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Meet The Tony Award Winner Behind ‘Thoughts of a Colored Man’ On Broadway

Photo courtesy of Ron Simons

Ron Simons is the lead producer of “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” which recently opened on Broadway, and is the most Tony Award-winning Black producer in history leading the historic effort to bring in people of color to tell stories of Black history, culture, and experience.

In addition, Simons is producing “For Colored Girls,” where Camille A. Brown will make history as the first Black woman to simultaneously serve as a director and choreographer on Broadway in over 65 years through her 2022 production of Ntozake Shange’s 1976 classic.  

The Black Lives Matter movement led the theatre community at large to reconcile with acts of racism on its stages and the diversity, equity, and inclusion (or lack thereof) on Broadway and across the nation.

Simons is regarded as Broadway’s “best-kept secret,” working to change theater forever at this pivotal point in history as he reshapes the producers of Broadway. Shockingly, there are only six Black producers working on Broadway, and Simons is focused on changing that statistic by spending half his time mentoring people of color as producers. (Currently, he mentors five Black women).

According to Simons, if we want more diverse stories, more representative casting, more inclusive staff, it begins with producers.  

Photo courtesy of Ron Simons

He also helped lead the creation of Black Theater United’s “New Deal For Broadway,” setting out a manifesto that outlines reforms that are short-term — to be implemented before Broadway reopens this fall — and long-term over the next few years.  With more than 20 years of experience, Simons has the track record of pioneering diversity on the stage, including:  

  • First Black Broadway producer to win 4 Tony Awards (also to earn 5 Tony nominations);
  • First Black producer to lead produce three black shows to Broadway;
  • Produced first Black show with all creative leads as women of color (New Broadway production of “For Colored Girls”);
  • Producing the first two Black Broadway shows to feature Black producers, Black writer, Black director, and Black cast;
  • Only Black producer to make four films premiering at Sundance (three in competition).

As CEO and president of SimonSays Entertainment, Simons produced Tony award-winning and nominated productions including “Jitney” (produced with John Legend; won Tony for Best Play Revival), “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations” (12 Tony nominations including Best Musical), “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Tony Award for Best Musical), “Porgy & Bess” (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (Tony Award for Best Play), and more.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.