Directed by Jill Bloede
From Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage
February 20 - March 15, 2014
Approximate run time: 2 hours, with one 15-minute intermission
What starts out as a 1930's screwball comedy becomes a 40-year glimpse into the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong African American actress who paved the way for future black actors. But, who was the real Vera Stark? Part comedy and part commentary, playwright Lynn Nottage uses today's fascination with celebrity and controversy to get the truth behind this little-known legend.
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Thursday, February 20 @ 7:30 pm; Pay-What-You-Can (Tickets only available in-person an hour before performance)
Friday, February 21 @ 8 pm - Preview Performance
Saturday, February 22 @ 8 pm - Preview Performance
Wednesday, February 26 @ 7:30 pm - (SOLD OUT) Opening Night Catered by BISTRO LA BON
Thursday, February 27 @ 7:30 pm - Talkback
Friday, February 28 @ 8 pm
Saturday, March 1 @ 8 pm
Wednesday, March 5 @ 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 6 @ 7:30 pm - Talkback
Friday, March 7 @ 8 pm
Saturday, March 8 @ 8 pm
Sunday, March 9 @ 2:30 pm
Wednesday, March 12 @ 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 13 @ 7:30 pm - Talkback
Friday, March 14 @ 8 pm
Saturday, March 15 @ 8 pm - Final Performance
VERA STARK - Brandi Feemster
GLORIA MITCHELL - Caroline Bower
LEROY/HERB - Gerard Hazelton
LOTTIE/CARMEN - Ericka Ross
ANNA MAE/AFUA - Iesha Hoffman
SLASVICK/BRAD - Rob Simmons
MAX/PETER - Johnny Huber
Stage Manager - Carrie Cranford
Asst. Stage Manager - Kelly Traux
Costume Design - Heidi O’Hare
Master Carpenter - Mike Snow
Lighting Design - Hallie Gray
Artistic Director - Chip Decker
Brandi Nicole Feemster (Vera Stark) returns to Actor's Theatre of Charlotte two years after debuting in CLYBOURNE PARK (Francine/Lena). Her other stage work includes STRICTLY FROM THE WESTSIDE (April) for The Wilshire Theater in Los Angeles, and THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Portia) for The Charlotte Shakespeare Festival. The majority of Brandi's work has been in film and television. In December 2013 she appeared in the TV movie CHRISTMAS IN CONWAY (Dr. Royce) for ABC/Hallmark Channel, and will soon be seen in BOX BROWN (Nancy Brown) from Underhill Films, NEVERMORE (Angela) from Café Oscuro, and FIELD OF LOST SHOES (Martha Ann) from McNamara Productions. Brandi's past films are MANDIE AND THE SECRET TUNNEL (Liza) and MANDIE AND THE CHEROKEE TREASURE (Liza) from Lost World Pictures, NOTORIOUS (Street Woman) from Fox Searchlight Pictures, and STUCK IN LOVE (Teacher) from Informant Media.
Caroline Bower (Gloria Mitchell) Since receiving her BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University, Caroline has performed in NYC, on national tours, and in her home base of Charlotte, NC. Local audiences have seen her work with CPCC Summer Theatre (THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE), Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (THE WIZARD OF OZ, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, PETER PAN, THE SECRET GARDEN) and The Machine (THE BALD SOPRANO, MUM’S THE WORD, A GUIDE FOR THE NEWLY DEAD). Caroline is thrilled to be back at ATC where she last appeared as Agnes in THE DIVINE SISTER. Love to the fam and MBC.
Iesha Hoffman (Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejobo) can also be seen in Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s play, THE OWL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE DARK (Mother/Orion/Little Girl) and Barkeater Production’s latest horror film, CROATOAN (Iesha). She was most recently seen in Queen City Theatre Company’s production of COCK (W), Old Courthouse Theatre’s HELLO DOLLY ! (Minnie Fay), the premiere of Tonya Bludsworth’s new play LEAST LIKELY FRIENDS (Abbie) with donna scott productions at Theatre Charlotte, Starving Artist Productions’ premiere of PETIE (KM) and their upcoming webseries ONE & DONE (Carol), Carolina Actors Studio Theatre’s VERY STILL AND HARD TO SEE (Obake), Queen City Theatre Company’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S BIG GAY DANCE PARTY (Tina/Violet), XANDAU (Erato), and CHESS (Ensemble), as well as DOUBT (Mrs. Muller) with both Theatre Charlotte and Belmont Abbey Players.
Robert Lee Simmons (Slasvick/Brad) returns to Actor’s Theatre where he was previously seen in THE nuVOICES FESTIVAL, THE DIVINE SISTER (Jeremy), CLYBOURNE PARK (Karl/Steve), THE PILLOWMAN (Ariel) and THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE (Christy). Robert appeared in the world premiere of OMNIUM-GATHERUM (Mohammed) in the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. Other ATL roles include: TREPIDATION NATION -Humana Festival (Max), DRACULA (Butterworth), and MAD FOREST (Vampire). Robert is an Artistic Associate at Carolina Actor’s Studio Theatre and has performed in the regional premieres of DARK PLAY OR STORIES FOR BOYS (Nick), KILLER JOE (Killer Joe) and BEHANDING IN SPOKANE (Mervyn). CAST credits also include KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN (Valentin), OUR LADY OF 121 STREET (Pinky) and ITALIAN AMERICAN RECONCILIATION (Huey). Robert also works as a voice actor with clients including AT&T U-VERSE, NASCAR, VOLVO, LOWES FOODS, FREIGHTLINER TRUCKS, BANK OF AMERICA and FRUIT OF THE LOOM. He is a graduate of the Pre-Professional Drama program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Acting Apprentice Program at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.
JOHNNY HUBER (Max/Peter) is a recent transplant from the northern tundra and is thrilled to be doing a play under the Mason-Dixon Line. It is his first time performing at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte but he hopes to be in the area for a long time! He auditioned for VERA while on tour for National Theatre for Children, across 8 states, and luckily was plucked into another fantastic cast and crew of kind, smart, hilarious and talented people. He recently played Wasegaboah at Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama, George Bailey in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE at St. Croix Festival Theatre, among other work with St. Croix such as playing the Creature in FRANKENSTEIN, Carrasco in MAN OF LA MANCHA, and Jack in JACK THE WONDER PLUMBER. He has also written fight choreography and played Castor in Mary-Arrchie Theater Company in Chicago, IL, played a bloodthirsty racist as Col. Williamson at TRUMPET IN THE LAND Outdoor Drama, and Jake in 27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON, by Tennessee Williams. Johnny is currently crafting his first one-man-show, an adaptation splicing Christopher Marlowe's DOCTOR FAUSTUS.
Gerard Hazelton (Leroy/Herb) is thrilled to be on the Actor’s Theatre stage. He has performed in productions ranging from experimental theater to major motion picture work. Audiences will remember him from performances in Amiri Baraka’s THE DUTCHMAN as Clay, A RHYME DEFERRED as Gabe, Children’s Theatre’s THE BORROWERS as Spiller, TARZAN: THE MUSICAL, and LIARS in their Taradiddle tour. He was recently the headlining artist for “I’m An Artist Dammit,” an original one-man show, and Saul Mackensie in “Greed is Good” an original piece performed for the Center City Literary Festival. His film projects include THE HUNGER GAMES and LEATHERHEADS. He would like to thank God and his family for their continuing love and support!! DREAM BIG!! LIVE LOVE!
Ericka Ross (Lottie/Carmen) This is Ericka’s first show with Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte and she is over-the-moon excited to be part of this production and stellar cast! A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Ericka has been blessed to perform across the country and TV. Most recent credits include Tennessee in THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO TENNESSEE, Maria in 9 TO 5, Ericka in GODSPELL, and Laura in THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Ericka wants to give thanks to God, family, and friends! Smooches!
JILL BLOEDE (Director) celebrates helming her first mainstage at ATC after spending a delightful week directing THE SEER AND THE WITCH for the nuVoices Festival last summer. She has just been awarded tenure at Belmont Abbey College where she teaches Acting, Directing, and Theatre Appreciation for the Fine Arts Department with cohorts Simon Donoghue and Gary Sivak. Her last role onstage was Chaplain Lawrence for UNCC's Romeo.Juliet.com. No bio would be complete without Jill sharing about her three degrees in Theatre (BFA-Kent State University, MA-Bowling Green State University, MFA-Virginia Commonwealth University); 9 years with the legendary Charlotte Shakespeare Company (Lon Bumgarner, Artistic Director), and 17 (count'em) years of teaching, directing, and acting with the illustrious Children's Theatre of Charlotte (Scott Miller, Alan Poindexter, Artistic Directors). Coming up within the next semester, Jill directs A Midsummer Night's Dream for Belmont Abbey College, JUNGLE BOOK for Providence Day School, and UNNECESSARY FARCE for Davidson Community Players. Jill sincerely hopes you all will enjoy this production of BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, and thanks everyone on this most professional team at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte.