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Award-Winning Playwright Anna Deavere Smith to Speak at Pomona College

Anna Deveare-Smith

Award-winning actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith will perform and discuss her one-woman show On the Road: A Search for American Character, a collection of excerpts from 25 years of interviews with diverse voices from communities in crisis, on Wednesday, February 29 at 7 p.m., as part of Pomona College's Distinguished Speaker Series. This free, ticketed event is open to the public and will be held in Bridges Auditorium (Pomona College, 450 N. College Way, Claremont). Tickets are available at the Bridges Auditorium box office, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday; limit of two tickets per person.

Smith, known for her acclaimed one-woman plays exploring American character and national identity, has won numerous awards, among them two Obies, two Tony nominations, a Drama Desk Award, the USA Susan V. Berresford Award from United States Artists and a MacArthur fellowship. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires In the Mirror. She has been hailed as creating a new form of theater, combining the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. The New York Times called her "the ultimate impressionist, she does people's souls."

Her television and movie credits include Nurse Jackie, The West Wing, The American President, Philadelphia and others.

Smith is the founding director of Anna Deavere Smith Works, a nonprofit that convenes socially-committed artists whose work addresses the world's most pressing problems and brings them into dialogue with scholars, scientists, activists, students and politicians. She is also the founder of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, a center for artistic excellence addressing social change. Smith teaches at New York University.

She is the author of 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) and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines (2000), among others.

For more information, contact: (909) 607-7906.

The Pomona College Distinguished Speaker Series seeks to bring to campus exciting, high-profile speakers with unique, informative perspectives. The College hopes that these events will encourage substantive conversations around important national and international issues. During their visit, speakers give a public lecture as well as interact with students, faculty and staff in more informal settings. Pomona College is very grateful to the Broe family for its generous three-year donation to the College for a seed fund to establish this series, which was outlined in Pomona College's 2007 Strategic Plan. Past speakers include:

  • 2011: Van Jones, green jobs advocate & civil rights activist (video), and Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft & co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (video)
  • 2010: Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  • 2009: David Plouffe, campaign manager for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign