"Intimate Apparel," the story of a lonely African-American seamstress in 1905 New York and her quest for love, opens at the Westport Country Playhouse today (Tuesday, Oct. 7).

The production runs through Nov. 1 and brings the curtain down on the theater's five-play 2014 season.

Playwright Lynn Nottage's drama confronts race and religion at the turn of the century. It won Best Play awards from the American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics for the 2003-04 season.

Esther is a gifted seamstress who makes fine, intimate apparel for New York's society ladies and its ladies of the evening. Thirty-five years old and living alone in a boarding house, she still yearns for love. But the only romance in Esther's life stems from the exotic fabrics she buys and stories about their origins told by her Orthodox Jewish supplier, Mr. Marks.

Then one day she gets a letter from George, a laborer working on the Panama Canal who asks her to correspond with him. She welcomes George's romantic advances, but she is illiterate and relies on others to write letters for her.

The romance flourishes, and George comes to New York. Against the advice of her landlady, Mrs. Dickson, Esther marries George. But married life does not prove to be what she had imagined.

The production is directed by Mary B. Robinson, who has directed plays in New York and regional theater.

Mark Lamos, the playhouse artistic director, called the play "a delicate evocation of the intersection of lives, of people yearning for love and acceptance in both personal and universal ways."

Nikki E. Walker stars as Esther. The playhouse said her Broadway credits include "An American Plan," "Trickle" and "Building a Popera."

Leighton Bryan portrays Mrs. Van Buren, Esther's wealthy client who is unhappy in a loveless marriage. Aleta Mitchell is Mrs. Dickson, proprietor of the boarding house for unmarried women.

Nottage's play "Ruined" won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

For performance schedules and tickets, visit www.westportplayhouse.org, call the box office at 203-227-4177, or visit the Playhouse, 25 Powers Court.