photo/Stan Foxworthy/Foxworthy Studios

New Comedy ‘Bakersfield Mist’ Comes to The Footlight Players Stage

A new international hit comedy is making its way to one of Charleston’s historic theatres. The Footlight Players will perform “Bakersfield Mist” from Sept. 9-25 at Footlight Theatre, 20 Queen St. 

“Bakersfield Mist” is the story of Maude, a 50-something unemployed bartender living in a trailer park who buys a painting for a few bucks from a thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she’s now convinced it’s a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. But when world-class art expert Lionel Percy flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover. Inspired by true events, this hilarious and thought-provoking new comedy-drama asks vital questions about what makes art – and people – truly authentic. 

Playwright Stephen Sachs authored “Bakersfield Mist,” which won the 2012 Elliot Norton Award, Best New Play. The play enjoyed a three-month run on the West End in London starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid. 

The production is directed by Robin Burke and stars Lorilyn Harper as Maude and Jimmy Flannery as Lionel. 

Don Brandenburg, artistic director for The Footlight Players, describes “Bakersfield Mist” as a “90-minute emotional thrill ride loaded with hilarious physical comedy, stinging one-liners, shocking discoveries and cleverly orchestrated banter.” 

This play is relatively new; it had its first staged reading in 2011. The newness of the play was appealing to Brandenburg, he said, as the Footlight team was putting together shows for its 85thseason.  

“I was initially drawn to the piece because it is so fresh,” he said. “I like the idea of blending a new work with some of the classic works we are presenting. However, it was selected to be a part of Footlight’s 85th season, not just because it is a new offering, but because it is a new, well-written, humorous, thought-provoking story. I am excited to have it on our lineup and look forward to having our Footlight audiences experience this ride with us.”  

Performances are 8 p.m. on Sept. 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 and at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11, 18 and 25. Tickets are $30 for adults, $27 for military/seniors and $20 for students. Order tickets online or by calling the box office at 843-722-4487. Note, due to the strong language in “Bakersfield Mist,” it is not considered appropriate for children.