Joan Hess most recently played the role of the wealthy and hilarious Tanya in her fifth Broadway show, Mamma Mia. She was also seen as Jessica (the “Leggy Blonde”) in HBO’s award-winning comedy series, Flight of the Conchords. She recently had the great honor of working with television’s iconic director Jay Sandrich (Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Get Smart, Cosby Show) when she played Doris in Same Time, Next Year (Best Actress Nomination) and Jennie in Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play Chapter Two. Prior to that, she had the great fortune of playing the plum role of Billie Dawn in Garson Kanin's classic play Born Yesterday. Ms. Hess was also featured on Broadway as Patsy in Crazy for You, as Edie and Hattie in Kiss Me Kate, as Sophia in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, where she understudied the lead roles of Christine and Muriel, and as Bridgette in Bells are Ringing, where she understudied Faith Prince in the lead role. She appeared at the Lincoln Center in the lead role in Dessa Rose, the powerful Lynn Ahrens/ Stephen Flaherty piece, directed by 10-time Tony Award nominee, Graciela Daniele. She appeared as Betty in the First National Tour of Sunset Boulevard, Polly in the First National Tour of Crazy for You, and she toured the country with 42nd Street and Beehive, as well.
Regional theater audiences and critics, alike, lauded her performance in the title role in Gypsy (Best Actress Nomination) at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and as Picasso’s first love, Fernande Olivier, in the World Premier of La Vie en Bleu, at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theater. As Ann in The 1940's Radio Hour she also received a Best Actress Nomination. She played the lead role of Maddy in the Australian import Hot Shoe Shuffle, Lilly McBain in Swingtime Canteen, Irene Molloy in Hello Dolly with Avery Schreiber, Peggy in The Taffetas, Irene in Crazy for You, Grace in Annie, and Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Other Regional appearances include Grand Hotel, Closer than Ever, Sweet Charity, and the lead role in the World Premiere of Noel Coward and Jeffry Hatcher's Bon Voyage at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, among others. Her non-musical regional performances include the plays Steel Magnolias (Shelby), Six Characters in Search of an Author (the Actress), The Dining Room (Second Actress), Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in the lead role of Queen Hermione, and The 39 Steps (Annabella/Margaret/Pamela), which she also Assistant Directed and Choreographed.
Ms. Hess was featured in the PBS Great Performances series in My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs, hosted by Julie Andrews. She has performed with numerous symphonies around the world, from Houston, Atlanta, North Carolina and Detroit Symphonies to the Philly Pops and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In 2002, she had the privilege of singing for the World Economic Forum following Mayor Bloomberg's address.
Joan served as script supervisor on the independent short film entitled Down in the Mouth. She also hosted and produced live television for three seasons, acted in over thirty commercials, and modeled for many years. She's a Colorado native and is blissfully married to actor and powerhouse tenor, David Hess, with whom she toured South Africa, England and Italy for the Travel Channel’s Fantasy Rails for Millionaires.