Second Stage Theatre will launch its 31st season with the New York premiere of Smith's new work. Directed by Leonard Foglia, previews will begin at the Off-Broadway venue Sept. 15 with an official opening Oct. 7.
"Channeling a dramatic range of interview subjects, from artists and athletes to doctors and those they treat," Let Me Down Easy, according to press notes, "is a virtuosic and moving exploration of the power of the body and the resilience of the human spirit, featuring first person accounts from a wide variety of sources, including Lance Armstrong and former Texas Governor Ann Richards. With her trademark journalistic precision, Anna Deavere Smith, one of the most acclaimed and provocative theater artists of our time, explores the world of healthcare from both the patient and practitioner perspective in this timely and absorbing new play."
Smith presented Let Me Down Easy at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, and subsequently at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA.
A recipient of the 1996 MacArthur Fellowship, Smith's best-known works include Fires in the Mirror, examining the racial tension between blacks and Jews which culminated in the 1991 riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She received a Drama Desk Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for this work. In Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, Smith examined the civil unrest which resulted from the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles. She also received a Drama Desk Award for this work, as well as two Tony Award nominations. Her most recent work, Let Me Down Easy, explores the fragility and resilience of the human body. Smith has appeared in several films, including "Philadelphia" and "The American President," and had recurring roles on "The West Wing" and "The Practice." She was also in the recent feature film "Rachel Getting Married." She is the author of two books, "Talk to Me: Travels in Media and Politics" (2001), and "Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind" (2006).
Smith is a tenured professor at the Tisch School of Arts at New York University and teaches courses on the art of listening at the NYU School of Law. She has also taught at Stanford University and the Yale School of Medicine.
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