World Premiere of Anna Deavere Smith's New Solo Show, Let Me Down Easy, Opens Jan. 16

News   World Premiere of Anna Deavere Smith's New Solo Show, Let Me Down Easy, Opens Jan. 16 The Long Wharf Theatre's world premiere production of the new Anna Deavere Smith solo show, Let Me Down Easy, officially opens Jan. 16.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith

Stephen Wadsworth directs the run, which began previews Jan. 9 at the Connecticut company's Mainstage for a run through Feb. 3.

The latest solo piece from the creator of Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles was "inspired by interviews conducted as a visiting professor at the Yale University School of Medicine [and] explores the resiliency and vulnerability of the human body," according to show notes. The playwright-actress inhabits subjects that vary "from survivors of the Rwandan genocide to the head coach of the National Champion University of Texas football team."

"Uniting these divergent voices is the awareness that none of us are promised tomorrow, and for the time that we are on earth, our bodies house a multitude of experiences and the truth about who we are," Smith said in a release. "This is a portrait of the moment of human resourcefulness."

The work was performed, in its early stages, at Yale in 2000 as a presentation for medical grand rounds. Smith explained to Playbill.com, "It just never got out of my system. It started with having heard from each side of the fence, I guess you could say. Then it broadened and I became more interested in the body in general. My interviews have spanned to people who make a living off of having a body that is designed to do certain things — athletes like Lance Armstrong; models like Veronica Webb; people who are known to do commentaries of the body, like Eve Ensler." (For more of this interview, visit Playbill.com's Brief Encounter with the star.)

Playwright-performer Smith is known for her television work on "The West Wing" as National Security Advisor Nancy McNally. She has also been seen in the films "The American President," "The Human Stain," "Dave" and "Rent." Other TV credits include "Presidio Med," "The Practice" and HBO's "Life Support." The design team includes David Rockwell (set), Ann Hould-Ward (costume) and David Budries (sound). Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish serves as movement coach and Amy Stoller as dialect coach. Dorinne Kondo and Alisa Solomon handle dramaturgy. Diane Divita is stage manager. Daryl Roth produces.

Long Wharf next presents Donald Margulies' Shipwrecked! (Feb. 13-March 16), Lydia Diamond's The Bluest Eye (March 28-April 20) and the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein musical Carousel (May 7-June 1).

Tickets to Let Me Down Easy at Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive in New Haven, CT, are available by calling (203) 787-4282 or by visiting the theatre's website at longwharf.org.

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