John Simpkins

John Simpkins

John Simpkins (Director/Artistic Director) directed the three-time Drama Desk-nominated Off-Broadway production of Bloodsong of Love: The Rock and Roll Spaghetti Western (by Joe Iconis) at Ars Nova. He also directed Iconis’ The Black Suits at Center Theatre Group (Kirk Douglas Theatre). New York credits also include the Off-Broadway productions of The Bus (59E59 Theatre); ReWrite (Urban Stages); The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks (Theatreworks USA–Lucille Lortel Theatre); Things to Ruin (which he co-conceived and directed productions of at Second Stage, Le Poisson Rouge, Zipper Factory, Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, NYMF), and The Black Suits (SPF at the Public Theatre, starring Annie Golden, Jason Tam, and Krysta Rodriguez).

Regional productions include Hairspray (North Carolina Theatre, starring Dale Hensley, Dirk Lumbard); The Black Suits (Barrington Stage, starring Ben Platt, Annie Golden); Damn Yankees (Engeman Theatre, starring Andre De Shields, Felicia Finley, Austin Miller); A Wonderful Life (Engeman Theatre); Annie (Sacramento Music Circus, starring Mark Zimmerman, Jim Walton, Adinah Alexander); Cabaret (Sacramento Music Circus, starring Teri Ralston, Jacquelyn Piro, Max von Essen); Evita (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, starring Kate Chapman, Eric Michael Gillet, Dan Cooney).

John is artistic director at Sharon Playhouse, where he has recently directed Merrily We Roll Along, Falsettos, Les Miserables, They’re Playing Our Song, Damn Yankees, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Altar Boyz, Rent, A Funny Thing…Forum, and The Wedding Singer.

A strong supporter of the development of new work, he has directed workshops/readings/productions of Georgie: The Life and Death of George Rose (starring Ed Dixon); True Love (Sarah Schlesinger/David Evans); Adam Lives (Goodspeed Opera House); ReWrite (Goodspeed Opera House); Hellraisers (Barrington Stage); Fantasy Football, the Musical; All the Kids Are Doing It; When the World Ends (Blaemire–Ars Nova); Ripper (NAMT); Party Come Here (David Kirshenbaum/Daniel Goldfarb); Go-Go Beach (NYMF–37 Arts); Pool Boy (Tsakalakos/Allard); Next Thing You Know (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Queen Esther (Merkin Hall); Half Married (Cunningham/Antin); Plastic! (Maddock/Iconis/Jacobs–York Theatre); You Don’t Know Jack (York Theatre); Bad Kid School (Barrington Stage); 29 (Alter/Newman); Lyrical Langston Hughes (New Triad–Lincoln Center); Blood Drive (Rachel Sheinkin); Beasts and Saints (Mindi Dickstein); and Like You Like It (Buck/Acquisto).

John has recently joined the faculty as associate professor of theatre and will become the Nagle Family Chair of Musical Theatre in January 2016. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a member of the music theatre faculty at New York University Steinhardt, where he directed Sweet Smell of Success, Floyd Collins, A Man of No Importance, The Fix, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Violet, Urinetown, Merrily We Roll Along, Parade, Fiorello! and A New Brain. His production of Parade was preserved and is on reserve at Lincoln Center’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Miami University and a Master of Arts from NYU. He is active in NAMT (National Alliance of Musical Theatre), where he is a member of the Festival Reading and Selection Committee.

For more information about John, please visit or contact his agent, Jonathan Mills, at Paradigm Agency at (212) 897-6400.

Logo for United Scenic Artists


Logo for Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

Contact Us

Address: Penn State School of Theatre, 116 Theatre Building, University Park, PA 16802 USA.

Office: (814) 865 7586

Fax: (814) 865 5754

Tickets: (814) 863 0255