Reviews

Heather Alicia Simms
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2011 Memorable New York Stage Performances
By Backstage Staff | Posted Jan. 4, 2012, 4:30 p.m.
Heather Alicia Simms, "born bad"

British playwright Debbie Tucker Green's 2007 Olivier Award–winning play "born bad" opened on my birthday in 2011 and proved to be the best present imaginable: an exhilaratingly original work of art. This thoroughly disquieting, relentlessly penetrating play about a family in which sexual abuse has occurred, and the suppressed secrets and accompanying lies that have resulted from it, is clearly the product of a unique voice, one that was given full expression in Heather Alicia Simms' performance in the central role of Dawta, who is no longer willing to ignore what has happened to her. Simms combined a volcanic rage with an underlying uncertainty and fear as Dawta relentlessly pushed her parents and siblings to acknowledge the truth whatever the cost. Heartbreakingly human and continually unpredictable, her performance was one you couldn't take your eyes off.

Female Voices Strike a Vibrant Chord In Wilson's '20th Century'-Washington Post March 26, 2008

Lynda Grav?tt and Heather Alicia Simms portray compelling, multidimensional women in August Wilson's

 The story, the closest thing to a sequel in the Wilson canon of 20th-century plays, has the feel of excess baggage -- until you are slapped to attention by a bracingly pitiless speech by Tonya, King's wife, and the actress who delivers it, Heather Alicia Simms.

Simms's turn as Tonya is especially memorable. She is another of Wilson's gallery of characters immersed in disappointment: Her husband and her daughter by another man are on separate paths to self-destruction. And Simms makes of Tonya's sorrow something as accessible as any emotion in any of the plays.

Her indelible moment is one of those urgent speeches that Wilson bestows so generously on actors. In this case, the subject is Tonya's pregnancy and why she is determined to terminate it. It's an elegy to futility, ranging over the innumerable heartaches of raising a child in Pittsburgh's violence-prone Hill District, where the play is set. A place so forbidding that when you call the undertaker, the line is busy and you "got to call back five times."

Tonya's outrage seems to stop the clock. Even though Simms is reading from a script, the words sound new. And they float in the consciousness long after the book has been closed.

 

A conversation between Bishop Enoch and Chazz’s mother (Heather Simms) will ring wrenchingly true to any parent, but especially to those trying to bring up black girls and boys in an environment that can be apathetic at best and hostile at worst. Washington Post Review- Red Hook Summer

 

The action of the play is set in a bar and brothel located on the edge of a rainforest near a small mining town. The bar is known as Mama’s Bar and is owned and managed by Mama Nadi, played with great courage and sensitivity by a superbly talented actress, Heather Alicia Simms. - Stage Magazine May 31,2011

The play’s central character, Mama Nadi, a resilient keeper of a bar/brothel in a mining town, is played convincingly by Heather Alicia Simms.- examinThe er.com June 2, 2011

Mama Nadi (played with warmth and power by Heather Alicia Simms) -talkinbroadway.com

 

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