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Andra Velis Simon works around the country as a music director, adapter, arranger, pianist, vocal coach, and educator. 


Regionally, Andra has worked with Actors Theatre of Louisville, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Berkeley Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Cincinnati Playhouse, The MUNY, NYU’s Skirball Center, Olney Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, People's Light, and TheatreSquared.  In Chicago, she has collaborated with dozens of arts organizations, including The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Firebrand, Porchlight, and Northlight, to name just a few. 

Andra taught musical theatre performance at Columbia College Chicago for over fifteen years, also serving as the Theatre Department’s Music Director for much of that time.  Her former students are performing in regional theatres, on national tours, and on Broadway.  At Columbia, she music directed Bat Boy, Head Over Heels, Cabaret, Urinetown, Allegro, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, Violet, Rent, Floyd Collins, LaChiusa’s The Wild Party, Chicago, Pirates of Penzance, and others. 

In addition, Andra has taught at Grinnell College, Northwestern University’s summer “Cherubs” program for the National High School Institute, Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, and was a guest teacher at Rose Bruford College in the UK.


Andra was the Resident Music Director for Firebrand Theatre, where she music directed their inaugural production of LIZZIE directed by Victoria Bussert, as well as Caroline, or Change directed by Lili-Anne Brown, 9 to 5: The Musical directed by Harmony France, and Always... Patsy Cline directed by Brigitte Ditmars.

With The Hypocrites theatre company, Andra arranged and music directed Sean Graney's contemporary takes on Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore, where an ensemble of ten actors serve as their own orchestra.  All three adaptations have received multiple remounts at theatres around the country, leading to a commission from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to create a country-western adaptation of Yeomen of the Guard, which premiered in 2016.  Also with The Hypocrites, Andra adapted and music directed Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes about the life and work of Pauline Viardot, and music directed an actor-musician production of American Idiot.

Andra also has been a regular with Chicago Children’s Theatre, where she music directed, arranged, and/or accompanied numerous hit productions and remounts, including The Hundred Dresses, A Year With Frog and Toad, and the world premiere of Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, Cheryl West, Lamont Dozier and Paris Ray Dozier.


Other notable productions include:  the U.S. premiere of the verbatim musical London Road with Shattered Globe Theatre; The Band's Visit and Next to Normal at Writers Theatre; the world premiere of Isaac Gómez's La Ruta at Steppenwolf, directed by Sandra Marquez; European opera director Calixto Bieito's take on Tennessee Williams' Camino Real at The Goodman Theatre; the Midwest premiere of Mr. Burns:  a post-electric play by Anne Washburn at Theater Wit; and Boojum!, an existential chamber opera and surprise runaway hit at the former Storefront Theatre.  

Areas of special expertise include actor-musician productions and arrangements, pit reductions, the development of new musicals, and coaching vocalists at all skill levels.  


Andra offers private vocal and audition coaching, and is available for musical theatre audition workshops based on a very popular course she created at Columbia College Chicago.

Member of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, Maestra Music, and TCG.


When Andra isn't hopping around the country on gigs, she lives with her spouse Jamie and their sweet, 80-pound Rottweiler mix, Cooper.

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