PHOTO CALL: Sanaa Lathan Stars in West Coast Premiere of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse
By Krissie Fullerton
25 Sep 2012
Sanaa Lathan reprises her New York City role of a maid-turned-movie star in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark starting Sept. 18 as the Lynn Nottage's comedy makes its West Coast premiere at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Lathan is joined by fellow original cast member Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer"), reprising her role as fellow aspiring African-American actress Lottie. Broadway vet and Geffen alum Merle Dandridge (Spamalot, Rent, Aida) plays Anna Mae (who fakes a Brazilian accent for a slice of fame), and former leading lady of ABC's "Man Up," Amanda Detmer, plays Gloria Mitchell, the white starlet — aka "America's little sweetie pie" and Vera's first employer.
The cast also includes Kevin Carroll ("Paid in Full," "Being John Malkovich"), Spencer Garrett ("Iron Man 3," "Air Force One") and Geffen alum Mather Zickel ("Extraordinary Chambers," "Rachel Getting Married").
Here's how Geffen bills the play: "It's Hollywood's heyday and the streets of Los Angeles are filled with glitz, glamour and the chance at stardom — that is as long as you have the 'right' look. But when former maid Vera Stark lands a groundbreaking role in a new Southern epic, she turns Hollywood on its head and paves the way for future generations of black actresses. More than five decades later, Vera's influence on race, film and feminism has seeped its way into pop-culture. But who is the real Vera Stark? Part comedy and part commentary, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark uses today's fascination with celebrity and controversy to get to the truth behind the legend."
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.