MetroStage is a professional not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to producing an eclectic season of contemporary plays and musicals that are chosen to enrich, enlighten and entertain,…

Alexandria, Virginia
View details
American Conservatory Theater

A dynamic and intimate performance complex filled with the creative energy of the most exciting artists of the Bay Area and beyond, The Strand had its much-anticipated opening in late spring…

San Francisco, California
View details
Moonlight Stage Productions

Moonlight Stage Productions has been producing musical theatre for the enjoyment of audiences from throughout Southern California and beyond for 36 years. The cultural arts program of the…

Vista, California
View details
Wilma Theater

Established in 1973 as The Wilma Project, the Wilma challenged the Philadelphia cultural community to create theatrical productions of original material and to develop local artists. From…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
View details
© 2022 Islip.TV LLC / The National VJ Network. All rights reserved.

Search