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Anna Deavere Smith

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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | January 13, 2011
Amid all the screaming, exaggerating and fear-mongering that passes for serious debate on health care in this country, it's hard sometimes to hear the people facing life-and-death questions every day. Anna Deavere Smith, the exceptional Baltimore-born actress and playwright, set out several years ago to listen to some of them. Using the words verbatim from interviews with more than 300 people, including quite a few celebrities, Smith fashioned an unusual solo theatrical vehicle called "Let Me Down Easy.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | January 13, 2011
Amid all the screaming, exaggerating and fear-mongering that passes for serious debate on health care in this country, it's hard sometimes to hear the people facing life-and-death questions every day. Anna Deavere Smith, the exceptional Baltimore-born actress and playwright, set out several years ago to listen to some of them. Using the words verbatim from interviews with more than 300 people, including quite a few celebrities, Smith fashioned an unusual solo theatrical vehicle called "Let Me Down Easy.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | June 16, 1995
One third of the way into "Fires in the Mirror," Anna Deavere Smith re-creates these words of Angela Davis: "We have to find )) ways of coming together in a different way."It's one of the most cogent statements of the thesis of this unusual, spellbinding work, currently playing a two-week engagement as part of Center Stage's Off Center series. Subtitled "Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities," Smith's one-woman show focuses on the riots that erupted in Crown Heights in August 1991 after a 7-year-old black boy was accidentally killed by a car in the motorcade of a Hasidic rabbi; three hours later a Hasidic scholar visiting from Australia was stabbed to death in apparent retaliation.
NEWS
By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Carole McCauley,mary.mccauley@baltsun.com | August 23, 2009
New York - The playwright and performer Anna Deavere Smith left Baltimore in the late 1960s - though such a meek little verb is hardly adequate to describe an act so urgent and impassioned, so freighted with family turmoil. She's barely been back to her hometown since, though she's starting to think that it's time she returned. Not for good, but long enough to look for answers to the questions rustling through her mind. "After this play, one of the first things I'd like to do is go back to Maryland," she says, during a chat in a rehearsal room of Manhattan's Second Stage Theatre, where she's preparing her new play.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | June 11, 1995
When Baltimore native Anna Deavere Smith was creating "Fires in the Mirror," her acclaimed show about tensions between blacks and Jews in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was reminded of "the power of my experience as a young woman at Western High School, meeting Jewish women and having the opportunity to meet their parents and particularly their grandparents."So her interviews with the people in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section "had a lot of resonance for me," she explains. "Even though I was talking about difficult things, something about it was very comfortable."
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | February 10, 1999
Actress, playwright and professor Anna Deavere Smith has a deep affection for what she calls "misfit theater."She means it as a compliment. It's a term she applies to plays she first saw as a girl growing up in Baltimore. At Arena Players, she would see black actors cast in traditionally white roles. And although she went to Western High School, she often attended all-girl plays at Roland Park Country School, where her best friend was a student."Those two things were my experience of what theater was. I always thought theater was when the wrong person played the wrong role -- misfit theater," Smith said.
FEATURES
By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | January 31, 1997
WASHINGTON -- On a spring day in 1993, Anna Deavere Smith's search for American character took her to a lawyer's office in Los Angeles where she spoke to Reginald Denny, a white trucker beaten unconscious a year before in uprisings following the Rodney King police brutality trial. As usual, she switched on her tape recorder, asked questions, listened. It's remarkable, she says, how it's possible to discover something profound about someone in a short time.In this case, it happened near the end of the hour-long interview, when Smith asked Denny: "What do you want?"
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | February 4, 1997
Watching Anna Deavere Smith's "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" in the theater where Lincoln was shot leaves you with an even more unsettling feeling than this extraordinary one-woman show evoked on Broadway three years ago.In the shadow of Lincoln's black-draped box at Ford's Theatre in Washington, Smith's examination of the riots that broke out after the first Rodney King trial offers a painful commentary on the relatively short distance this country has...
NEWS
By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Carole McCauley,mary.mccauley@baltsun.com | August 23, 2009
New York - The playwright and performer Anna Deavere Smith left Baltimore in the late 1960s - though such a meek little verb is hardly adequate to describe an act so urgent and impassioned, so freighted with family turmoil. She's barely been back to her hometown since, though she's starting to think that it's time she returned. Not for good, but long enough to look for answers to the questions rustling through her mind. "After this play, one of the first things I'd like to do is go back to Maryland," she says, during a chat in a rehearsal room of Manhattan's Second Stage Theatre, where she's preparing her new play.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | November 22, 1997
Anna Deavere Smith's newest work, "House Arrest: First Edition," is twice the play it needs to be.The problem isn't just length. It's that "House Arrest," which is receiving its world premiere at Washington's Arena Stage, is literally two plays fused uncomfortably into one.One of these plays is fascinating and informative -- Smith's idiosyncratic brand of real-life interviews, re-enacted and pieced together around a theme: in this case, the press and the...
NEWS
September 19, 2003
On September 15, 2003 ANNA YOUNG SMITH, educator for 42 years in the Baltimore City Public School System. Wife of the late Deaver Young Smith, Jr.; mother of five Anna Deavere Smith, Deaver Young Smith, III, Albert Maurice Smith, Rosalind Smith Allan and Jennifer Alisa Smith; mother-in-law of Valeria Hicks Smith and Roosevelt Allan; sister of Lorraine Coleman, Donald Young and William Young; grandmother of five and great grandmother of three. She is survived by nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | February 10, 1999
Actress, playwright and professor Anna Deavere Smith has a deep affection for what she calls "misfit theater."She means it as a compliment. It's a term she applies to plays she first saw as a girl growing up in Baltimore. At Arena Players, she would see black actors cast in traditionally white roles. And although she went to Western High School, she often attended all-girl plays at Roland Park Country School, where her best friend was a student."Those two things were my experience of what theater was. I always thought theater was when the wrong person played the wrong role -- misfit theater," Smith said.
NEWS
By From staff reports | January 30, 1999
In Baltimore CityAnna Deavere Smith, playwright, actress, to lecture at schoolPlaywright, actress and author Anna Deavere Smith will be this year's Anne Healy Lecturer at Roland Park Country School.Smith will examine how issues of race, class and gender have shaped and changed the American character in her lecture, "Snapshots: Glimpses of America in Change." Smith has received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, two Tony nominations, an Obie Award and two NAACP Theater Awards. She has also appeared in the movies "Dave" and "The American President," and is on the faculty at Stanford University.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | November 22, 1997
Anna Deavere Smith's newest work, "House Arrest: First Edition," is twice the play it needs to be.The problem isn't just length. It's that "House Arrest," which is receiving its world premiere at Washington's Arena Stage, is literally two plays fused uncomfortably into one.One of these plays is fascinating and informative -- Smith's idiosyncratic brand of real-life interviews, re-enacted and pieced together around a theme: in this case, the press and the...
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | February 4, 1997
Watching Anna Deavere Smith's "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" in the theater where Lincoln was shot leaves you with an even more unsettling feeling than this extraordinary one-woman show evoked on Broadway three years ago.In the shadow of Lincoln's black-draped box at Ford's Theatre in Washington, Smith's examination of the riots that broke out after the first Rodney King trial offers a painful commentary on the relatively short distance this country has...
FEATURES
By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | January 31, 1997
WASHINGTON -- On a spring day in 1993, Anna Deavere Smith's search for American character took her to a lawyer's office in Los Angeles where she spoke to Reginald Denny, a white trucker beaten unconscious a year before in uprisings following the Rodney King police brutality trial. As usual, she switched on her tape recorder, asked questions, listened. It's remarkable, she says, how it's possible to discover something profound about someone in a short time.In this case, it happened near the end of the hour-long interview, when Smith asked Denny: "What do you want?"
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck | April 25, 1993
Anna Deavere Smith brings play to public TV"Fires in the Mirror" -- the Obie Award-winning one-woman play in which Baltimore-born actress, playwright and professor Anna Deavere Smith portrays a score of real-life characters from the 1991 Crown Heights riots -- will be broadcast on Maryland Public Television (channels 22 and 67) at 9 p.m. Wednesday.Directed for television by George C. Wolfe, the newly named producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival, "Fires in the Mirror" was originally produced in 1992 in a limited two-week run that was subsequently extended for three sold-out months.
NEWS
September 19, 2003
On September 15, 2003 ANNA YOUNG SMITH, educator for 42 years in the Baltimore City Public School System. Wife of the late Deaver Young Smith, Jr.; mother of five Anna Deavere Smith, Deaver Young Smith, III, Albert Maurice Smith, Rosalind Smith Allan and Jennifer Alisa Smith; mother-in-law of Valeria Hicks Smith and Roosevelt Allan; sister of Lorraine Coleman, Donald Young and William Young; grandmother of five and great grandmother of three. She is survived by nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | June 16, 1995
One third of the way into "Fires in the Mirror," Anna Deavere Smith re-creates these words of Angela Davis: "We have to find )) ways of coming together in a different way."It's one of the most cogent statements of the thesis of this unusual, spellbinding work, currently playing a two-week engagement as part of Center Stage's Off Center series. Subtitled "Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities," Smith's one-woman show focuses on the riots that erupted in Crown Heights in August 1991 after a 7-year-old black boy was accidentally killed by a car in the motorcade of a Hasidic rabbi; three hours later a Hasidic scholar visiting from Australia was stabbed to death in apparent retaliation.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | June 11, 1995
When Baltimore native Anna Deavere Smith was creating "Fires in the Mirror," her acclaimed show about tensions between blacks and Jews in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was reminded of "the power of my experience as a young woman at Western High School, meeting Jewish women and having the opportunity to meet their parents and particularly their grandparents."So her interviews with the people in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section "had a lot of resonance for me," she explains. "Even though I was talking about difficult things, something about it was very comfortable."
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