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    Alumni Spotlight, Pete Simspon Jr.

    October 18, 2017
    Member of Blue Man Group and Award Winning New York Actor
     
    Pete Simpson Jr..jpg
    Grandson of former Wyoming Governor Milward Simpson and a member of a family that has always been interested in theater, Pete Simpson Jr. began his performance career as a child, participating in various and school community theater productions (including those of parents' homegrown Wyoming theater company, Spontaneous Productions).
    After completing a B.A. in 
    En
    glish and Theatre at UW, Simpson earned an M.F.A. in acting from the Denver Center Theatre Company's National Theatre Conservatory in 1996.
    Upon graduation, Simpson was hired into the titular role in the 
    Blue Man Group, an avant garde-based ensemble that has grown to become a n
    ational and international sensation since its New York debut in 1991. Mr. Simpson went on to perform, train, direct, write for and organize for Blue Man Group in their Boston, New York, Chicago, Amsterdam (NL), Oberhausen (DE), Berlin (DE), Stuttgart (DE) and Basel (CH) companies.  Among many other contributions to the Blue Man Group project, Pete has appeared as a Blue Man on several international TV programs (in addition to Jay Leno, Craig Kilbourne and various commercials in the U.S.) and motion pictures (such as 2010's "Morning Glory"). Pete has also toured with Blue Man internationally with such artists as David Bowie, Moby and Alicia Keyes, and has contributed musical performances to Blue Man's "Audio" and "Complex" albums, as well as to the soundtrack of the animated feature, "Robots."  Pete has tallied over 4,000 performances of the Blue Man role since his 1996 debut. 
    In addition to Blue Man, he has built a body of work in New York's Off-Broadway and experimental theater scenes.  He has worked with over twenty-two directors and theater companies, performing principle roles in the productions of such award-winning experimental luminaries as Richard Foreman, Richard Maxwell, the Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service, Young Jean Lee, Julia Jarcho and many others.  Such work has seen Simpson on such notable Off-Broadway stages as the New York Theater Workshop, the Public Theater, Soho Rep and the Vineyard Theater, as well as on tours to more than 15 countries.  As a writer, Pete has contributed scripts and songs to his co-founded comedy band, "The Petersons," has performed original stand-up material multiple times at the famous 'Caroline's on Broadway' comedy venue and had also won "Best Play" at the 1999 Turnip Theater Festival for his collaboratively written piece, "A 12 lb. Discourse" (with Matthew Schneck).
    In recognition of his New York theater work from 1996--2017, Simpson received the prestigious Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in May of 2017.  
    Mr. Simpson is also a veteran of non-New York theater, performing at such reputable regional theaters Williamstown Theater Festival, the Denver Center Theater and others.  He has worked as a musical arranger and choreographer for Tony Award-winner Darko Tresnjak in productions for the Blue Light Theater Company, Westport Country Playhouse, and others.  In the world of television and film, Pete has also appeared in several short films as well as in roles on TV's 'Law and Order' and 'Conan O'Brien.'  Simpson was also cast as Abraham Lincoln in the New York Times virtual reality film, "Lincoln in the Bardo" (based on the book of the same title by George Saunders).
    As a percussionist, Simpson was involved in an 8-year stint with the Casper Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps (serving both as a performer and later, as an instructor).  Mr. Simpson was also involved in UW's percussion and symphonic band ensembles as well as The Colorado Wind Ensemble for many years and has conducted marching percussion music clinics for several high schools in the U.S.  He is also the drummer and occasional song writer for his co-founded New York-based band, The Petersons, who have been joined on stage by a number of notable artists (Robert Sean Leonard, James Naughton, Mila Kunis, Paul Newman among others).  
    He is married to Israeli-American educator and costume/clothing designer, Naama Greenfield-Simpson, herself the daughter of notable Israeli painter, Yitzhak Greenfield.  Pete and Naama live in Brooklyn with their two children, Annah Ruth and Benjamin.