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Actor/playwright to give lecture on humanity and health care

Published January 14, 2014 9:59 pm

Event • Respected actor/playwright will give lecture tonight at Kingsbury Hall.
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Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith will give the 2014 David P. Gardner Lecture in the Humanities and Fine Arts on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the University of Utah.

Sponsored by the Tanner Humanities Center, Smith's lecture, titled "Health Care: The Human Story," will be at 7 p.m. in Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. They are available through the Kingsbury Hall box office (Kingtix.com or 801-581-7100).

For her one-woman show, "Let Me Down Easy," Smith interviewed patients, doctors and administrators about the complexities of the American health-care system.

Smith is an actor, teacher, playwright and the creator of an acclaimed series of one-woman plays based on her interviews with diverse voices from communities in crisis. She has won two Obie Awards, two Tony nominations for her play "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992," a MacArthur Fellowship, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play "Fires in the Mirror." In January 2013, she was awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.

Smith also has had roles in numerous films, including "Philadelphia," "An American President" and "The Human Stain," and has worked in television on "The Practice," "Nurse Jackie" and "The West Wing." She is the founder and director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue and a professor of performance studies at New York University.

Bob Goldberg, professor of history and director of the Tanner Humanities Center, said Smith is "an exceptional performer and artist whose explorations of complicated social and moral issues accentuate our shared humanity."

The Gardner Lecture honors former University of Utah President David Pierpont Gardner. It features distinguished scholars and artists from the humanities and the fine arts in alternating years.

For more information, contact the Tanner Humanities Center at 801-581-7989 or visit http://www.thc.utah.edu.