E. Faye Butler will play the title role of jazz songstress Dinah Washington in the Chicago-area production of Oliver Goldstick's musical tribute, Dinah Was. The musical drama, directed by David Petrarca, began previews Dec. 1 at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie. Opening is Dec. 8 for a run through Jan. 2, 2000.
Butler is a three time Jeff Award winner. Her most recent Chicago credits are La Bete and The Little Foxes at the Court Theatre, where she is an artist in residence. Nationally, she has toured in Ain't Misbehavin' and Nunsense.
Also in the cast are Matt DeCaro, Carla Hargrove, Jeffrey Hutchinson and Darryl Alan Reed.
In Dinah Was, Washington arrives in Las Vegas ready to star at the Sands, only to be 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, the Philadelphia Theatre Company and the Dallas Theatre Center.
* Currently at Northlight, veteran Chicago stage actor Mike Nussbaum makes a homecoming in the title role in Jeff Baron's Visiting Mr. Green, playing through Oct. 31.
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 plays 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:
€ 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. Beane is currently enjoying another success off-Broadway with The Country Club.
€ 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