Theater News

Anna Deavere Smith Developing New Play About Tennis Icon Billie Jean King

”Love All” will have a summer reading at New York Stage and Film.

Anna Deavere Smith (right) is developing a new play, Love All, about the life of tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Anna Deavere Smith (right) is developing a new play, Love All, about the life of tennis legend Billie Jean King.
(© Tristan Fuge / David Gordon)

Tony nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist Anna Deavere Smith is currently developing a new play about the life and career of sports legend and activist Billie Jean King.

Titled Love All, the play is written by Smith, directed by Marc Bruni, and produced by Harriet Newman Leve and Stephanie Sandberg. The piece 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, creative team, and other details about the reading will be announced at a later date.

Press materials describe the play as follows: "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 theater, being part of a project like Love All is an honor and honestly a surreal experience," said King in a statement. "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."

Smith is best known for her documentary-style plays, including Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, both of which featured Smith as a solo performer. Fires in the Mirror earned her Tony nominations as both a playwright and actor, while Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 earned a 1993 Pulitzer Prize nomination.