Lynn Nottage's Meet Vera Stark Will Star Sanaa Lathan as Hollywood Dreamer | Playbill

News Lynn Nottage's Meet Vera Stark Will Star Sanaa Lathan as Hollywood Dreamer
Sanaa Lathan, a Tony Award nominee for the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, will play the title character in the world premiere of Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, for Second Stage Off-Broadway.

Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa Lathan

Taking a cue from screwball film comedies of the 1930s, the play by Pulitzer Prize winner Nottage (Ruined) introduces us to an African-American maid with showbiz aspirations in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Jo Bonney (The Break of Noon) will direct the production, to start April 6.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, as previously announced, will also star Tony Award winner Karen Olivo, Tony nominee Daniel Breaker, Stephanie J. Block, Kimberly Hebert Gregory and Kevin Isola.

Opening night is May 9 for a run through May 22.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, according to 2ST, "is a 70-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."

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 production will have scenic design by Neil Patel, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, 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.

Lathan recently starred as Maggie the Cat in the West End revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Her previous theatre credits include Beneatha Younger in A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Combs (Tony Award Nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress); Isabella in Measure For Measure opposite Billy Crudup at The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park; Emily Webb in Our Town at South Coast Repertory; Por'knockers at The Vineyard Theater; A Movie Star Has To Star In Black and White at the Public Theater; and Viola in Twelfth Night at Yale Repertory Theater. Her film credits include the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film "Contagion," opposite Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, opening in October, "Wonderful World" opposite Matthew Broderick, "The Family That Preys" with Tyler Perry, "Something New" (NAACP Image Award Nomination), "Alien vs. Predator," "Out Of Time" opposite Denzel Washington, "Brown Sugar" (NAACP Image Award Nomination), "Love and Basketball" (BET Award, NAACP Image Award), and "The Best Man" (NAACP Image Award Nomination).

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

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