Berkeley Repertory Theatre Announces Encore For LET ME DOWN EASY

Berkeley Repertory Theatre is thrilled to announce encore performances of Anna Deavere Smith's electrifying new show. Let Me Down Easy, which extended for two weeks before it even opened and continues to set records at the box office, will return for four weeks this summer on the Theatre's intimate Thrust Stage.

Originally scheduled to close on June 26, Let Me Down Easy ends its extended run on July 10 because the show must travel to the Broad Stage in Santa Monica for three weeks. Now, due to the unprecedented demand for tickets, Smith will bring Let Me Down Easy back to Berkeley Rep for another 27 performances starting August 10. The show must close on September 4. Seats for this limited engagement go on sale today at berkeleyrep.org.

"I am not surprised that Anna's show is so popular here in the Bay Area," said Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. "Local audiences experienced her singular talent before she became famous for roles on shows like Nurse Jackie and The West Wing. The alchemy she creates in the theatre has no parallel - and the subject matter of this show resonates deeply with health-conscious, spiritual, and wellness-oriented people in our community. I am delighted to bring Anna back this summer for more performances of Let Me Down Easy."

In 1994, Anna Deavere Smith set the Bay Area ablaze with her solo show Fires in the Mirror, the first production in Berkeley Rep's history to sell every ticket before it opened. Two years later, Smith was back with Twilight: Los Angeles, which shattered the attendance record at Berkeley Rep before touring to Boston, Houston, New Haven, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Now Smith is performing on a local stage for the first time in 15 years - and she's setting new records! In the Theatre's 43-year history, the advance sale for Let Me Down Easy is second only to the blockbuster premiere of Green Day's American Idiot, and Easy has racked up two of the top four days at the box office and two of the top four weeks of all time.

Conceived, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith and staged by esteemed director Leonard Foglia, Let Me Down Easy explores the depths of human strength. Called "the most exciting individual in American theater" by Newsweek, Smith conducted 320 interviews on three continents to create this show - and now she paints indelible portraits of more than 20 unforgettable individuals. Using her unique performance style, she introduces you to a rodeo rider, a prize fighter, and an altruistic doctor - as well as legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong, supermodel Lauren Hutton, and former Texas Governor Ann Richards. Together, their voices tell a stunning story about the vulnerability of the human body, the resilience of the spirit, and the price of care. Don't miss the latest work from this remarkable performer.

NBC's Today raves, "Run - do not walk - to see this play! Watching Anna Deavere Smith on stage is magical. One minute you are laughing, the next you are crying. It is truly brilliant and stunning." The New York Times calls it "a continually engaging and engrossing collection of testimonials," and Variety heralds the work as "a totally vital piece of theater, mixing a standup comic's instincts with a great reporter's keen eye." It's "dazzling," proclaims the Mercury News, "a mind-blowing, 105-minute, one-woman show." "Extraordinary," exclaims the San Francisco Chronicle, "the result is pure theatricAl Gold."

Berkeley Rep presents Let Me Down Easy as part of Arena Stage's national tour of the production from New York's Second Stage Theatre. For the local run, the executive producers are John and Helen Meyer and the Strauch Kulhanjian Family; Kaiser Permanente is the co-sponsor. BART and Wells Fargo continue their commitment as season sponsors at Berkeley Rep, and the 2010-11 season producers are Marjorie Randolph and Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney.

It's easy to get to Let Me Down Easy. The Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street, near bus lines, bike routes, and parking lots - and only half a block from BART. Tickets for these encore performances range from $49 to $95 (subject to change). To purchase seats, or for more information, call (510) 647-2949 or toll-free at (888) 4-BRT-Tix - or simply click berkeleyrep.org.

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