Gainesville, Fla., May 29, 2014 — By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, a recent comedy by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage, chronicles seventy years in the life of Vera Stark, a determined African-American maid and would-be Hollywood actress. Vera and her friends overcome scarce film opportunities and stereotypically demeaning roles by using clever means to get noticed and earn their break in the movie industry. Beginning with her role in a 1930s Southern epic, Vera Stark’s film portrayals and persona pave the way for future generations of black actresses and leave film critics arguing for decades about her motives and legacy. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is more than another tale of the rise and fall of a film actress; it is an original account of the civil rights movement as seen through Hollywood’s lens. The comedy is being presented in Gainesville, Florida, at the University of Florida June 12-15 and July 9-12 in the Black Box Theatre of the Nadine M. McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion.
Playwright Nottage has taken unusual steps to imbue her fictional heroine with authenticity. Nottage launched two websites, www.meetverastark.com and www.bythewaymeetverastark.com/about-carmen, that are hosted by other characters in the play. The websites offer a rich backstory to the stage Vera, including accounts of her early life, stage and film roles, photos and autobiographical excerpts. Although fictional, the online documents appear authentic and further the play’s theme of how a celebrity’s self-made, invented life can easily be perceived as legendary truth.
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is directed by UF Assistant Professor Tim Altmeyer, whose most recent directorial credits include Angels in America: Perestroika at the UF School of Theatre and Dance and Other Desert Cities at The Hippodrome Theatre. Altmeyer’s acting credits include the Broadway companies of High (2011) with Kathleen Turner; Looped (2010) with Valerie Harper, and Oscar Wilde’s Salome (2003) with Al Pacino, Marisa Tomei, Dianne Wiest, and David Strathairn.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. June 12-14 and July 9-12 and at 2 p.m. on June 15. Tickets are $13 for UF students, UF faculty/staff and senior citizens, and are $17 for the general public.
Tickets are available through the University Box Office located at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, by calling 352-392-1653 or at ticketmaster.com.
The Nadine M. McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion is located at 687 McCarty Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611. Parking is available across the street from the UF Bookstore & Welcome Center on the University of Florida located on Museum Road.
About the School of Theatre and Dance
The School of Theatre and Dance is one of the University of Florida College of the Arts’ three fully accredited schools. Undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting, dance, musical theatre, theatre production—including costume design, lighting design and scenic design—or a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance studies or general theatre. Minors are also offered in dance and theatre as well as certificates in arts in medicine and dance in healthcare. Student organizations, showcase programs and other intensives provide students with invaluable professional experiences. UF is home to three School of Theatre and Dance theaters, including the Constans Theatre, Black Box and G-6 Studio. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Dance, including upcoming performance dates and ticket information, visit www.arts.ufl.edu/theatreanddance.
About the College of the Arts
The College of the Arts, previously known as the College of Fine Arts, is one the 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The College of the Arts offers baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its three fully- accredited schools — the School of Art and Art History, School of Music and School of Theatre and Dance. The college is home to the Center for Arts in Medicine, Center for World Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University Galleries and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. More than 100 faculty members and more than 1,220 students work together daily to engage, inspire and create. The college hosts more than 300 performances, exhibitions and events each year. Faculty and students also exhibit and perform at other local, national and international venues. To learn more, visit www.arts.ufl.edu.
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Leah Craig, Public Relations and Marketing Manager
College of the Arts, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Office: 352.273.1489 | Cell: 904.419.3346