SIMON JONES made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing and has since appeared in Benefactors, The School for Scandal, Getting Married, Private Lives, The Real Inspector Hound & Hamlet, The Herbal Bed, Ring Round the Moon, and Waiting in the Wings. Till mid-July, 2009, he was back on Broadway playing ‘Dr. Bradman’ in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit — sharing the stage with Angela Lansbury, Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole, Jayne Atkinson and Deborah Rush. Meanwhile, across the road, Simon’s voice went on as the BBC Radio announcer in the hit play 39 Steps, directed by Maria Aitken.
Back in 2001 he produced and starred in the world premier of Noel Coward’s forgotten 1947 comedy, Long Island Sound, (now published by Samuel French) and directed the American premier of Coward’s musical, Pacific 1860. Other off-Broadway appearances include Woman in Mind, Terra Nova, Privates on Parade, You Never Can Tell, Peter Nichols’s Passion Play, Home, Phallacy, and T.S.Eliot’s The Cocktail Party and many “Musicals in Mufti”, at the York Theatre, where he has also directed. In August, 2009, he played ‘Henry Windscape’ in Simon Gray’s Quartermaine’s Terms, directed by Maria Aitken at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where he has also appeared in The Royal Family and Where’s Charley?
Simon first went to Minneapolis, MN, in 2007, where he appeared at the Guthrie Theater, in the lead role of “Christopher Gore” in the American premier of Brian Friel‘s latest play, The Home Place. He returned to the Guthrie in late 2008 to portray ‘C.S. Lewis’ in Shadowlands, again directed by Joe Dowling. Then, in early 2012, he went back to Minneapolis, where he co-starred in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, (with Harriet Harris), directed by Christopher Luscombe.
Among Simon’s film credits are Privates on Parade, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, Miracle on 34th Street (the remake), The Devil’s Own, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Griffin and Phoenix, and the art installation Spectropia. On television, some of his more recent appearances include Oz for HBO, Cambridge Spies for the BBC, and his portrayal of C.S.Lewis in The Question of God for PBS. Nonetheless he is still best remembered as “Bridey” in Brideshead Revisited and “Arthur Dent” in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
He was heard once again as “Arthur Dent” in a new series, Life, The Universe and Everything, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the Fall of 2004 (twenty-two years after the previous series was recorded – when he was a child). He then recorded the final two series (aka the QUANDARY & the QUINTESSENTIAL Phases ) in London early 2006, and they completed airing in the summer. They are now available in CD packages.
In October, 2009, he attended HITCHCON’09 — the 30th Anniversary celebration of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — held at London’s Royal Festival Hall. In addition to being on a panel discussing Douglas Adams, (hosted by Clive Anderson), Simon also donned his original ‘Arthur Dent’ dressing gown again to join several other cast members in re-creating the radio broadcast of the BBC series. This event was hosted by Penguin Books, who have just published And Another Thing…Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three . This highly acclaimed book, written by Eoin Colfer, available in Audio Book form (in both the U.S. and U.K.) read by Simon.
The stage show was expanded and extended to an amazing tour of the U.K., called Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live! in the summer of 2012. Zipping all around the country, it was such a success that another tour was scheduled for the fall of 2013.
Late 2011 found him in New York at the Roundabout Theatre’s Laura Pels stage, where he appeared in Death Takes a Holiday — a new musical (by Tom Meehan with music by Maury Yeston), now on CD from PS Classics. Spring of 2012 found him on stage at New York’s City Center, where he played ‘Sir Francis Beekman’ in the Encores! presentation of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which starred Megan Hilty, now available on a CD from Masterworks Broadway/ Sony Music.
Simon also served as co-artistic director of TACT for ten years – The Actors Company Theatre (www.tactnyc.org), and is a member of the Advisory Board of the National Audio Theatre Festivals His extensive work as narrator of audio books has resulted in admission to the rank of “Golden Voice” by AudioFile Magazine and also named as “Narrator of the Year” (2005) by Publishers Weekly . In 2006, his audio recordings were nominated for nine “Audie” awards and two of them won in the “Unabridged Fiction” category and the top prize “Audio Book of the Year”, which went to “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Tertiary Phase”.
At the beginning of 2014, he joined Angela Lansbury and a whole new cast to perform “BLITHE SPIRIT” in the West End of London, at the Gielgud Theatre — a major hit! That ran from the beginning of February until June 7th. Following that, Simon went on to play ‘Emperor Josef’ in “AMADEUS”, which starred Rupert Everett, in a short sold-out run at the newly-renovated Chichester Festival Theatre, on the southern coast of England.
Dame Angela Lansbury beckoned Simon again to play ‘Dr. Bradman’ in a North American
tour of “BLITHE SPIRIT” at the end of the year, taking the production to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C., where it ended in March, 2015.
The summer has been a busy time for Simon as well. Firstly, he went to Cape Cod, where he played the lead — ‘Man in Chair’ — in a wonderful production of “THE DROWSY CHAPERONE” musical, directed by Pamela Hunt, at the Cape Playhouse.
Immediately after that, Simon rushed into rehearsals for “Grey Gardens”, to be presented at the Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor — (very close to the actual ‘Grey Gardens’ house, in East Hampton). Starring Rachel York and Betty Buckley, and directed by Michael Wilson, Simon played ‘Major Bouvier’ and ‘Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, in this amazing, sold-out production, which ends on August 30th.