Prodigy. Superstar. Activist. Exile.

One of the true divas of the 20th century, vocal powerhouse Nina Simone defied classification and defined a generation. This electric musical lays bare the rich legacy of an American icon whose work spans different genres, from jazz to gospel to blues to Broadway to rock and roll. It features such definitive classics as I Loves You Porgy, Young, Gifted and Black, and My Baby Just Cares for Me. Heart-melting and hopeful, Simone’s spellbinding story comes to life through four actresses in this theatrical journey. Simply Simone is performed in two acts with one 15-minute intermission. The total run time is approximately two hours and 10 minutes.

Performers: K. Desiree, Joy Brown, Kia Stewart, Rhyan McNeil
Associate Director: Kim Awon
Movement Director: Nikia Neal

Get to know the cast!

This program is organized by NMOA Visiting Curator of Performing Arts, Daryl Stewart, a Newark-based theatre artist.


NMOA Summer Series is a partnership between The Newark Museum of Art & New Jersey Symphony. Learn more.

Created by David Grapes and Robert Neblett
Music Arrangements by Vince DiMura

This show is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Betty Jean Jones

First Workshop Production – The University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Presented by arrangement with Summerwind Productions, PO Box 430, Windsor, CO, 80550

Event Guidelines

  • The Museum no longer requires proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 tests, or temperature screenings.
  • On-site parking is available for $10. Use Washington Street entrance by Central Avenue.
  • Enter event through the Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden gate, located next to the Museum parking lot. Doors open at 6:15pm. Show your digital or printed ticket to our Visitor Experience Assistant.
  • Enjoy complimentary small bites. Non-alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase.
  • Accessible restrooms are available inside the Museum through the South Wing entrance.
  • No refunds or exchanges unless the event is canceled or postponed.
  • In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Billy Johnson Auditorium.