JILL BESS is an actress, director, teacher, and award-winning playwright. Her stage work includes drama, musical theatre, children's theatre, light opera and comedic improvisation. Jill has directed, written, or acted for the original Alaska Repertory Theatre, Alaska Light Opera Theatre, Anchorage Opera, Out North, Alaska Theatre of Youth, Toast Theatre, TBA, Kokopelli, Anchorage Community Theatre, Cyrano’s, and the Main Stage of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez!
ACTING: Credits include Aurora in SPIKES, Jeannie in GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL, Silda in OTHER DESERT CITIES, Beth in DINNER WITH FRIENDS, Blanche in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Melanie in LETTER TO A DAUGHTER (with playwright Sir Arnold Wesker), The Princess Conti in LA BETE, and performing in her three original one-woman shows CONFESSIONS OF A PK, THIS STRANGER MY FRIEND, and her nationally award winning one-woman show THE MOMMY DANCE, which toured throughout Alaska, the lower 48 and Western Canada and is set to be stage at CYRANOS Theatre in May of 2021 with a new actress, and directed by Bess.
DIRECTING: Jill has concentrated on directing the last dozen years, and her credits include A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, ROCK OF AGES, THE CRUCIBLE, #SAYSOMETHING, MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE, INTO THE WOODS, MACBETH, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - RADIO SHOW, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE abridged, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Neil Simon’s FOOLS, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, BLITHE SPIRIT, AS YOU WISH, Elton John’s AIDA, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, GUYS AND DOLLS, ITALIAN AMERICAN RECONCILIATION and scores more.
TEACHING: Jill recently retired from teaching high school theatre at East Anchorage High school, and has been looking forward to opening and running AK True Acting to continue her dream of teaching theatre. Jill completed her certification for teaching the Meisner method of acting (2012-2013), studying with Master Teacher Larry Silverberg on the campus of Willamette University and the training drives the way she approaches her work as a teacher, director and actress.
FILM WORK: You can see Jill in her film debut in THE FROZEN GROUND with Nicolas Cage and John Cusack (available on Amazon Prime), and in the Discovery Channel's movie of the week, "LOST IN ALASKA," and in the recent award-winning film short "SHADE."
PLAYWRITING: Jill's unique writing style includes comedy, musical theatre (THE MOMMY DANCE is a 2-Act Musical with 9 original songs), drama (CRAZY LIKE ME), and a few have a unique autobiographical performance art style (CONFESSIONS OF A PK). Her latest pieces include a modern day Fairy Tale (THE OLD WOMAN WHO LOST HER VOICE), a comedy about a family dealing with struggles at their mother's funeral service (SIMPLE MELODY - finalist for the Tennessee Williams Literary and One-Act Festival) and a farce about the complications of love (THE FRENCHMAN AND THE DUTCHMAN, A LOVE STORY).