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Tony Award Winning Producer Ron Simons Says: “I Just Wanted To Make Sure These Stories Were Told”

“What we need more than anything is someone willing to forego stardom and celebrity and step behind the scenes and take care of business….” -Ossie Davis

Ron Simons is an actor. He is also a two-time Tony Award-winning producer. In 2012 he won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, and in 2013 he won a Tony Award for Best Play for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

What makes Mr. Simons so remarkable is that he started producing only four years ago, and has since produced three Broadway productions and four feature films. This is an amazing feat for someone who, until 2009, had no producing experience.

As a professional actor Ron Simons met many artists whose talents were criminally underutilized; especially gifted writers whose powerful stories remained on the page and undeveloped.

“…I wanted to do something about these stories, because I had decided that the stories I hadn’t seen, but wanted to see, were not being given any kind of exposure. So in 2009, I said that I was going to start putting my money where my mouth is. I said, I’m going to start helping to get these stories out, and put them on the screen, and on the stage, and so I kind of put that out there into the universe. And at the time, I really didn’t say that I wanted to start a company, or had any long-range goals of being a big producer type. I just wanted to make sure these stories were told.”

Simons began production on his first project in 2009, a film entitled Night Catches Us starring Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackey.

“Initially I was just going to come on as an associate producer, because I thought, what do I know about producing?”

Upon the suggestion of director Tanya Hamilton, Simons eventually answered his calling:

“…I said, well, Tanya, I don’t really know anything about producing. But maybe we can hire someone to work with us…and maybe we can figure it out. And then, basically, after weeks of back and forth, I said, you know what, let’s do this. I then went and bought 5 books about producing, and read them all…and next thing I knew, I was negotiating contracts, I was reviewing scripts and giving feedback for characters and stories”

Ron Simons founded SimonSays Entertainment in 2009 with a mission to Tell Every Story. He and his equally incredible producing associate, actor/writer April Yvette Thompson (Good Bread Alley, Liberty City), have been doing just that.

A theatre and film company, SimonSays Entertainment produced the 2011 all-Black revival of A Streetcar Named Desire and the 2012 revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess on Broadway. Its critically-acclaimed films include Night Catches Us (2010) , Gun Hill Road (2011), Blue Caprice (2013), and Mother of George (2013).

Broadway Black would like to salute Ron Simons and SimonSays Entertainment for answering the call to create opportunities and new paths for artists. Thank you for inspiring the aspiring producers of the world.

Learn more about SimonSays Entertainment:


Written By

Drew Shade is a theatre artist and enthusiast who fosters artistic diversity and excellence for the love of Black theatre artists. He is the Founder/Creative Director of Broadway Black, Off-Book Podcast & The Antonyo Awards. “Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone’s disbelief.” – August Wilson


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