Kimbrough and Key Join Nussbaum and Mahoney for World Premiere of Better Late in IL | Playbill

News Kimbrough and Key Join Nussbaum and Mahoney for World Premiere of Better Late in IL
Northlight Theatre's world premiere comedy, Better Late, by Larry Gelbart and Craig Wright, will feature Chicago favorites John Mahoney and Mike Nussbaum, along with Steve Key and Linda Kimbrough, March 28-May 11 in Skokie, IL.

Artistic director BJ Jones will direct the Northlight commission. Mahoney and Nussbaum had been previously announced for the project, which had a developmental reading in 2007. Opening is April 9.

Nussbaum and Key appeared in Northlight's production of Wright's Grace. Mahoney is a Chicago-bred star widely known for playing Martin Crane on TV's "Frasier." Gelbart is the Emmy Award- and Tony Award-winning mind behind TV's "M*A*S*H" and Broadway's City of Angels, Sly Fox and …Forum. Chicago star Nussbaum has appeared in or directed many plays at Northlight. Recently he played Hamm in Endgame and Donny in Mamet's American Buffalo at the American Theater Company, Shelley Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross at The Steppenwolf, and John of Gaunt in Richard II for Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

According to Northlight, "As Better Late opens, Julian (Nussbaum) is forced to move in with his ex-wife and her new husband in order to recuperate from a sudden illness. With each passing day, the awkward situation spirals further and further out of control. As the laughter builds, the question becomes: how long will Julian have to stay? This bitingly funny December-December-December romance is a not-to-be-missed new comedy."

"Last December here at Northlight, over 300 people enjoyed the first public reading of Better Late," Jones stated. "It was such an entertaining and comically bittersweet evening, and the reading itself was only half the fun. When we reached the discussion portion of the event, these gifted writers offered personal stories and shared their vision of the play. Their inspirations are as comic and touching as the play they crafted together."

He added, "Throughout its evolution, the play's themes have continued to emerge, along with the humor that its story-line provides. Better Late in many ways is a fable of forgiveness: most of us never work up the courage to seize the moments in which amends can be offered and accepted, and the infraction healed. Gelbart and Wright — two writers at each end of the age spectrum — have blended their perspectives, artfully revealing the rashness of youthful choices and the challenges of living with the consequences." Better Late marks co-author Craig Wright's third production at Northlight Theatre (Grace, Lady). He has written for numerous hit television series including the Emmy- winning "Six Feet Under" and "Brothers & Sisters," and is the creator and executive producer of ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money."

The designers are Jack Magaw (scenic), JR Lederle (lighting), Rachel Laritz (costume), Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen (original music and sound). Laura D. Glenn is the stage manager.

Tickets for Better Late range in price from $35-$55 and are available by phone at (847) 673-6300 or online at

Northlight is at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie.

John Mahoney and Mike Nussbaum
John Mahoney and Mike Nussbaum Photo by Michael Brosilow

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