Best Of 2012

Best Theatrical Talent Merger: Meg Heimstead & Shawn Paonessa

Best Theatrical Talent Merger

Meg Heimstead turned down Shawn Paonessa the first time he made her an offer. That was several years ago, when he asked her to play a part in a play he was directing. That role didn’t feel right to her, but luckily for Paonessa, she has happily accepted a more significant partnership: The pair is getting married later this year, a union of two powerhouses in the local theater scene. Heimstead is a mercurial, winning actress, equally adept at wacky (freeFall’s Vibrator Play) and poignant (Dead Man’s Cell Phone at Jobsite), and last year she joined with Gavin Hawk and Roxanne Fay to create A Simple Theatre, a promising new company that has won glowing reviews. Paonessa, an actor/director/playwright with a flair for comedy who has played everything from Shakespeare to Neil Simon, made a huge impact with Jobsite’s 2005 premiere of The March of the Kitefliers, a play he wrote with Neil Gobioff that was so successful it spawned a production company, Kitefliers Studios, which has gone on to make films and co-produce Off-Broadway. By the way, Paonessa asked Heimstead out for the first time on the closing night of the 2007 Kitefliers revival (she was in both versions). “I was a bit shocked,” recalls Heimstead, “and my answer was a bumbled ‘Um…Yeah … Uh … Okay.’ It wasn’t exactly the response he had hoped for, but the rest is history.” (For more on the couple, follow the link to the "Power of Twos" interview under "Related Stories" below.)


Watch: Meg Heimstead & Shawn Paonessa — Best Theatrical Talent Merger in this year's Best of the Bay — talk to CL's David Warner about why Shawn had to compete with Al Roker when he proposed. Taped during The Loafies, Sept. 19, at Creative Loafing.