LOVE ALL, a New Play About Billie Jean King by Anna Deavere Smith, is in Development

The play will have a reading the first week of August as part of the New York Stage and Film 2022 Summer Season.

By: Apr. 20, 2022
LOVE ALL, a New Play About Billie Jean King by Anna Deavere Smith, is in Development

LOVE ALL, a new play by Anna Deavere Smith and directed by Marc Bruni will explore the life and career of the legendary Billie Jean King.

Produced by Harriet Newman Leve and Stephanie Sandberg, LOVE ALL will have a reading the first week of August as part of the New York Stage and Film 2022 Summer Season. Roy Gabay and Leve are the General Managers, and casting is by Karyn Casl and Charlie Hano at Telsey and Company. Alisa Solomon will serve as the play's dramaturg.

Casting, the creative team and further details about the New York Stage and Film reading will be announced at a later date.

LOVE ALL tells the story of the rise of sports icon and trailblazer for equality Billie Jean King against a backdrop of the social upheaval and countercultural revolutions of the 1960s. A tale of tough competition on the court and gritty teamwork in the world, it asks what it takes to be a champion and what more it takes to change the course of history.

"As a fan of the theatre, being part of a project like Love All is an honor and honestly a surreal experience and being able to work with brilliant minds like Anna Deavere Smith, Marc Bruni and Harriet Leve make this project even more special. Our hope is to tell a story that is authentic, inspiring and entertaining and one that speaks to people from all walks of life." - Billie Jean King

Anna Deavere Smith is a playwright and actress. She's credited with having created a new form of theater. Her works for the theater are composed of excerpts of hundreds of interviews. They tell stories about contemporary issues from multiple perspectives. Plays and subsequent films include Fires in the Mirror and Twilight Los Angeles, Let Me Down Easy, and Notes From the Field about the school to prison pipeline. Movies include Philadelphia, The American President, Rachel Getting Married and Billy Crystal's new movie Here Today. Television: Inventing Anna, The West Wing, Nurse Jackie and Black-ish. President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She's the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, several Obie awards, and the George Polk Career Award in Journalism. She was a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for two Tony Awards. She's a professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She has several honorary doctorate degrees including those from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Spelman College and Juilliard. She received an honorary doctorate from Oxford last fall and this spring will receive the Medal for Spoken Language from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Marc Bruni directed the Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway, in the West End, US/UK Tours, and in Australia, winning the Helpmann and Green Room Awards for Best Direction of a Musical. Bruni's other directing credits include: Trevor the Musical (Off Bway- Stage 42, Writers Theatre), The Explorers Club (Manhattan Theater Club), The Tale of Despereaux (With PigPen Theatre Co.- Old Globe Theatre, Berkeley Rep), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre and Royal George in Chicago- Jeff Award nom for Direction), Hey, Look Me Over!, Paint Your Wagon, Pipe Dream and Fanny for NY City Center Encores!, The Music Man, How to Succeed.., and 50 Years of Broadway (Kennedy Center), Roman Holiday: The Cole Porter Musical (Golden Gate), The Sound of Music (Chicago Lyric Opera), Other People's Money (Long Wharf-CCC Nom for Direction), I Hate Hamlet (Bucks County Playhouse), Presto Change-o (Barrington Stage), Ordinary Days (Roundabout Underground), and 7 shows for the St. Louis MUNY including Singin' in the Rain, My Fair Lady, The Music Man and The Sound of Music (Two Kevin Kline Nominations). He also directed the 8 episode streaming musical A Killer Party. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and member of SDC.

Billie Jean King Named one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by Life magazine and a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, founder of the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation and part of the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angel City FC and the Philadelphia Freedoms. In her legendary tennis career, King captured 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, including a record 20 Wimbledon championships. Her historic win over Bobby Riggs in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes, is one of the greatest moments in sports history. In September 2020, King became the first woman to have an annual global team sports event named in her honor when Fed Cup, the women's world cup of tennis, was rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup. The National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006 in honor of her accomplishments on and off the court. In 2017, Fox Searchlight released the critically acclaimed film, Battle of the Sexes, which depicts the cultural and social impact of the groundbreaking match. In 2018 King received a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, in 2019 King's deep Southern California roots were recognized with the opening of the Billie Jean King Main Library in her hometown of Long Beach, California, in 2020 King was honored with the release of the Billie Jean King Barbie doll, part of Mattel's Inspiring Women Series and in 2021 she received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. King serves on the board of the Women's Sports Foundation, is an adidas Global Ambassador and is a past member of the board of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and a past member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Her memoir, ALL IN: An Autobiography, was published by Knopf in August 2021.

Harriet Newman Leve (Producer) is a four-time Tony Award winning producer. Broadway credits include: Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, An American in Paris;

Beautiful: The Carol King Musical; Hedwig and the Angry lnch starring Neil Patrick Harris; Of Mice and Men starring James Franco; Ann staring Holland Taylor, Nice Work lf You Can Get lt starring Matthew Broderick; One Man Two Guvnors starring James Corden; War Horse; The 39 Steps; The Norman Conquests; The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett; A Little Night Music starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury; La Cage Aux Folles starring Kelsey Grammer; The Good Body starring Eve Ensler, The Lieutenant of lnishmore; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom starring Whoopi Goldberg; The Crucible starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney; Hedda Gabler starring Kate Burton; The Diary of Anne Frank starring Natalie Portman; Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 starring Anna Deavere Smith. Off Broadway productions include: STOMP; Shockheaded Peter, Communicating Doors starring Mary-Louise Parker and Beebo Brinker. She also produced the IMAX film Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey, and the films Radium Girls and A Call to Spy. Ms. Leve was the Vice President of development for Tony Bill Film Productions and taught film workshops at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. She also wrote a chapter for the Commercial Theater Institute's Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals. She is a member of The Broadway League and was on the Board of Directors of New York Stage and Film for four years.

STEPHANIE SANDBERG is a Partner at Accordant Advisors, which advises organizations -- particularly those in the performing arts -- on diversity, equity and inclusion. Her earlier experience includes serving as Executive Director for political action committee LPAC, which supports LGBTQ women running for office, and as a political force; Director at Out Leadership, where she also oversaw the OutWOMEN franchise; Publisher of Columbia Journalism Review and President/Publisher of The New Republic; and executive leadership roles at The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and The New Yorker. As head of communications for film distributor Disruptive LA, she helped launch James Cameron's DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, among other projects. Stephanie is an honors graduate of Stanford University, with a degree in English and Creative Writing.

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