Veteran Chicago stage actor Mike Nussbaum makes a homecoming this week, appearing in the title role in Jeff Baron's Visiting Mr. Green at Skokie's Northlight Theatre. The play runs Sept. 29-Oct. 31, opening on Oct. 6.
Nussbaum grew up with the Chicago theatre movement, starring in Northlight's first production -- Tom Stoppard's Jumpers, directed by Frank Galati -- in 1974. Since then, he has appeared on every important Chicago stage, from Steppenwolf to the Goodman to the Organic, forming a particular bond with native son, playwright David Mamet. Nussbaum originated the role of Teach in American Buffalo and starred in the premieres of Glengarry Glen Ross, Life in the Theater and The Shawl. He has acted in Mamet's films as well, including "House of Games."
Nussbaum will play 86-year-old Jewish widower, Mr. Green. Playing the old man's visitor is Guy Adkins. B.J. Jones directs.
The remainder of Northlight's 1999-2000 season is as follows:
* Dinah Was (Dec. 1, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000), Oliver Goldstick's musical tribute to legendary jazz diva Dinah Washington, staged by David Petrarca. When Dinah arrives in Las Vegas ready to star at the Sands, she is treated to back-of-the-bus accommodations in a mobile home behind the casino. Refusing to leave the lobby, Dinah relives her career and life in an evening of jazz (13 songs) and emotional flashbacks. The staging is a co production with Arena Stage and Dallas Theatre Center. * As Bees in Honey Drown (Feb. 2-March 5, 2000), Douglas Carter Beane's flip, New Yorky satire of celebrity culture, directed by Gary Griffin. In the Off-Broadway favorite, a young writer is seduced by the extravagant and mysterious Alexa Vere de Vere, part Auntie Mame, part Sally Bowles.
* God's Man in Texas (March 29-April 30, 2000), David Rambo's examination of the personal issues that impact a change in the leadership at a famous Baptist church, with Jones as a charismatic young pastor and Tony Mockus as the aging, defensive pastor. Susan V. Booth will direct the comedy about institutional power struggles, fathers and sons and modern day religion U.S. religion.
* Side Show (May 17-June 18, 2000), Krieger and Russell's musical look at the public and private joys of real-life "Siamese twins," the Hilton sisters. Jones called the show a risk because it's about outsiders or, as the show's opening song calls them, "freaks." The Skokie and Evanston area is about "status quo" and "normal" lives, said Jones, so it will be interesting to see how the crowd responds. Casting is incomplete.
For information, call (847) 673-6300.
-- By Robert Simonson and Ken Jones