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  Bakersfield Mist at Stage 773

Bakersfield Mist

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave Chicago

Written by Stephen Sachs and directed by Kevin Christopher Fox, BAKERSFIELD MIST is a provocative and hilarious look at what makes art-and people-authentic. Maude, an unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, has bought the ugliest thrift store painting she could get her hands on as a gag gift. However, when she is told that it might in fact be the "find of the century"-an undiscovered work by the famed Jackson Pollock-she invites a world-class art expert to decide if it's a forgery or the real thing, worth millions.

Presented by TimeLine Theatre Company

Thru - Oct 15, 2016

Price: $40.50-$53.50

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 773-327-5252

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins; no intermission

Stage 773 Seating Charts

Nearby Restaurants

  Bakersfield Mist Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Clearly, Sachs made a decision to make this a piece about authenticity — which leads him toward the binary. To my mind, the more complex issue, which the play skirts but could more fully embrace, deals with relative value and the fascinating debate, as applicable to "Hamilton" as to the art market, about whether pricing is or is not fully a consequence of creative brilliance of which everyone craves a piece."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Director Kevin Christopher Fox has set the 90-minute play at a brisk pace, and the picture-perfect set designed by Jeffrey D. Kmiec – and brilliantly “dressed” by prop designer Mary O’Dowd, who clearly scavenged many thrift shops herself for this project – could not be more perfect."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...Nussbaum stars alongside Janet Ulrich Brooks in TimeLine Theatre's Chicago-area premiere of the dramedy inspired by the real-life story of Teri Horton. Horton was a retired truck driver who bought a painting at a thrift shop that she came to believe was a lost work by the great abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. Her efforts to authenticate the painting inspired the 2006 documentary "Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?" as well as Sachs' play, which unfolds as a battle of wills between the art connoisseur and the thrift-store scavenger over the question of what constitutes art and who determines the definition."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Director Kevin Christopher Fox seems to have gotten with Sachs's program. His costume designer, Christine Pascual, put Mike Nussbaum's Lionel in an ascot, for god's sake. Jeffrey D. Kmiec's set supplies Janet Ulrich Brooks's Maude with all manner of silly lumpen tchotchkes. Fox's one miscalculation seems to have been a failure to realize that, whatever the circumstances, Brooks and Nussbaum would treat their characters as human beings-so that, for instance, their prefab passages of truth telling don't come off as all that prefab in performance. This is a problem, in a way: Bakersfield Mist might be funnier and more comfortably trivial if its two-member cast would play more strictly to the script's cliches. On the other hand, Nussbaum and Brooks give us something to watch when every other reason is gone."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Playwright Stephen Sachs swiftly draws the characters in this 90-minute piece. Each gives as good as he/she gets in a battle of decidedly different types of wit and understanding. Consummate pro Brooks and national treasure Nussbaum are far, far too savvy to overplay their roles, with dry understatement the order of the day as directed by Kevin Christopher Fox. Nussbaum's wordless facial expressions are worth the price of admission, and Brooks is a rock of dumb-like-a-fox credibility. Don't hesitate to go see them. Also worthy are Jeffrey D. Kmiec's amusing "engineered home" set, Mary O'Dowd's elaborate properties and Jared Gooding's sometimes-subtle lighting."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The brief proceedings are predictable enough from there; both play and playwright side with Maude as the realest of the real, even if her painting isn’t. But if the play is no masterpiece, it’s a treat to see artists the caliber of Brooks and Nussbaum dig into it. Brooks gives the kind of earthy, brassy performance you could see a Laurie Metcalf in had a different Chicago ensemble gone for this piece, while old master Nussbaum imbues Percy with a good deal more texture than he’s given on the page. There’s some art you just can’t fake."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Somewhat Recommended

"...Maude is middle-aged, recently fired from her job as a bar tender and living alone in a dumpy trailer decorated with other people’s discarded junk. But one such piece of refuse is a painting that could be an original Jackson Pollock worth millions of dollars. That’s the starting point of Stephen Sachs’ play “Bakersfield Mist,” a two-hander at TimeLine Theatre starring a pair of Chicago’s best actors, who between them cannot bring this half-baked drama to much purpose."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Based on an actual story, Bakersfield Mist takes us through a minefield of situational ethics and conditional justice. When Maude cries out “I’m not giving up,” it’s about much more than validating a thrift-shop masterpiece. To Lionel’s amazement this woman possesses “arête,” the Greek word for inner virtue. You can’t put a price on that."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Watching the fire works between Brooks and Nussbaum is a glorious treat. These two skilled players navigate through Stephen Sachs’ well-constructed script with truthful representations of their gender and their social class. Ultimately, their humanity seeps out. Bakersfield Mist is the first “must see” production of the new theatre season."
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Tom Williams

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...All art benefits from the context in which it is presented. No doubt, “Bakersfield Mist” benefits from TimeLine’s well-deserved reputation. And yet, as Maude’s potential Pollock demonstrates, context alone does not define value. Like any good work of art, there is plenty to admire about “Bakersfield Mist.” Yet, it did not move me. And if there is a takeaway from “Bakersfield Mist” it is that being moved is the only thing that truly matters."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...What’s real and what’s fake? That question is the crux of this excellent play by Stephen Sachs, launching TimeLine’s 20th season in a Chicago premiere that’ll long be remembered for its intriguing debates about reality and deception, as well as the importance of art in our lives. A chance to witness two magnificent local actors going head-to-head, while trapped within the claustrophobic confines of a trashy mobile home, is must-see. For audiences who prefer their discussions about art to be served up with pigs-in-a-blanket and a shot of whiskey, this is the perfect evening of theatre."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...“Bakersfield Mist” raises the questions of what can be called authentic and who has the right to declare what is a masterpiece and what is fake or second rate in art. It’s a subjective matter that is colored by egos, politics, and the difficulty of judging something based on subjective “gut” assessment in the absence of hard evidence. Reputations and fortunes hang in the balance, to be decided by the perceived credibility of the expert. It’s intellectually chewy stuff, made stimulating and entertaining in this concise yet fulfilling play brought to exhilarating life by a pair of terrific performances."

Dan Zeff

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Bakersfield Mist is equal parts comedic and heartbreaking, acknowledging absurdity and cliche without ever descending into either. Both Sachs and Fox, and the actors, walk a fine line: with a less able team, this Chicago premiere could have easily sunk into unlikable stereotypes. Thanks to the playwright and TimeLine, however, Bakersfield Mist makes an odd situation unforgettable, and a situation of opposites, attracting and repelling, a sweet and haunting search for truth."

Lauren Whalen

  Bakersfield Mist Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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