Photo Release -- The Ensemble Theatre Presents Regional Premiere "By the Way, Meet Vera Stark"

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Lynn Nottage Uses Comedy to Explore Hollywood's Golden Age

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| Source: The Ensemble Theatre
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The Ensemble Theatre (Houston, TX): Actress Michelle Elaine as the title character in the glamorously funny play, "By the Way, Meet Vera Stark," by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage.

HOUSTON, March 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensemble Theatre presents By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, a regional premiere comedy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage and directed by Eileen J. Morris, with Opening Night and media reception, Thursday, March 20, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=23960

"The fictional story of Vera Stark mirrors dozens of African American actresses in the 1930's, making a living as domestic workers yet dreaming of life in the lights, camera, and action," says Morris. "This poignantly funny play uses film projections and still photography to help set the tone of 1930's Hollywood."

Inspired by Houston born actress, Theresa Harris, in her role in the Barbara Stanwyck film "Baby Face," this comedy draws upon the screwball films of the 1930's to take a funny and irreverent look at racial stereotypes in Hollywood. By The Way, Meet Vera Stark is a seventy year journey through the life of Vera Stark, an African American maid and budding actress, and her tangled relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star desperately grasping to hold on to her career. When circumstances collide and both women land a role in the same Southern epic, the story behind the cameras leaves Vera with a surprising and controversial legacy scholars will debate for years to come.

Previews: March 15, 16, and 19       Show Runs: March 20 – April 13, 2014

Performance Days and Times: Thursdays: 7:30 p.m; Fridays: 8:00 p.m; Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m; and Sundays: 3:00 p.m.

Tickets Available Online: www.EnsembleHouston.com  For Information Call: 713-520-0055

Ticket Prices: $19 - $44

****Opening Night and Media Reception is Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.****

Featured cast members include: Elizabeth Black; Kevin Daugherty; Tisha Dorn; Michelle Elaine; Roy Hamlin; Kimberly Hicks; and L.D. Green.

The Ensemble Theatre's 2013-2014 Season is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. United Airlines is the exclusive airline sponsor for The Ensemble Theatre. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is generously sponsored by Spectra Energy.

The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. Thirty-seven years later, the theatre has evolved from a small touring company to one of Houston's finest historical cultural institutions.

The Ensemble is one of a few professional theatres in the region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience. The oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, it holds the distinction of being one of the nation's largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensemble's $4.5 million building renovations that concluded in 1997. The Ensemble Theatre has fulfilled and surpassed the vision of its founder and continues to expand and create innovative programs to bring African American theatre to myriad audiences.

Robert Ross
(713) 807-4306