PHOTO CALL: Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Starring Sanaa Lathan, Opens in NYC

News   PHOTO CALL: Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Starring Sanaa Lathan, Opens in NYC
 
Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage takes a cue from Hollywood screwball comedies for her new play, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, about an African-American maid and her white movie-star employer in the Golden Age of Hollywood, which opened May 9 in a world-premiere Off-Broadway production.

Previews began April 6 at Second Stage Theatre. An extension to May 29 had already been announced.

Here is a look at the opening night:

Tony Award nominee Sanaa Lathan (of the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun) plays the title character, and Stephanie J. Block (Broadway's The Pirate Queen, 9 to 5) is her boss. The cast also includes Tony nominee David Garrison (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine), Tony nominee Daniel Breaker (Passing Strange), Kimberly Hebert Gregory (a 1998 Joseph Jefferson Award for Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery), Kevin Isola (Shakespeare in the Park's Twelfth Night, Off-Broadway's Everett Beekin) and Tony winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story). Directed by Jo Bonney, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is Nottage's first play to be produced in New York since she won the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined in 2009.

According to Second Stage, "Lynn Nottage draws upon the screwball films of the 1930s to take a funny and irreverent look at racial stereotypes in Hollywood. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is a 70-year journey through the life of Vera Stark (Lathan), a headstrong African-American maid and budding actress, and her tangled relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star (Stephanie J. Block) desperately grasping to hold on to her career. When circumstances collide and both women land roles in the same Southern epic, the story behind the cameras leaves Vera with a surprising and controversial legacy scholars will debate for years to come."

Act One concerns Vera's hopes to land a role in a Southern-set film in the studio-system days of Hollywood. Act Two is set decades later, as critics debate the work and legacy of Stark.

Second Stage Theatre's Tony Kiser Theater is at 305 W. 43rd Street.

For subscription or ticket information, call the Second Stage box office at (212) 246-4422 or visit www.2ST.com.

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