Chicago Premiere

August 19 - October 15, 2016

“Miracles happen. Don’t they?”

A provocative and hilarious look at what makes art—and people—authentic. Maude has bought the ugliest thrift store painting she could get her hands on as a gag gift. When she’s told it might be 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.

Inspired by a true story and set to feature TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks and TimeLine Associate Artist Mike Nussbaum in the two-person cast, Bakersfield Mist is “a perfect marriage of emotion and ideas that is rare indeed” (Los Angeles Times).

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Production Team


* Member of Actors Equity Association

# Member of United Scenic Artists

~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

+ TimeLine Company Member

^ TimeLine Associate Artist

§ TimeLine Playwrights Collective


  • Chicago Sun-Times

    August 26, 2016

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “A TimeLine Theatre production that stars the ideally paired Mike Nussbaum and Janet Ulrich Brooks. If you are searching for the very definition of ‘high art’ you will find it in the fireworks between these two.”

    —Hedy Weiss

    Read the full review

  • Chicago Tribune

    September 2, 2016

    “‘Bakersfield Mist’ is a fun piece of writing … [Nussbaum’s] work is richly crafted, as always, and he’s endlessly entertaining and, in one moment especially, deeply moving … the issues behind ‘Bakersfield Mist,’ and this is a piece intended to spark discussion, are probably worth 80 minutes of your time.”

    —Chris Jones

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  • Daily Herald

    August 30, 2016

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “The great appeal of director Kevin Christopher Fox’s cogent, well-paced production rests primarily with Nussbaum and the equally masterful Brooks. … Nussbaum and Brooks are virtuosos. We’re lucky to have them.”

    —Barbara Vitello

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  • Crain's Chicago Business — “10 Things to Do”

    August 31, 2016

    “Put those characters in the hands of actors Janet Ulrich Brooks and Mike Nussbaum and you get more subtle shadings and surprising topspin. … Timeline Theatre has put together a showcase production”

    —Hank Sartin

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  • Chicago Theatre Review

    August 26, 2016

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “Director Kevin Christopher Fox has staged this twister with style and energy. … Spewing four-letter expletives and swilling bourbon like a sailor, Ms. Brooks is unbelievable in this role … She’s matched moment for moment by her costar, the incredibly talented and always surprising Mike Nussbaum.”

    —Colin Douglas

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  • Stage and Cinema

    August 26, 2016

    “[An] engrossing two-person drama … Bakersfield Mist [is] an 80-minute Chicago premiere richly mined by Kevin Christopher Fox.”

    —Lawrence Bommer

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  • Chicago Theater Beat

    August 27, 2016

    3.5 STARS. “[Director Kevin Christopher] 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

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  • Windy City Times

    August 31, 2016

    “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.”

    —Jonathan Arbarbanel

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  • Chicagoland Theatre Reviews

    September 1, 2016

    “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

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  • Ada Grey Reviews for You

    September 2, 2016

    “I really liked this show. I thought it was very fun and interesting. When my mom read me the description, I said “Yep. I want to go to that show,” and I was definitely not disappointed! … People who would like this show are people who like abstract expressionist art, blinks, and cheez-ball fights.”

    —Ada Grey

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  • Le Bon Travel & Culture

    September 2, 2016

    “For those who love art and theater, Bakersfield Mist is a dazzling must-see production. It’s one of the best shows of the year!”

    —Betty Mohr

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  • CBS2 Chicago

    September 9, 2016

    Chicago’s own Mike Nussbaum … the dean of Chicago actors is not only starring in a new play, he’s playing a huge role. And just because some of us are used to his nightly brilliance all these years, that for me doesn’t make it any less amazing.”

    —Chris Jones

    Watch the segment

  • TimeOut Chicago

    September 12, 2016

    3 STARS. [Janet Ulrich] 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 [Mike] 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.

    —Kris Vire

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  • Chicago Sun-Times

    August 25, 2016

    Mary Houlihan interviewed playwright Stephen Sachs as well as Janet and Mike for this Chicago Sun-Times feature.

    —Mary Houlihan

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  • Daily Herald

    August 19, 2016

    Mary O’Dowd and her work gathering props and set dressing for BAKERSFIELD MIST are profiled in this feature from the Daily Herald.

    —Alicia Lee

    Read the full review

  • WGN Plus

    September 16, 2016

    Paul Lisnek takes you behind the curtain in this podcast with Mike Nusbaum and Janet Ulrich Brooks, as they discuss BAKERSFIELD MIST and where they get their inspiration for acting.


    Listen to the podcast

Discussions & Events

  • Opening Night Celebration: BAKERSFIELD MIST
    Friday, August 26 at 8 pm

    Celebrate the opening of our 20th Anniversary Season with this Chicago premiere.

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  • Open Captioned Performance
    Saturday, Sept. 10 at 4pm

    Featuring a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance.

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  • Company Member Discussion
    Sunday, September 11

    Join us for an informal chat with TimeLine’s Company Members after today’s performance.

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  • PRE-Show Discussions
    Various dates

    Join us for an informal sneak peek into the show with members of the production team.

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  • Post-Show Discussions
    Various dates

    Informal discussion with cast members and production team of BAKERSFIELD MIST.

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  • Sunday Scholars Series
    Sunday, October 9 at 3:30 pm

    Explore BAKERSFIELD MIST at a panel discussion featuring experts on the play’s themes.

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    Saturday, October 15 at 8pm

    The final performance of Stephen Sachs’ provocative and hilarious play.

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