BWW Previews: BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK Comes to the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City Tonight
The comedy about Hollywood stereotypes, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark comes to the Unicorn Theatre tonight, June 4, with opening night on June 7. Missy Koonce directs the Unicorn production written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 for her play Ruined. At the time, she wrote Ruined she was working on a second project, which ended up being By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.
Intimate Apparel, co-commissioned and produced by Baltimore's Center Stage is probably the best-known work by the playwright. In 2005 she received the Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2007 a MacArthur Grant.
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is a journey of 70 years in the life of the African-American budding actor and domestic maid Vera Stark. Her relationship with her white employer and Hollywood star. Their relationship comes under scrutiny when both women land parts in the same film.
Dianne Yvette stars as the would-be actor Vera Stark. She has previously appeared as Kate in the Kansas City Actors Theatre co-production of Good People. She has performed with the Lawrence Arts Center and at the Coterie Theatre.
Returning to the Unicorn is Katie Karel who portrays Starks employer, Gloria Mitchell. Karel appeared at the Unicorn in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Bare. She has appeared with Egads! Theatre Company, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and the Coterie.
Tosin Morohunfola plays Leroy Barksdale, previously seen at the Unicorn in Black Top Sky on the Jerome Stage. He has served for two years as Artistic Director of the Multicultural Theatre Initiative, producing four of his plays. He has performed with the Living Room, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, and the Coterie.
Emily Shackelford makes her Unicorn Theatre debut as Anna Mae Simpkins and Afua Assata Ejobo. She has appeared with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Coterie, The American Heartland Theatre, Starlight, and Musical Theatre Heritage. She was last seen in School House Rock Live at the Coterie.
Donette Coleman returns to the Unicorn as Lottie McBride and Carmen Levy-Green. She recently appeared in New York City performing in The Negro Whisperer and has appeared in For Colored Girls. . .at Kansas City's Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre.
Making his Unicorn debut is Marc Liby as Mr. Slavick and Brad Donovan. He has appeared in Footloose at the Starlight Theatre, with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and the Great Plains Theatre where he served as Executive Artistic Director from 2006 to 2012
Justin Speer portrays Maxmillian Von Oster and Peter Rhys-Davies, making his debut at the Unicorn. He has performed with Journeyman Theatre as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. He has also appeared with the Olathe Civic Theatre and Fishtank Productions.
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark runs from June 4 through June 29. Tuesday and Wednesday performance are a part of the Unicorn's Pay What U Can series. On June 10, patrons are encouraged to stay after the show for a discussion with the actors and director. Purchase tickets by calling 816-531-7529 ext. 10 or online at the Unicorn Theatre website.