MEET VERA STARK

Sanaa Lathan as Vera Stark in “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.”
Photo by Joan Marcus
Photo by Joan Marcus

Theater goers have a handful of great musicals opening on the Great White Way this spring. Many are song and dance documentaries of people behind the sceances. One new comedy to catch is Second Stage Theatre’s world premiere comedy, “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.”

Written by Lynn Nottage, and directed by Jo Bonney, “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark” is Ms. Nottage’s first play to be produced in New York since she won the Pulitzer Prize for “Ruined” in 2009.

Ms. Nottage draws upon the screwball films of the 1930’s 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 (Sanaa 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.

Lathan, who plays Vera Stark is a familiar face on Broadway, film and television. Most recently, Ms. Lathan 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. The performance earned her a Tony Award Nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress.

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. Her television credits include: “The Cleveland Show,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Nip/Tuck” (NAACP Image Award Nomination), and HBO’s “Disappearing Acts.”

The production officially opens on May 9, 2011.

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