Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy to Play Off-Broadway's Second Stage | Playbill

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News Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy to Play Off-Broadway's Second Stage Acclaimed writer Anna Deavere Smith — of Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 fame — will bring her latest work, Let Me Down Easy, to Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre this fall.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith Photo by Mary Ellen Mark

The new production, which concerns medicine and health care, will begin previews in Manhattan Sept. 15 with an opening in October. Leonard Foglia directs.

Smith presented Let Me Down Easy at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and more recently at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. The upcoming Second Stage production will feature many changes.

Smith told The New York Times, "It's a substantial revision of what I did before, focusing far more on health care than the previous productions. Signs seem to suggest we will soon be in a vigorous national debate over health care. The piece not only looks at the human body as both resilient and vulnerable, but also health care as a practical part of that."

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, Anderson Cooper, and former Texas Governor Ann Richards."

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.

Second Stage Theatre is located at 307 West 43rd Street, off 8th Avenue. For more information call (212) 246-4422 or visit

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