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Roger Guenveur Smith

Roger Guenveur Smith

Otto Frank (New Work)
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
7:30 pm  |  Seelos Theater

Roger Guenveur Smith gets it all and gets it brilliantly. — The New York Times

Tickets  About the Artists  |  Media  Related Events


In a new solo, Smith navigates an intimate odyssey inspired by Otto Frank, the father of diarist Anne Frank. Smith's performance of this tragic and triumphant history is distinguished by archival immersion, physical narrative, and improvisation, signatures of his astonishing work for the international stage and screen.

How does one negotiate loss? And in what currency?
Does our devotion to the dead preclude our commitment to the living?

Smith interrogates our present American moment through a rigorous view of our not-so-distant past. Scored by Smith's longtime collaborator, Marc Anthony Thompson.

POST-PERFORMANCE: Artist Q&A moderated by Edward Isser, Associate Dean of the Performing Arts |  Onstage

Tickets       $20 general / $10 Holy Cross faculty & staff / $5 students
Purchase tickets here (processing fees apply)
Call (508) 793-3835 for more information

Holy Cross courses: Contact the ATB Fellow at x3835 or to make arrangements for group tickets.

About the Artists

ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH and MARC ANTHONY THOMPSON's collaborations for the international stage include A Huey P. Newton Story, adapted by Mr. Smith into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm, scored by Mr. Thompson and directed by Oscar-winner Spike Lee. The trio re-teamed for Mr. Smith's adaptation of his Bessie Award-winning solo Rodney King, currently streaming on Netflix.

Smith and Thompson have also staged studies of Christopher Columbus, Frederick Douglass, Bob Marley, iconoclast artists Simon Rodia and Charles White, baseball greats Juan Marichal and John Roseboro, as well as intimate travelogues of Iceland, Panama, and Philadelphia. Last season Mr. Smith wrote and directed Casa de Spirits for San Francisco's Campo de Santo Ensemble, scored by Mr. Thompson; and directed The Hendrix Project, devised for the Public Theatre's Under the Radar Festival, and Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, for the Memphis MLK50 Commemoration, both with sound and projection design by Mr. Thompson.

Smith's recent screen credits have been inspired by Rosa Parks (Behind the Movement), Nat Turner (The Birth of a Nation), and Thurgood Marshall. Smith and frequent collaborator Spike Lee were honored at last year's Cannes Film Festival for their eclectic body of work, which includes the classic Do The Right Thing, for which Smith created the stuttering hero "Smiley." Smith studied at Yale University and Occidental College, and has taught at both institutions, as well as CalArts, where he directs his Performing History Workshop.

Listen & Watch

New York Times: "In Performance: Roger Guenveur Smith"

Full performance: Frederick Douglass Now

Related Event

Anne Frank, Otto Frank, and the Creation of Memory

October 23, 2019, 4:30pm

Rehm Library

This fall, Roger Guenveur Smith, the award-winning playwright and actor, will be coming to Holy Cross to do a one-person performance based on the well-known story of Anne Frank. Of special concern for Smith is the figure of Otto Frank, Anne's father, who would bring her diary to the world. Following Smith's performance, a panel discussion featuring Thomas Doughton, senior lecturer in CIS; Edward Isser, W. Arthur Garrity, Sr. Professor in Human Nature, Ethics, and Society; and Theresa McBride, professor of history; will join Smith and moderator Mark Freeman, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society, to explore the profound complexities entailed in the creation of both individual and collective memory.

Supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding at McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture