Andra Velis Simon
Andra oversees all musical needs for the Theatre Department at Columbia College Chicago. As an Adjunct Faculty member, she also teaches several musical theatre performance courses. Andra was Music Director for the Columbia College Chicago productions of Violet, The Photographer, City on the Make, Rent, Floyd Collins, LaChiusa's Wild Party, Chicago, The Pirates of Penzance and Into the Woods.
As a music director, vocal coach, arranger and accompanist, Andra has had the pleasure of working with over 50 arts organizations in and around Chicago, including Bailiwick, Boho, Chicago Children's Theatre, Chicago Opera Vanguard, City Lit, Defiant, Emerald City, Hell in a Handbag, The Hypocrites, Lifeline, Rivendell, Roosevelt University, Signal Ensemble, Stage Left, Strawdog, Victory Gardens, and many others. She also toured for three summers with Wavelength, a comedy troupe that performs for educators across the country.
Most recently, Andra has provided arrangements and musical direction for The Hypocrites’ new adaptations of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, which have been remounted at A.R.T. in Cambridge, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Steppenwolf Garage. With The Goodman Theatre, Andra music directed Camino Real directed by Calixto Bieito and vocal coached Robert Fall’s production of The Iceman Cometh starring Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane. With Chicago Children’s Theatre, she has music directed A Year with Frog and Toad directed by Henry Godinez, Goodnight Moon directed by Lookingglass Theatre’s David Kersnar, and The Hundred Dresses directed by Sean Graney.
Other highlights include: Violet at the Mercury Theatre; Boojum! directed by Jimmy McDermott at the Storefront Theatre; Caged Dames, a world premiere musical by David Cerda for Hell in a Handbag; Bohemian Theatre Ensemble's Songs for a New World, which was remounted three times at various locations in Chicago and downstate IL; and City Lit Theatre's Juniper Tree, directed by David Cromer.
Andra's work has been commended by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, Newcity, Gay Chicago Magazine, Windy City Times, Chicago Free Press, and others.
Areas of special expertise include the development of new musical theatre works and coaching vocalists at all skill levels.
Bachelor of Arts, Georgetown University, cum laude