Anna Deavere Smith
A.R.T.: Let Me Down Easy, Fires in the Mirror (Pulitzer Prize runner-up). Actress, playwright, and teacher, Anna Deavere Smith is said to have created a new form of theater. She received the National Humanities Medal, presented to her by President Obama in 2013. She was the 2015 Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow for Theatre Arts (for the development of Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education). She is a MacArthur Fellow, and received The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She is the recipient of two Tony nominations and two Obie Awards. She has created over 15 one-person shows based on hundreds of interviews, most of which deal with social issues. Twilight: Los Angeles, about the Los Angeles race riots of 1992, was performed around the country and on Broadway. Let Me Down Easy (seen at the A.R.T. in 2008) focused on health care in the U.S. In popular culture she has been seen in “Nurse Jackie,” “Black-ish,” “The West Wing,” The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia. Books include Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines. She has a number of honorary degrees including Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Juilliard, Union Theological Seminary, and The Radcliffe Medal. She sits on the board of trustees for the American Museum of National History, the Aspen Institute, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She is University Professor in the department of Art & Public Policy at New York University. She also directs the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at New York University.