Everyman Theatre to Present BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, 4/16-5/11
Hailed as "flat-out funny!" by the Hollywood Reporter, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark makes its Baltimore/DC premiere at Everyman Theatre, running from April 16th through May 11th. Resident Company Member Dawn Ursula will play the title role of Vera Stark, alongside fellow Company Members Beth Hylton and Wil Love. Walter Dallas makes his Everyman directorial debut with the regional premiere.
It's the height of 1930s Hollywood. Film studios are filled with glitz, glamor, and eager starlets just waiting to be discovered. Enter Vera Stark, a determined and headstrong African-American maid to a white movie star. But it turns out that Vera is an actress, too! When the stars align and both actresses are cast in the same Southern epic, the story behind the cameras leaves Vera with an unexpected and controversial legacy scholars will question for decades to come. Deliciously funny and wildly entertaining, Vera Stark uses today's obsession and fascination with tabloids and celebrity gossip to get to the truth behind this mysterious legend of Hollywood.
Renowned director Walter Dallas will be making his Everyman debut with Vera Stark. Mr. Dallas has a wide-range of directorial experiences, including the world premieres of August Wilson's Seven Guitars at the Goodman Theatre (named one of the Top Ten Best Theatre Events of 1995 by Time Magazine), Sam Kelley's Pill Hill at Yale Rep, and John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler at the McCarter and Long Wharf Theatres. He assumed artistic leadership of Philadelphia's Freedom Theatre in 1992. He has received New York's prestigious AUDELCO National Achievement Award for Excellence in Black Theatre and several Bronze Jubilee Awards for Outstanding Direction.
Resident Company Members Dawn Ursula and Beth Hylton playing rivaling actresses Vera Stark and Gloria Mitchell, respectively. Resident Company Member Wil Love is also featured as Mr. Slasvick and 1970s talkshow host Brad Donovan.
Vera Stark is Ms. Ursula's first performance on the new Everyman Theatre stage. Her last performance with Everyman was as Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, which won her City Paper's Best Actress Award. Previously she had been seen in other Everyman shows including Two Room, Doubt and Gem of the Ocean. Ms. Ursula is currently a Helen Hayes nominee for her work in Woolly Mammoth's production of The Convert. As a Resident Company Member at Woolly Mammoth, as well, she has been seen in their recent productions of We are Proud to Present..., Clybourne Park and Eclipsed.
Ms. Hylton was last seen this winter's smash hit Crimes of the Heart as eldest sister Lenny. Other Everyman credits include August: Osage County as Ivy Weston, Time Stands Still as Sarah and All My Sons as Ann. Ms. Hylton was also seen in Center Stage's The Raisin Cycle as Bev and Kathy in Clybourne Park and Harriet in Beneatha's Place. She has also recently been seen in Woolly Mammoth's critically acclaimed production of Appropriate.
Wil Love was seen earlier this month as the hysterical Geoffrey Thornton in The Dresser. Other Everyman credits for Mr. Love include August: Osage County, Heroes, You Can't Take It With You, Pygmalion, Our Town, The Cherry Orchard, Much Ado About Nothing and School for Scandal.
Yaegel T. Welch returns to Everyman after appearing as Aimwell in last summer's swashbuckling comedy The Beaux' Stratagem. He will portray Leroy Barksdale and Herb Forrester in the production. Mr. Welch was also featured in the critically acclaimed production of The Brothers Size. In addition to his many regional and Off-Broadway credits, Mr. Welch also recently co-starred on NBC's hit drama The Black List.
Kathryn Tkel, Kelli Blackwell and Robert Lyons will each be making their Everyman debuts with Vera Stark. Ms. Tkel will portray Anna Mae Simpkins and Afua Assata Ejobo. Her extensive credits include work at San Jose Rep, The San Francisco Playhouse, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and California Conservatory Theatre. Ms. Blackwell will play the roles of Lottie McBride and Carmen. Regionally, she has been seen in productions at Olney Theatre Center, Teatro 101 and Toby's Dinner Theatre. She was also featured on the national tour of Chicago. Mr. Lyons will play the dual roles of Maximillian von Oster and Peter Rhys-Davies. Mr. Lyons has performed internationally with the Brandenburger Theater, Berliner Ensemble, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and more.
The extensive artistic team includes Resident Designers Daniel Ettinger (set), David Burdick (costumes), Gary Logan (dialect), and Chas Marsh (who will be in charge of film editing for the production). Joining the Resident Designers will be Harold F. Burgess II (lighting) and Elisheba Ittoop (sound/original music)
Thomas Kaufman will serve as the production's Cinematographer. The production features a "film within the play" of the fictional silver screen masterpiece, The Belle of New Orleans. Mr. Kaufman has lit and shot films with the likes of Barbara Kopple, Charles Guggenheim and Mark Jonathan Harris. He has twice won the Gordon Parks Award for Cinematography and has won an Emmy for his film See What I'm Saying.
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark runs from April 16th through May 11th, offering performances Wednesday through Sunday, with selected Tuesday evening performances.
Everyman Theatre is proud to partner with University of Maryland Medical Center as the Season Sponsor and WYPR 88.1-FM as the Season Media Sponsor. Stevenson University and Yumkas, Vidmar & Sweeney LLC are the production co-sponsors and Style Magazine is the production's media sponsor.
Everyman Theatre is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to non-profit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Everyman Theatre is a proud member of the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District.
Everyman Theatre is a professional Equity theatre company celebrating the actor, with a resident company of artists from the Baltimore/DC area. Founded in 1990 by Vincent Lancisi, the theatre is dedicated to engaging the audience through a shared experience between actor and audience seeking connection and emotional truth in performance. Everyman is committed to presenting high quality plays that are affordable and accessible to everyone.
Vincent Lancisi is the Artistic Director of Everyman Theatre; Ian Tresselt is the Managing Director.