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EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Video by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons as Oberon (center, in red) with the ensemble in the Cornish Theater Department production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Seattle Center. Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons as Oberon in the Cornish Theater Department production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons as Oberon at Titania's bower in the Cornish Theater Department production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons as Oberon with twin Pucks in the Cornish Theater Department production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Actor Anthony Simmons

: Anthony Simmons at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

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Edward F. Limato Scholar, San Diego native, and grad school aspirant, Cornish junior Anthony Simmons shines as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For actors in the Theater Department, their junior year is devoted to work on the classics. So it’s no surprise to find junior Anthony Lee Simmons (TH ’15) in Shakespeare’s enduring comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Produced by the Theater Department and staged by Annie Lareau to play outdoors at Seattle Center, this Midsummer is clearly an ensemble labor of love. Set in Victorian England, Lareau’s staging is inventive, lively and fun. The show’s large cast not only plays all the roles but does double-duty as scenery, using a sea of multicolored umbrellas and bouncy balls to set the stage. The outdoor environment for the production (specifically the lawn directly behind the building that houses Pacific Northwest Ballet) means the show is free to all comers. The cast signals the start of each performance by parading around the Center grounds drumming up an audience. A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays matinees April 25-27.

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In the middle of this cheerful insanity, Simmons as Oberson is a stand-out. He’s tall, certainly, but he’s also dressed in a scarlet jacket and hat. Can’t miss that! As young as he is, it’s surprising to find that Simmons has played Oberon once before. A native of California, Simmons attended the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in San Diego and played the part there.  At first, he was disappointed to be cast as Oberon again, but he says, “I decided to approach it again with a beginner’s mind … embrace the chance to explore the role more deeply … to be the badass, to be the ringmaster.”

Simmons attended SCPA from sixth to twelfth grade. “I fell into theater to get away from kids I really didn’t fit in with,” he says. “It felt like a different world.” Simmons comes from a close family with hard-working parents (his dad is a long-haul trucker).  Although they had no first-hand experience of the life their son was hoping to live, Simmons’ parents were always supportive of his dreams of being in the theater. He says that his mom in particular “saw that from an early age I loved to entertain people, make them smile.” (He now makes weekly reports to his mom on his progress.)

As he prepared to leave SCPA, Simmons auditioned for a number of schools, but his SCPA artistic director pointed him at Cornish, believing it would be great for him. A success almost from the moment he stepped onto the Cornish campus, Simmons was one of the original two recipients of the Edward F. Limato scholarships. The scholarships are named for the late, legendary Hollywood agent, Ed Limato, who had a well-documented eye for up-and-coming-stars. These awards are given to Cornish theater students who display “pure talent, ambition, and drive.”

In addition to his role in Midsummer, Simmons has played Eddie in Road, Hipponomes in Myth Projects, and Ted and other roles in Nickel and Dimed.  Undoubtedly Cornish theater audiences will see him onstage a time or two more before he graduates. Simmons is eagerly looking ahead to his senior year and is excited about studying voice-overs and stage combat. After Cornish, he plans to attend graduate school to work on a master’s degree in fine arts.  But all that is in the future. Right now, the play’s the thing and Simmons is making the most of every Midsummer moment.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 25 at 3:00 p.m. and April 26-27 at 2:00 p.m. at Seattle Center, on the lawn behind Pacific Northwest Ballet/The Phelps Center.


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