As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with Tony nominee Jennifer Simard, cast as Sarah in the 2020 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company, which was in previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre when the pandemic temporarily closed Broadway theatres. Scene-stealer Simard, previously on Broadway in the Tony-nominated new musical Mean Girls, earned her Tony nomination for her riotous performance as Sister Mary Downy, a nun with a bad habit, in the 2016 musical comedy Disaster!. The gifted actor, a long-time Off-Broadway favorite who was Drama Desk-nominated for her work in The Thing About Men and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Lucille Lortel-nominated for Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit, has also been seen on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly!, plus Sister Act, Shrek the Musical, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
(Watch Simard self-tape for her dream role in the video above.)
READ: Checking in With… Christina Bianco, Star of Forbidden Broadway, Funny Girl, More
What is your typical day like now?
My husband Brad Robertson is the house electrician for the Belasco Theatre with the Shubert Organization, so we are both home at present. Typically we awake to Morning Joe and each drink three large coffees. Dark Roast fans over here. We have a rotation of iced and hot coffee pitchers at all times. Each day we like to accomplish one backlogged item of housework. I call them “corners of shame.” You know, that box you’ve stuffed with random whatnots or that bag you’ll just deal with later. So, later is now. My best friend through all of this, other than my husband, is my stationary bike. I’ve named it Wilson after the castaway soccer ball. I bought it five years ago, and we dug it out of storage when this all became a reality. Peloton has waved their monthly fees for a little bit and you can use the app with your own bike. My favorite instructor is Christine D’Ercole, who goes by the handle iamicaniwillido. Those words are so important, now more than ever, so thanks Christine. Finally, in the evening after the nightly cheer for our frontline workers, we have made watching the sunset with a glass of wine a ritual. Then I’ll cook a delicious AF meal.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I’m pretty obsessed with the TV show Dispatches From Elsewhere on AMC. It was created by Jason Segal, and I've noticed Scott Rudin is one of the producers. It is right up my outside-the-box alley and is just a kaleidoscope of creativity. I. LOVE. IT. And if your theatre readers are looking for a podcast, truly, they should check out mine and my podcastmate’s show The Fabulous Invalid on The Broadway Podcast Network. This is cool: Our name is taken from the title of a Kaufman and Hart play that has since become a loving nickname for Broadway itself—always deemed on the verge of decline, yet always bouncing back! Just like we will!
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
A few things. First, acknowledge your feelings. I try to live a transparent life, and sharing one’s feelings and truths with others is key. Depression and anxiety are things that can really creep in at a time like now. It’s important to know that is normal. The stressors are real and like this virus, exponential. So next I would say, reach out occasionally to a friend. Connect. Share. Then on other days, self soothe. Whatever that is to you. It’s OK to say “no” to invites if you feel like hiding under the covers, and like my favorite Peloton coach Christine says, be very careful and kind with the words you choose to say to yourself. Finally, if you have any ability to exercise, please do so. It will trigger endorphins, which truly makes one feel better.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Again, my bike. What’s Goldie Hawn’s line from First Wives Club—“I get my best ideas when I work out.”
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
My Company mates and I will get together to run lines and connect. We truly cannot wait to come back to you all and tell our story. “…Wait for me. I’ll hurry, wait for me. Hurry. Wait for me. Hurry. Wait for me…”
READ: Checking in With… Hedwig and the Angry Inch Tony Winner Lena Hall