Recent films include the documentary, "Studs Terkel: Listening to America" (Emmy nomination); "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin", which won the Oscar for Documentary Short and received a nomination from the International Documentary Association (IDA) for Distinguished Achievement; "On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom" (Oscar nomination, IDA Award, Emmy nomination). All three films subsequently aired on HBO/Cinemax. Other films include "Hamlet" (co-directed with Campbell Scott) for Hallmark Entertainment, and the independent feature, "Topa Topa Bluffs". Simonson has also written and developed multiple television series for HBO, FX, Starz, TNT, and USA networks.
Broadway writing credits include the hit play "Lombardi", "Magic/Bird", and "Bronx Bombers", which he also directed.
Simonson's other directing and writing credits in theatre include work at Steppenwolf Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages in NY, The Huntington Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Kansas City Rep, The Kennedy Center, Pasadena Playhouse, Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre, San Jose Rep and Court Theatre in Chicago. His work at Steppenwolf includes the premiere productions of his plays "Fake", "Honest", "Carter's Way", his adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five", the critically acclaimed and nationally produced "Nomathemba" (co-written with Ntozake Shange and Joseph Shabalala), and "The Song of Jacob Zulu", which was invited to the Perth International Arts Festival, ran on Broadway, and received six Tony nominations including Best Director. Other plays include published works "Bang the Drum Slowly" and "Work Song" (co-written with Jeffrey Hatcher), which premiered at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
Opera directing credits include the North American premiere of "The Handmaid's Tale" at Minnesota Opera, and world premiere productions of "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Silent Night" (Pulitzer Prize).
Simonson has been honored with the Princess Grace Foundation's Statue Award for Sustained Artistic Achievement, the Frankel Award for new play development, and several Edgerton Foundation grants for new play development.