Saturday July 7 — 6:30pm
Simone is a Minneapolis based theater artist, accordionista and chanteuse. She grew up in Winona, MN, where she learned that singing for your supper is just fine and houseboats are the best way to enjoy a lazy river. She studied theater and music at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio, after which she followed the migration of friends to New York City where she spent five very full years. In NYC, along with Gregory Pierce and Hannah Cabell, she became a founding member of The Bad Astronauts, an east village based sketch comedy group. It was in New York where she started playing the accordion, appearing for a short stint in the (all female) Main Squeeze Accordion Orchestra, busking on several subway platforms, and accompanying herself as the love-scorned Vampire in the Bad Astronauts show “Phallaxy Quest”. With her accordion in tow, she also worked with The Mettawee River Theater Company, dir. Ralph Lee and the Lake Lucille Chekhov Project, dir. Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman.
After a good stint in New York, Simone made her way home to the artistic community in the Twin Cities where she has worked with several theaters, including The Theatre de la Jeune Lune (Antigone), Theater Latte Da (Gypsy, Passage of Dreams), Mixed Blood Theater (Pajama Game), Open Eye Figure Theater (Come and Get It, Flight, Folks and Heroes), Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (Rocky Horror Show), and The History Theater (These Shining Lives, A Tale of Twin Cities). During the 2006 Fringe Fest, Simone premiered her one-woman show “Tall Tale of a Broke Heart” and also started her collaboration with Kevin Kling, creating “In Hopes of Claudia”. She and Kling have gone on to work on several other shows, including the world premiere of “How? How? Why? Why?Why?” at the Seattle Repertory Theater directed by David Esbjorson, where she and Kling returned in 2008 to work on and premiere “Breakin’ Hearts and Takin’ Names” directed by Braden Abraham. Most recently, she and Kevin premiered “A Tale of Twin Cities” at the History Theater in St. Paul, directed by Suzy Messerole. Her work with Kling has brought her to locations around the Midwest as well as New York City, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, where they performed “How? How?…” for the audience of the Playhouse in the Park. She has been heard on the airways of Public Radio, on MPR’s Stage Sessions with Heather McElhatton, on Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, on Mid Morning with Kerri Miller as part of Hippocrates Cafe, and as Dorothy in “Scarecrow on Fire” written by and performed with Kevin Kling. Simone recorded her first album at the UBS Forum-MPR studio in St. Paul, MN in front of a studio audience. “Hummingbird” was released in September of 2009 and features the brilliant words of Kevin Kling and the amazing talents of Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Robert Bell, Gary Schulte and The Brass Messengers.
When not performing, Simone spends her days cooking, gardening, crafting and raising a family with husband John and their new addition, Homer Zinn, welcomed into the world in February.