Stephanie J. Block, Karen Olivo and Daniel Breaker Cast in Second Stage's Meet Vera Stark

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18 Jan 2011

Karen Olivo
Karen Olivo
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark will star Tony Award winner Karen Olivo, Tony nominee Daniel Breaker, Stephanie J. Block, Kimberly Hébert Gregory and Kevin Isola. Performances will begin at Second Stage Theatre April 6.

Jo Bonney (The Break of Noon, subUrbia) will helm the comedy about an African-American maid with showbiz aspirations. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark will officially open Off-Broadway May 9 for a run through May 22.

Block (9 to 5, Wicked, The Pirate Queen) is cast as Gloria Mitchell, the Hollywood star who finds herself competing with her own maid for a stake in the film business. Tony Award-winning West Side Story and In the Heights actress Olivo is cast as Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejobo, with Breaker (Shrek, Passing Strange) as Leroy Barksdale/Herb Forrester, Gregory (Brother/Sister Plays, The Lion King) as Lottie/Carmen Levy-Green and Isola (The Boys in the Band) as Maximillian Von Oster/Brian Blaze.

The titular role of Vera Stark remains to be cast.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, according to 2ST, "is a seventy year journey through the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong African-American maid and budding actress, and her tangled relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star 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."



The production will have scenic design by Neil Patel, lighting design by David Weiner, costume design by ESosa and original music and sound design by John Gromada.

Nottage received the Pulitzer Prize for her drama Ruined. Her plays also include Crumbs from the Table of Joy (which debuted at 2ST); as well as Intimate Apparel; Por’knockers; Poof!; Mud, River, Stone; and the children's musical A Walk Through Time.

Visit 2ST, or phone (212) 246-4422 for subscriptions. Second Stage is located at 305 W. 43rd Street.