Block, Olivo et al. Lead BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK at 2nd Stage This Season

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Second Stage Theatre (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director) has announced that Stephanie J. Block, Daniel Breaker, KIMBERLY HÉBERT GREGORY, Kevin Isola and Karen Olivo will star in the world premiere comedy, BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, the new play by Lynn Nottage, 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.

The production will begin preview performances on April 6, 2011 and officially open on May 9, 2011. For subscription or ticket information, please call the Second Stage Box Office at 212-246-4422 or visit the company's website, www.2ST.com.

In a new comedy from the Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright of Ruined, Lynn 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 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.

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK will feature scenic design by Neil Patel, lighting design by David Weiner, costume design by ESosa and original music & sound design by John Gromada. Additional casting will be announced shortly.
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Stephanie J. Block (Gloria Mitchell) recently starred on Broadway in 9 to 5: The Musical as Judy Bernly, for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Prior to to 9 to 5, Stephanie starred as Elphaba in the Broadway company of Wicked and recorded her debut solo album, This Place I Know. Other Broadway credits include originating the roles of Grace O'Malley in The Pirate Queen and Liza Minnelli in The Boy from Oz (opposite Hugh Jackman). She also starred in the first national touring company of Wicked as Elphaba for which she won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress and the Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Some of her regional credits include Funny Girl, Crazy For You (L.A. Ovation Award Nomination), Oliver (Critics Award-Best Actress), James Joyce's The Dead, Triumph Of Love, The Grass Harp, South Pacific, Will Rogers Follies, They're Playing Our Song opposite Jason Alexander, and the World Premiere of Wicked.

Daniel Breaker (Leroy Barksdale/ Herb Forrester) most recently appeared on Broadway as Donkey in Shrek the Musical. His other Broadway credits include Passing Strange (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, Theatre World Award, AUDELCO Award), Cymbeline (LCT) and Well. Off-Broadway he starred in Passing Strange (Public), Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (Playwrights Horizons), Pericles (Red Bull, Culture Project). Regionally Breaker has appeared in Life Is a Dream (South Coast Rep), The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre Company; Helen Hayes nomination), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (SCR), The Tempest (STC; Helen Hayes nomination), A Midsummer Night's Dream (STC), The Rivals (STC), The Silent Woman (STC), HMS Pinafore (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Black Sheep (Barrington), Sundance Theater Lab, 2005. Breaker's film and television credits include Passing Strange directed by Spike Lee and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

KIMBERLY HÉBERT GREGORY (Lottie/ Carmen Levy-Green) recently starred in The Brother/Sister Plays at The Public Theatre. Gregory's other theatre credits include the first national tour of The Lion King, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery at Chicago Theatre Company (Joseph Jefferson Nomination), Amen Corner at the Goodman Theatre, Nickel and Dimed at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Waiting to be Invited at the Victory Gardens Theater, and Julius Caesar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Antony and Cleopatra and Gee's Bend at Hartford Stage, Tough Titty at The Magic Theatre, and a one-woman piece entitled Evangeline Elsewhere at the 1st National NY Irish Theatre Festival. Gregory's television and film credits include I Think I Love My Wife, "Gossip Girl," "New Amsterdam" and "The Black Donnellys."



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