The Humanity and Genius of August Wilson with discussants Kenny Leon and Phylicia Rashad speaking at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival. Anna Deavere Smith moderates.
In this, its third year, Aspen Ideas Festival once again gathers scientists, artists, politicians, historians, educators, activists, and other great thinkers around some of the most important and fascinating ideas of our time. As these thinkers present their provocative ideas, they engage a sophisticated and highly motivated audience.
Kenny Leon is a Broadway director whose credits include August Wilsonâ€™s Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean and the Tony Award-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun. He is also founding artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company, dedicated to diversity and the preservation of African-American classics. For more than a decade he was artistic director of the Alliance Theatre, and he has directed extensively at regional theatres throughout the country. Other directing credits include the world premiere of Toni Morrisonâ€™s opera Margaret Garner and the film adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun, to be released on network television. He will also be collaborating with the Kennedy Center to showcase all 10 of August Wilson's plays.
Phylicia Rashad is an actress and singer best known as Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show. She has earned two Emmy Award nominations and a People's Choice Award for Favorite Television Female Performer during her eight years on the show. Rashad was the first black actress to win a Tony Award for a dramatic leading role in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. As a singer, Rashad has shared the stage with Bill Cosby in Las Vegas and performed with the Dallas Symphony and the Oklahoma Symphony. She received a NAACP Image Award Nomination for her role in Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith is perhaps best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. In addition to her work in television and film, Smith is said to have created a new form of theatre. Following her interviews with scores of individuals, usually on a topic of civic and political interest, she creates theater works in which she plays many characters – as many as 52 in one production – representing multiple points of view.