Actress Anna Deavere Smith booked in connection with THIS LIGHT OF OURS


February 15, 2016



Popular actress part of Art Museum’s THIS LIGHT OF OURS programing

Newsweek declared her “the most exciting individual in American theatre,” and now she’s bringing her talents to the Lehigh Valley. TV and stage actress Anna Deavere Smith will present a one-woman show related to the Allentown Art Museum’s current special exhibition This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement. The performance will take place Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m., at the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre on the campus of Muhlenberg College. Tickets are $15 for Museum members, $20 for nonmembers and can be purchased at the Muhlenberg box office: 484-664-3333.  

After interviewing real people from all walks of life, Smith transforms herself into an astonishing number of characters to talk about issues of community and diversity in America. For these performances she has been awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize as well as the National Humanities Medal. The MacArthur Foundation honored her with a “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre—a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

In addition to her stage work, Smith is well known for her appearances on television, including on Showtime’sNurse Jackie along with The West Wing, Black-ish, and Madame Secretary. She has appeared in films, including Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, and The American President. Her breakthrough plays, Fires in the Mirror and the Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, which dramatized the LA Riots in the days that followed the Rodney King trial, tackled issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. Her upcoming play on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, continues in this tradition by exploring the cycle of suspension from school to incarceration prevalent in low-income communities.

"Anna Deavere Smith has been a voice for civil rights through the lens of her art and performance for decades," said Allentown Art Museum president and CEO, David Mickenberg, who arranged for the performance. "Her presentation will shed new light on the period, actions, personalities, and images in the exhibition This Light of Ours. She will bring an incredibly important perspective on how the arts advocate for and contribute to human rights."

In 1997, Smith founded Anna Deavere Smith Works at Harvard University. Now part of the Aspen Institute, where Smith is on the Board of Trustees, ADS Works “cultivates artistic excellence that embraces the social issues of the day.” A professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and an affiliate with the NYU School of Law, Smith delivered the 2015 NEH Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.


Media Contact:
Chris Potash
(610) 432-4333, ext 125                                                                                             
cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org