The REP presents Hollywood satire, ‘By the Way, Meet Vera Stark’

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Directed by Tomé Cousin, show previews March 20, runs March 21- April 6 at Pittsburgh Playhouse.  Photo by Jeff Swensen.

PITTSBURGH – The REP, Point Park University’s professional theatre company, continues its compelling 2013-2014 season with Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s Hollywood satire, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.

Directed by Tome’ Cousin, the show previews Thursday, March 20, and runs Friday, March 21 – Sunday, April 6, in the Studio Theatre at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave. Performances are 8 p.m., Thursday – Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets range from $24 to $27; preview tickets are $15. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412.392.8000, or online at Patrons can take advantage of the “Pay what you will” performance at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 22, subject to availability. New in 2013-2014, The REP’s Talkback series, where the audience is invited to stay after the performance and discuss the show, has been moved to the matinee performance on the second Saturday of every show. For By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, the Talkback session will be held after the 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, March 29.

Vera Stark is a budding actress in an era where the only roles for African-American women are maids. When she is cast in the same Southern epic as her employer, an aging star grasping at her dwindling career, sparks fly. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is a hilarious satire of race in the glamorous days of Old Hollywood.

The REP’s production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark features Maria Becoates-Bey as Vera Stark, Kelly Trumbull as Gloria Mitchell, Bria Walker as Lottie/Carmen, Corinne Scott as Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejobo, Tru Verret-Fleming as Leroy Barksdale/Herb Forrester, Jeff Howell as Fredrick Slasvick/Brad Donovan, and Andy Kirtland as Maxmillian Von Oster/Peter Rhys-Davies. Scenic design by Britton Mauk, lighting by Andrew David Ostrowski, sound design by Steve Shapiro, and costumes by Don DiFonso. Caitlin Roper is the stage manager.

Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre (OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play).  She won the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), and Helen Hayes Award (Ruined). Her other honors include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, and the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama.

Point Park University graduate Tome’ Cousin is an internationally recognized director, choreographer, educator, performer and creator of musical theater works, ballets, films, new opera, song cycles and art installations, as well as a published author. Cousin has appeared on Broadway in ContactA Free Man of Color, and Dreamgirls, national tours of DreamgirlsMy One and Only, and A Chorus Line, and internationally in Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity (Switzerland), The Who’s TommyLa Cage aux FollesStarlight Express, and Tabaluga und Lilli (Germany). He serves as the directing supervisor for original director/choreographer Susan Stroman’s Tony Award-winning musical Contact, having staged 12 companies worldwide including premieres in Hungary, Korea and Poland. In 2007-2008, he directed the revival of the Susan Stroman, David Thompson, Harry Connick Jr. musical, Thou Shalt Not, at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Last season, he co-directed/co-authored the workshop revival of June Havoc’s Marathon 33 (M33), at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Cousin teaches at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama and has been commissioned by the estate of the famed Harlem Renaissance photographer James VanDerZee to create and direct an original new multimedia opera based on his life and works.

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