THE ALLIANCE THEATRE IS PLEASED TO PRESENT BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK BY PULITZER PRIZING-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT LYNN NOTTAGE
DIRECTED BY OBIE AWARD-WINNER LEAH C. GARDINER
CAST TO FEATURE TONI TRUCKS, COURTNEY PATTERSON, CHE AYENDE, ANDREW BENATOR, NIKIYA MATHIS, TIFFANY RACHELLE STEWART, AND DANIEL TRIANDIFLOU
The Alliance Theatre is pleased to announce its production of BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, the Off-Broadway hit by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Described by The New York Times as “a fitful comedy,” BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK tells the story of an aspiring actress trying to break the mold of stereotypical African-American film roles in 1930’s Hollywood and the legacy she leaves on the film industry seventy years later.
BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK is a seventy-year journey through the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong maid and budding actress in a time when speaking roles for African-American actors were impossible to come by, and her tangled relationship with her boss, a Hollywood star desperately trying to hold on to her career. When Vera 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. Seventy years later, film buffs are left to reflect on the life and legacy of this controversial star, whose eventual fame and fortune may have come at the price of perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK celebrates the individuals who fuelled the remarkable American cultural changes of the twentieth century and examines themes of gender and race identity.
VERA STARK is led by Director Leah C. Gardiner. Gardiner’s directing credits include Othello, Wit, Intimate Apparel, and Born Bad, for which she won a 2011 Obie Award.
“Playwright Lynn Nottage uses many forms of humor to draw you in,” said Gardiner. “She chooses culturally specific styles found within the African-American community to examine race at its core with pain, joy, happiness and fear. It is at these moments when she asks us to think about how race defines the heartbeat of our country. VERA STARK makes us think about the choices we have made in life and asks us to journey into the complexities of our American psyche at a time when we seem to question ‘who are we and how do we fit into this nation of difference which prides itself so much on sameness?’”
Leading the cast in the role of Vera Stark is stage and screen actress, Toni Trucks. Trucks’s theatre credits include Cactus Flower, Kiss Me, Kate, and West Side Story. Her film & television credits include the final installment of the Twilight movies, Breaking Dawn, the film Ruby Sparks, and the television series “Hostages” and “Barbershop.” Playing the role of Vera’s boss, Gloria Mitchell, a Hollywood star fighting to stay on top, is Atlanta actress Courtney Patterson. Patterson is an associate artist with Georgia Shakespeare and was last seen on the Alliance Stage in August: Osage County. She also appeared at the Alliance in Managing Maxine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Also in the cast of BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, each playing a different character 70 years apart: Che Ayende (Off-Broadway Breakfast with Mugabe) as Leroy Barksdale/Herb Forrester; Andrew Benator (Alliance productions Good People, August: Osage County) as Mr. Slasvick/Brad Donovan; Nikiya Mathis (Off-Broadway The Brother/Sister Plays) as Lottie/Carmen Levy-Green; Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (Regional The Conference of the Birds) as Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejobo; and Daniel Triandiflou (Horizon Theatre The Book Club Play) as Maximillian Von Oster/Peter Ryhs-Davies.
Performances for BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm and 7:30pm, October 16 – November 10, 2013. Opening Night is October 23, 2013. There will be no 2:30pm performance on October 19.
Tickets start at $30 and are available at The Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404-733-5000. Tickets are also available online at www.alliancetheatre.org/verastark. Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690. Discounted rates are also available for members of the military, seniors and students. The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street.
BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK is part of the Coca-Cola Series on the Alliance Stage. BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK is also supported by The Home Depot, Delta, and PNC Bank.
CALENDAR LISTING SYNOPSIS:
BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Leah Gardiner
Performance Dates: October 16 – November 10, 2013
In the play The New York Times called a “fitful comedy,” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage takes a funny and irreverent look at racial stereotypes in 1930’s Hollywood. When the headstrong maid and budding actress 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. Seventy years later, film buffs are left to reflect on the life and legacy of this controversial star, whose eventual fame and fortune may have come at the price of perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark celebrates and examines the individuals who fuelled the remarkable American cultural changes of the twentieth century. Tickets are available online at www.alliancetheatre.org/verastark or by calling 404.733.5000.
Before Plays and After Words
The Alliance Theatre is committed to extending dialogue from the stage to the community. Before Play (pre-show) and After Words (post show) events offer audience members the chance to engage in conversation about the issues and ideas presented in the play and the behind-the-scenes production elements of the play. Before Play and After Words are free to ticket holders.
Before Play Opportunities –
- Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 pm
- Tuesday, October 29, 6:30pm
- Tuesday, November 5, 6:30pm
After Words Opportunities –
- Saturday, October 26, following the matinee performance
- Saturday, November 2, following the matinee performance
- Saturday, November 9, following the matinee performance
Ethics on Stage – By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Emory Center for Ethics
October 9, 7:00pm
Members of the By the Way, Meet Vera Stark cast will give a brief reading from the production and discuss the ethical issues presented in the material. Also joining in this discussion will be Alliance Theatre Playwright in Residence Pearl Cleage and Vera Stark Director Leah Gardiner. This event is free and open to the public.
College students can purchase $10 tickets for all shows on the day of the performance by showing their student ID at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office. *Subject to availability