Quality community theater on Boston’s North Shore

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK

by Lynn Nottage

Director: Michelle Aguillon with Dramaturgy by Susan Harrington
Production Dates: May 19, 20, 26, 27, 28 and June 2, 3, 2023
Audition Dates: February 5 & 7, AT 7pm. Callbacks are TBD, Feb 8 or 11. @QP Playhouse 55 Hopkins Street Reading MA

A 70-year journey through the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong Black maid and budding actress – a funny and irreverent look at racial stereotypes during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Vera Stark works as a maid to Gloria Mitchell, an aging movie star grasping at her fading career. As Gloria fades more, Vera becomes more noticeable. Rubbing shoulders with studio heads and movie directors, Vera lands a prominent role in a costume epic starring Gloria. Vera’s portrayal of a slave turns out to be groundbreaking and career-making. However, decades later scholars and film buffs still argue about Vera’s legacy in Hollywood, and the impact that race had on her controversial career. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage uses the pace and satire of 1930s movie comedies to take you on a seventy-year journey through Vera’s life and the cultural climate that shaped her.

LEAD CHARACTERS:

Vera Stark: Black, Female Identifying – Character first appears in her 20s, and then later in her 60s; smart, funny, willful; works as an assistant to a famous Hollywood actress, Gloria Mitchell, until she gets her own big break; her subsequent career does not play out as she perhaps anticipated it would; actors who can sing are a plus.

Gloria Mitchell: White, Female Identifying – Character first appears in her 20s, and then later in her 60s; movie star. Vain, melodramatic and self-absorbed; works tirelessly to preserve an air of glamour as she fights to stay relevant in Hollywood; actors who can sing are a plus.

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS:

Leroy Barksdale / Herb Forrester: Black, Male Identifying, 20s-30s – Leroy: Brazen and endearingly pompous. Chauffeur of famed film director Max von Oster, and a love interest for Vera. Herb: Smart, savvy and articulate contemporary filmmaker/musician, fascinated by Vera’s celebrity.

Lottie/Carmen-Levy-Green: Black, Female Identifying, 20s-30s – Lottie: Vera’s cynical and witty roommate, also an actress. Carmen: Respected, intelligent college professor with strong views on what happened to Vera in later years.

Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejob: Black, Female Identifying, 20s-30s – Anna Mae: Vera’s sassy, sexy and overconfident roommate. Her light complexion allows her to pass as a Latina to score a big role. Nothing is beneath her. Afua: Modern-day poet, journalist and performer with her own staunch opinions on Vera.

Slasvick/Brad: White, Male, 40s-60s – Slasvick: Well-groomed and wealthy studio executive with less-than-stellar social skills. Brad: Smooth-talking 1970s talk-show host with an appealing, over-the-top personality.

Maximillian von Oster/Peter Rhys: White, Male, 30s-40s – Von Oster: Russian. Highly conceited, famous film director with an inflexible artistic vision. Rhys-Davies: Groovy 1970s rock musician. Actor must have facility with accents.

Auditions are by appointment only (sign-ups TBD)

PLEASE NOTE: All actors of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, and abilities are encouraged to audition. Actors of any age are encouraged to audition as long as they can depict the ages/age ranges portrayed in the play.

WHAT TO PREPARE: There will be readings from the script. Sides will be available online closer to audition dates. Requests to preview the script can be sent to (TBD).

Rehearsals will be based on the availability of the cast and the director. Production dates are May 19 to June 3, 2023.

By clicking on this button to purchase tickets, all members of your party agree to adhere to Quannapowitt Players’ COVID-19 policies. Details on our full policies can be found here (link) but includes proof of vaccination, and masking in all indoor spaces. Failure to adhere to these policies will result in denial of entrance to the theater without a refund.