By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Closed 2h 30m
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
80

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(152 Reviews)
Positive
92%
Mixed
8%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

About the Show

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s fast-paced, sly satire takes you on a seventy-year journey through black actress Vera Stark’s life and the cultural climate that originally shaped her and continues today.

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Member Reviews (152)

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716 Reviews | 219 Followers
85
Funny, Thought-provoking, Irritating, Epic, Challenging

See it if Biting satire of slippery identities in 1930's black Hollywood. Hilarious, surprising act 1. Brilliant start of act 2. Layers of meaning.

Don't see it if 2 1/2 hours. Angry, rambling & often annoying act 2. Vera's life & work is interpreted through the self-interest of others.

716 Reviews | 157 Followers
83
Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy clever playwrighting, genuine laughter and believable characters with a undercurrent of social justice issues

Don't see it if you don't like to think and listen to what playwrights have to say, don't like comedies with a message

650 Reviews | 284 Followers
79
Whatever happened to hattie mcdaniel and her ilk? thru comedy & satire focusing on career of fictional vera stark, nottage addresses early history of black performers in hollywood

See it if Act 1 hilarious 1933 screwball comedy, drives home pt that Hollywood is land of posers including those passing white; strong cast

Don't see it if Act 2 set in 2003 is a let down: blunt satire of new class of academics bloviating on role of black actors in Hollywood Read more

MJK
677 Reviews | 190 Followers
78
Uneven, Good acting, Disappointing, Clever, Ambitious

See it if u want to see Signature's take on another early Nottage play & to see glimpses of the stirring playwright she has since become.

Don't see it if u expect the bite and heft of Nottage's most successful plays; u don't want to bounce around from style-to-style, tone-to-tone for 2 1/2 hrs

543 Reviews | 133 Followers
79
Funny, Great staging, Cliched, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you enjoy satiric comedy played to the hilt by good actors who play dated, stereotyped roles, with quite a lot of relish.

Don't see it if Interesting but slow, needs 1/2 hour cut - 2nd act becomes tiresome. The"panel" sharing their views of Vera are one dimensional at best.

488 Reviews | 316 Followers
91
Absorbing, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Very well done, unique and surprising play. Lots to think about. Fantastic acting, I was impressed.

Don't see it if you want something short. You definitely need to stay for both acts and it is fairly long.

479 Reviews | 262 Followers
78
Absorbing, Ambitious, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you want to see another scene-stealing performance by Heather Alicia Simms. She is proving to be indispensable in a variety of plays.

Don't see it if you want to see two enitirely different plays masquerading as one. The second act is way too long, and is in need of cutting. Read more

466 Reviews | 237 Followers
95
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if Telling story of Hollywood from an African-American experience.

Don't see it if You think there is no discrimination Hollywood.

Critic Reviews (27)

The New York Times
February 19th, 2019

"Though the director, Kamilah Forbes, doesn’t always nail the fouetté-on-a-dime rhythms and not all of the actors are on the same page it’s still a delight...For a play about a former maid, 'Vera Stark' is not especially orderly. But it is such a good show — so clever, so playful, so keen to shapeshift and timeslip and whiz through half a dozen separate genres...that I spent the next several days trying to figure out why it isn’t an absolutely great one."
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Time Out New York
February 19th, 2019

“Although production often misses its step, it’s a welcome reminder that Nottage has a tricky pinball brain, capable of whanging through the decades and lighting us up with humor and rage...Forbes’s staging slow things down instead...Forbes’s experience is mainly in dramas, and so the tonal balance is wonky here...Forbes elicits exaggerated performances; it often seems like the actors are playing to a nonexistent balcony.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 19th, 2019

"Directed with zingy energy by Kamilah Forbes, can at times feel like a revue by an aging vaudeville star—a bit broad, a bit padded—but it’s anchored by a crackling central performance by Jessica Frances Dukes. And it’s a compelling reminder of Nottage’s playful inventiveness...Dukes keeps the center of 'Meet Vera Stark' sharp and shining, and of her fellow performers, Simms is there with her, dexterously walking the line between the satirical, the farcical, and the humane."
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Variety
February 19th, 2019

“Nottage switches styles from screwball comedy to backstage realism, and director Kamilah Forbes effortlessly keeps in step. The comedy is still plenty tasty, but the style is much more cutting...The second act...retains its jarring shift in style...This switch to satire bears out Nottage’s cutting point...But these one-dimensional parodies are too mean and obvious to offer either intellectual enlightenment or belly laughs."
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The Wall Street Journal
February 28th, 2019

"A comedy with a sharp satirical kick, but one that is at bottom commandingly serious. It’s also one of the smartest plays, by Ms. Nottage or anyone else, to open in New York in recent years...'By the Way, Meet Vera Stark' would profit from a slightly less frenetic production, one that allowed the play’s comic punches to land on their own instead of being telegraphed to the viewer. The cast, however, is splendid."
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BroadwayWorld
February 20th, 2019

“It was only eight years ago when two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage's terrific show-biz social satire,’ By the Way, Meet Vera Stark’ was first seen Off-Broadway, but director Kamilah Forbes' crackling good new mounting for Signature Theatre makes for a welcome return...The playwright's fictional story takes its inspiration from the groundbreaking work of early black film actors.”
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Lighting & Sound America
March 1st, 2019

“’Not for lovers of more conventional comedies: Its humor may be too barbed, its skepticism too all-embracing. Nevertheless...it amuses and dismays in equal measure...Forbes, allows the cast to play too broadly in the early scenes...Things improve enormously as the play goes on...with the cast markedly more at home in the second act...’By the Way, Meet Vera Stark’ remains a knockout, an inventive work that sheathes some very provocative ideas in a riotous package.”
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Talkin' Broadway
February 19th, 2019

“A visually stunning revival...The fictional melodrama presents a Hollywood version of Southern gentility and nostalgia-infused slavery...As a satirical comedy, there are a lot of laughs, but sometimes at the expense of rich character development...Still, as directed by Forbes, this is a topnotch production...The play does not try to conceal the underlying dark truths, but they are made palatable (and immensely entertaining) as if projected with the gloss and panache of a 1930s film epic.”
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