Sanaa Lathan Reprises ‘Vera Stark’ Role in LA

Sanaa Lathan in 'By The Way, Meet Vera Stark'LOS ANGELES — Stage and screen star Sanaa Lathan (A Raisin in the Sun, Contagion) returns to the title role in Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s ‘By the Way, Meet Vera Stark’ for its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse. Lathan, who originated the character of Vera Stark in the critically acclaimed New York run, will once again take the stage as the 1930’s era maid turned movie star, reunited with original cast member Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer) reprising her role as fellow aspiring African American actress Lottie. Broadway vet and Geffen alum Merle Dandridge (Spamalot, Rent, Aida) will take on the spicy role of Anna Mae, who fakes a Brazilian accent for a slice of fame, and former leading lady of ABC’s Man Up, Amanda Detmer, will portray Gloria Mitchell, the white starlet dubbed “America’s little sweetie pie” and Vera’s first employer. Helmed by award-winning director Jo Bonney, the West Coast premiere cast also features Kevin Carroll (Paid in Full, Being John Malkovich), Spencer Garrett (Iron Man 3, Air Force One) and Geffen alum Mather Zickel (Extraordinary Chambers, Rachel Getting Married).

It’s Hollywood’s heyday and the streets of Los Angeles are filled with glitz, glamour and the chance at stardom — that is as long as you have the “right” look. But when former maid 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.

'Vera Stark' Cast

The Cast

More than five decades later, Vera’s influence on race, film and feminism has seeped its way into pop-culture. But who is the real Vera Stark? Part comedy and part commentary, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark uses today’s fascination with celebrity and controversy to get to the truth behind the legend.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark had its world premiere in 2011 at Second Stage Theatre in New York. The Geffen Playhouse production marks the West Coast premiere.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark begins in previews in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse on September 18, 2012 and officially opens on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Special events during the run of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark include the theater’s Signature Series performances for no additional cost. These evenings include an intellectual, thought-provoking post show Q&A at Talk Back Tuesdays; a scintillating, one-of-a kind after-party at Girls Night Out; a cultural happy hour with Lounge Fridays and complimentary wine tastings during Wine Down Sundays. For more information, please visit


‘By The Way, Meet Vera Stark’ Opening Night [Photos]