Heather Alicia Simms '96 to Star in 'Des Moines' at Polonsky Shakespeare Center
Acting alumna Heather Alicia Simms ’96 will star as Mrs. Drinkwater in the New York premiere of Des Moines at Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center.
November 09, 2022
Acting alumna Heather Alicia Simms ’96 will star as Mrs. Drinkwater in the New York premiere of Des Moines at Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center. The Off-Broadway production begins previews on November 29, 2022; it opens December 9, 2022 and runs through January 1, 2023.
Des Moines, the final play by the late American writer Denis Johnson, follows the stories of five characters brought together by chance events—including a plane crash, a rescued wedding ring, a terrifying diagnosis, and makeup advice offered to a disreputable priest. The indulgent dark comedy complete with karaoke, liquor, and sex ponders the haunting idea of death and the willful pursuit of grace among people who claim to hardly believe in it. Arin Arbus directs the production, after first exploring the work with Johnson himself in a workshop prior to Johnson’s passing in 2017. Arbus called Johnson “a keen and loving observer of life. He wrote about what’s holy and hilarious and hard in our daily lives and was interested in the eternal human struggle to be awake to life in an uncontrollable and incomprehensible universe.” The cast is rounded out by Johanna Day, Arliss Howard, Hari Nef, and Michael Shannon, with choreography by Byron Easley.
Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA), founded in 1979, is an award-winning Off-Broadway theatre whose mission is to develop and invigorate the performance and study of Shakespeare and classic drama, while championing new work. The Polonsky Shakespeare Center, TFANA’s first official home, was opened in 2013.
Heather Alicia Simms is an actress based in New York City. Her stage credits include Richard III, Associate Professor Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine, Fairview, Barbeque, Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. On television, Simms can be seen in The Kings of Napa, Luke Cage, The Last O.G, and Random Acts of Flyness. Her notable film credits include The Nanny Diaries, Broken Flowers, and Red Hook Summer.