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The City of Conversation - Off-Broadway

Lincoln Center presents Anthony Giardina's political drama.

The City of Conversation Standout Michael Simpson on Fooling the Audience & Why Theater Is Like Football

The City of Conversation Standout Michael Simpson on Fooling the Audience & Why Theater Is Like Football
Michael Simpson photographed for Broadway.com by Caitlin McNaney.
“When you talk about Texas, you talk about football and Jesus, but it’s a well-kept secret that people love theater and Shakespeare down there.'

Age: 33

Hometown: McKinney, TX

Current Roles: A doubly impressive New York stage debut in The City of Conversation as Colin Ferris, a young man whose politics don’t jibe with those of his Washington power broker mom, and (after intermission) Colin’s grown son, Ethan.

Stage Cred: After graduating from Juilliard, Simpson dealt with a decade of “personal and family issues” that kept him from properly launching his career. But co-starring with Jan Maxwell at Lincoln Center Theater was a break worth waiting for: “I don’t have the words for how grateful I am.”

"I got forced into theater class in eighth grade and goofed off; I wasn’t a very good student. My teacher said, ‘You need to take this seriously because it might be something you do for the rest of your life.’ At that moment, everything loose in me locked into place. I fell in love with it.”

"When you talk about Texas, you talk about football and Jesus, but it’s a well-kept secret that people love theater and Shakespeare down there. There were one or two Texans in every class at Juilliard, [including] Michael Urie, Lee Pace and Brian J. Smith.”

"The first thing I loved about this play is that it’s filled with people who are smarter than me. ‘Talky’ people can be alienating on TV and film, but when arguments are presented in the theater by really, really smart people, it’s like watching a good football game.”

"The family in this play is very different from mine. I grew up in a red state, but my mother is from Norway, and my parents treated politics and religion the same way, which was: Ask any questions you want, and then decide for yourself.”

"One of my favorite compliments ever was when I was leaving the theater and a man said, ‘I feel like an idiot, but I didn’t realize you were playing two different roles.’ As an actor, there’s nothing better than not being recognized on stage.”

"I just got my own place in Jersey City, which is somehow closer to Manhattan than Brooklyn was. I’ve had a roommate for three years; he’s a wonderful human being, but I am ready to live alone. I finally get to walk around in my underwear with no shame!”

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