San Diego REPertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Vantage Theatre, in Association with Arena Stage, Present the Second Stage Theatre’s Production of “Let Me Down Easy”

San Diego REPertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Vantage Theatre, in Association with Arena Stage, Present the Second Stage Theatre’s Production of “Let Me Down Easy”
January, 2011 Client News

SAN DIEGO – Jan. 19, 2011 – San Diego REPertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Vantage Theatre, in association with Arena Stage, present the Second Stage Theatre’s production of Let Me Down Easy. Conceived, written and performed by award-winning playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith, the production will run on The Lyceum Stage from April 27 to May 15, 2011, as part of the show’s upcoming tour across the country.

Called “the most exciting individual in American theater” by Newsweek magazine, Anna Deavere Smith’s (Fires in the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles) Let Me Down Easy explores the power of the body, the price of health and the resilience of the spirit. Based on interviews with an eclectic range of people — from a heavyweight boxer to a supermodel, and from Texas Governor Ann Richards to legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong — Let Me Down Easy “is a totally vital piece of theater, mixing a standup comic’s instincts with a great reporter’s keen eye” (Variety).

“To write Let Me Down Easy, I interviewed over 300 people on three continents,” says Smith, a Baltimore native. “My goal is to learn as much about a person as possible by studying the way they speak. My portrayals of the more than 20 people in this one-woman show are all drawn from the words of people who speak to the vulnerability of the human body, the resilience of the spirit, the price of care. The Let Me Down Easy journey began when I was invited to be a Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Medicine. My first thought was, ‘Really, me, a clown, to create something in such a serious elite environment?’ I walked away from the experience with an increased compassion for doctor and patient alike. The stories stayed in my heart and became the basis of this play.”

Smith is one of the most honored women working in theatre today. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Ms. Smith was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, received multiple Drama Desk Awards, and has twice been nominated for a Tony Award, both as an actress and playwright. Along with her celebrated theatre career, Anna Deavere Smith has also enjoyed a remarkable television and film career. She has appeared in several films, including Philadelphia, The American President and Rachel Getting Married and has had recurring roles on television, including The West Wing, The Practice and Nurse Jackie. This month, Smith was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Nurse Jackie, which the new season of the Showtime series begins in March 2011 and runs for 12 weeks.

San Diego REPertory Theatre is thrilled to have Let Me Down Easy as the sixth and final play in the upcoming 2010-2011 Season. “Anna Deavere Smith is one of America’s most distinguished and admired theatre artists,” says Sam Woodhouse, co-founder and artistic director, San Diego REP. “We have been trying to bring her absolutely unique and revelatory theatre work to San Diego REP for decades. Thanks to the enlightened leaders at La Jolla Playhouse and Vantage Theatre, we have forged a one-of-a-kind partnership that now makes this possible. We are thrilled that this major new work of American theatre will be the climactic and final production of our 35th season.”

“Anna Deavere Smith is a truly mesmerizing performer who artfully addresses serious issues in the community through her work. She once again hits her stride with this award-winning solo show tackling the nation’s health care system, and we are delighted to partner with San Diego REPertory Theatre and Vantage Theatre to bring this riveting piece of theatre to San Diego audiences,” noted Christopher Ashley, artistic director, La Jolla Playhouse.

“We are thrilled to be the catalyst for bringing Anna Deavere Smith to San Diego,” says Dori Salois, artistic director, Vantage Theatre. “I worked with Anna many moons ago and have been keeping up with her meteoric career ever since. Vantage Theatre vowed to bring her to San Diego and is delighted to work with such visionaries as Sam Woodhouse and Christopher Ashley in this innovative theatrical partnership. With Smith’s trademark use of multifaceted vantage points Let Me Down Easy offers a unique, timely and moving commentary on the human condition and health care.”

San Diego Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse
in association with Vantage Theatre
in association with Arena Stage
present the Second Stage Theatre’s production of
Let Me Down Easy
conceived, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith
directed by Leonard Foglia

When:      April 27, 2011 to May 15, 2011
Opening Night: Fri., April 29, 2011 8 p.m.

Where:    The Lyceum Stage
79 Horton Plaza
San Diego, Calif. 92101

Performance Times:    Wed., 7 p.m.
Thurs., 8 p.m.
Fri., 8 p.m.
Sat., 2 p.m. (no matinee performance May 7)
Sat., 8 p.m.                                                                                                                                                    Sun., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets:     $30 to $53
Lyceum Box Office
(619) 544-1000