George Wendt and Tim Kazurinsky to Lead FUNNYMAN at Northlight

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, announces the cast for the World Premiere of Bruce Graham's Funnyman, kicking off Northlight's 41st Season. The cast includes George Wendt, Tim Kazurinsky, Amanda Drinkall, Steve Haggard, Rob Lindley and an additional role to be announced. Funnyman, directed by BJ Jones and developed through Northlight's Interplay series, runs September 11-October 18, 2015 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie.

BJ Jones comments, "George Wendt and Tim Kazurinsky return to Northlight in our fourth world premiere play by Bruce Graham. We're thrilled to welcome back our friends and collaborators and to continue our commitment to new work with this show business tale of theatre, friends and family."

The 41st season continues with Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Depression-era classic You Can't Take it With You, directed by Devon de Mayo, followed by Terrence McNally's Tony nominated play Mothers and Sons, directed by Steve Scott. Richard Strand's Civil War drama Butler opens in the spring, directed by Stuart Carden. Closing out the season is the Executive Producer/Writer of Real Time with Bill Maher Scott Carter's comedy The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord, directed by Kimberly Senior.

The World Premiere of


By Bruce Graham

Directed by BJ Jones

September 11 - October 18, 2015

New York City, 1959. Fading vaudeville comic Chick Sherman, along with his long-suffering agent, tries to revive his career with a role in an avant-garde off-Broadway play. While his grown daughter searches for answers from her absentee showbiz father, a lifetime of private and professional struggles rise to the surface, cracking the polished public persona of the world's favorite former "funny man."

Funnyman marks Northlight's fourth world premiere with playwright Bruce Graham, author of The Outgoing Tide, Stella & Lou and White Guy on the Bus.

George Wendt (Chick Sherman) Broadway credits include: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Elf, Art, Hairspray. London: Art. Off-Broadway: An Empty Plate at the Café du Grande Boeuf (Primary Stages), Wild Men (West Side Theatre). National Tour: Twelve Angry Men (Roundabout). Chicago: Rounding Third (Northlight), The Second City, Wild Men, Bleacher Bums (Organic Theatre Company). Oodles of film and television, most notably Cheers (six Emmy nominations). Mr. Wendt co-stars in the upcoming sitcom Clipped, premiering on TBS in summer 2015.

Tim Kazurinsky (Milt "Junior" Karp) is currently appearing on Broadway in the new comedy An Act of God, starring Jim Parsons. He recently completed a North American tour as the Wizard in Wicked. Other stage credits include: The Odd Couple (Northlight Theatre), Sexual Perversity Among the Buffalo, Another Fine Pickle, Freud Slipped Here, and I Remember Dada (Second City); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Chicago Shakespeare). TV credits include: Saturday Night Live 1981-84 (NBC), Big City Comedy (NBC), Dinner at Eight (TCM), The Princess and the Pea (Faerie Tale Theatre), According to Jim (ABC), Still Standing (CBS), Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO). Film credits include: My Bodyguard, Continental Divide, Neighbors, About Last Night..., Somewhere In Time, The Cherokee Kid, Shakes the Clown, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, and Police Academy II, III, & IV. Screenwriting credits include: About Last Night..., For Keeps, The Cherokee Kid, and Strange Relations.

Rob Lindley (Victor LaPlant) The Secret Garden, Angels in America, The Wild Duck, Caroline, or Change, and Carousel (Court Theatre); Candide (Goodman Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C.); Cabaret (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Urinetown (Mercury Theatre); Wings (Apple Tree Theatre); A New Brain,Children of Eden, Closer Than Ever (Porchlight Music Theatre); Bach at Liepzig, Oh Coward! (Writers' Theatre). Rob won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor in a Revue for Oh Coward! and can be heard on the company's CD Bright Young People. His vocal trio Foiled Again has won an After Dark Award and their debut CD Foiled Again: Live is available on iTunes and Upcoming projects include directing Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at Porchlight Music Theatre, where he is an Artistic Associate.

Amanda Drinkall (Katharine Sherman) Recent Chicago credits include White Guy on the Bus (Northlight), Venus in Fur and Measure for Measure (Goodman), Rest (Victory Gardens), Great Expectations (Strawdog), Pride and Prejudice (Lifeline), and numerous plays with The Back Room Shakespeare Project including Othello, As You Like It and The Tempest. As an ensemble member of Red Tape, her credits include hamlet is dead. no gravity, Lear, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale and Pullman, WA. Regional credits: Michigan Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet and North Carolina Shakespeare's King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. Film credits: The View from Tall. Ms. Drinkall holds a BFA in acting performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Steve Haggard (Matthew Baroni) Chicago credits include: Doubt: A Parable (Writers Theatre); Accidentally Like a Martyr and The Aliens (A Red Orchid Theatre); Tribes (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Wasteland (TimeLine Theatre Company), Season's Greetings and She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre), King Lear (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Regional Credits include: American Players Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Indiana Repertory Theatre. Steve is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre and a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Bruce Graham (Playwright) Plays: White Guy on the Bus, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide (2011 Jeff Award - Best New Play), Burkie, Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar & Grille, Moon Over the Brewery, Belmont Avenue Social Club, Desperate Affection, Coyote on a Fence (Winner of The Rosenthal Prize, Two Drama Desk Nominations), According to Goldman, The Philly Fan, Mister Hart and Mister Brown. He has won consecutive Barrymore Awards for Best New Play for Something Intangible and Any Given Monday. Film: Dunston Checks In, Anastasia, Steal This Movie. TV: Roseanne, Ring of Endless Light (Humanitas Award Winner - Best Children's Screenplay), The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Trading Christmas. Graham is a past winner of the Princess Grace Foundation Statuette. Along with Michele Volansky, he is the author of the book The Collaborative Playwright. Graham teaches film and theatre courses at Drexel University.

BJ Jones (Artistic Director/Director) is in his 17th season as Artistic Director of Northlight, where he commissioned and directed the world premieres of White Guy on the Bus, Chapatti, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide (Jeff Nomination - Best Director), Better Late, and Rounding Third. Notably he has directed productions of Outside Mullingar, Grey Gardens, The Price (Jeff Nomination- Best Director), A Skull in Connemara, The Cripple of Inishmaan, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore. As a producer he has guided the world premieres of The Last Five Years, The Gamester, and Studs Terkel's 'The Good War'. From Second City to Shakespeare, BJ has directed Pitmen Painters (Jeff Nomination - Best Director, TimeLine), A Number (Next), 100 Saints You Should Know (Steppenwolf), and The Dresser (Body Politic). Regional: Glengarry Glen Ross (Suzie Bass Nominee - Best Director, Atlanta's Alliance Theatre), Enchanted April (Asolo Theatre), and productions at Cherry Lane Theatre NY, Galway Arts Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, and Utah Shakespeare Festival. As a performer, Mr. Jones is a two-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner and has appeared at Northlight, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court, and other theatres throughout Chicago. Film/TV credits include The Fugitive, Body Double, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Early Edition, Cupid, and Turks, among others.

Northlight offers the following Engagement Events for each production:

Northlight artistic staff lead a conversation about the play and the artistic process immediately following select performances.


This behind-the-scenes discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones and other special guests is offered for each show while still in rehearsal. 2014-2015 dates are to be announced and will be available online at


Northlight partners with community organizations to offer enrichment opportunities ranging from panel discussions with local experts to scene selections and conversations with the cast and/or director. Frequent locations include the Skokie Public Library and Wilmette Public Library, among others. 2015-16 dates are to be announced, and will be posted in the theatre lobby for each production, as well as online at


Northlight's Interplay Reading Series gives audiences the opportunity to witness the early stages of play development, as a new play evolves from first draft to full theatrical production. Since its inception in spring 2006, Interplay has staged readings of 29 new plays, 25 of which have gone on to full productions at Northlight, in Chicago, and around the country. Readings are open to the public and include a post-show discussion with the playwright.

Interplay readings will be posted in the lobby and online as they are scheduled. For more information and upcoming dates, visit

Curtain times are: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Subscriptions to the 2015-16 Northlight Season are now available through the box office, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, by phone at 847.673.6300 or online at With its wide range of ticket prices, discounted subscription packages and complimentary parking, Northlight remains of one of the best theatrical values in Chicagoland.

Subscriptions range in price from $105-$240. A limited number of season subscriptions for the Opening Night performances (also includes a reception with the cast) are available for $320, subject to availability. Northlight subscribers will have the first chance to purchase additional tickets before they go on sale to the general public. For more information, visit

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now in its 40th season, the organization has mounted nearly 200 productions, including over 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 188 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 31 Awards. As one of the area's premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.


Arts Orgs

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You