National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

In 1902 Albert and Mileva Einstein had a baby daughter. After 1904 she was never seen or spoken of again. Forty years later, a reporter interviews Einstein about this mysterious piece of his past, revealing shocking secrets about his family and his personal life. While the reporter questions Einstein on his theory of relativity and his decisions, she also poses a query of her own: to be a great man, does one first need to be a good man?

The author of Freud’s Last Session and Becoming Dr. Ruth showcases his signature blend of insight, intellect, humor and heart in this fictional account of a legendary figure.

Approximately 80 minutes, no intermission

at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077

This production is supported in part by:

Calendar for Relativity

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CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

by Hedy Weiss
May 21, 2017
Highly Recommended

Nature, nurture and ‘Relativity’ drive a new play about Einstein

“Relativity,” Mark St. Germain’s new play about a largely opaque chapter in the life of the thought-altering physicist Albert Einstein, is an exercise in dramatic speculation.

The principal reason to see this Northlight Theatre production is to watch Mike Nussbaum, the 93-year-old actor who might easily be dubbed the eighth wonder of the modern world, work his magic as the complicated, ornery, sardonic and all too human genius whose celebrity surely became something of a curse in his later years.

“Relativity” is a tightly structured, information-packed 80 minutes, full of all the essential arguments, and while it feels more than a little artificially constructed, the actors, under the airtight direction of Northlight artistic director BJ Jones, bring total commitment to their portrayals. With his uncanny resemblance to Einstein — from the shock of thick white hair, baggy pants and sweater, and spot-on accent, to the engaging quizzical grin, the air of impatience and pride, and the hint of inner sadness — Nussbaum captures both the braininess and volatility of the man. Whitney, in a terrifically droll turn, is a model of loyalty, tough love and paranoia. And Keberlein is relentless as the aggrieved daughter in search of the love of a father who was in love with ideas.

Read the full review

 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

by Chris Jones
May 21, 2017
3 Stars

At Northlight, Mike Nussbaum is as unique as Einstein

Albert Einstein is an ideal role for Mike Nussbaum, the new show, “Relativity,” at the Northlight Theatre reveals.

I speak not merely of the fusion of extraordinary mental capability, although I swear it is merely our familiarity with Nussbaum, America’s oldest active union actor and the comforting sweater of the Chicago theater, that prevents adequate appreciation of what this 93-year-old actor still can do, night after night.

I’ve seen Nussbaum perform a dramatic text richly and flawlessly—not the tiniest breath of air between lines, nary a stutter nor a stumble—so many times now, it’s a quotidian experience. Which is, of course, the way no-fuss-Mike prefers it to appear. But it cannot honestly be described as such.

Watch Nussbaum in a heady, talky play like this one—a three-hander, sure, but you will not be surprised to hear that Einstein is very much at the center of the drama, yakking away for most of the 70-minute running time—and you leave shaking your head in amazement. Nussbaum, I swear, is as unique as was the man he plays.

Read the full review

Cast

katherine-keberlein
Katherine Keberlein

Margaret Harding

Katherine returns to Northlight where she previously appeared as one of the Pigeon sisters in The Odd Couple also directed by BJ Jones, and is thrilled to share the stage once more with Mike Nussbaum after appearing with him in Smokefall at The Goodman.  Other favorite credits include A Kid Like Jake (About Face) and The Mother (Oracle Theatre, Jeff Award Principal Actress) and work with Chicago Dramatists, 16th Street Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Steppenwolf, Rivendell, Oak Park Festival, Remy Bumppo, Theatre at the Center, and two seasons with Peninsula Players. TV credits include APB, Chicago Med, Sirens, Chicago PD and Shameless.

mike-nussbaum
Mike Nussbaum

Albert Einstein

Mike returns to Northlight where he previously appeared in Awake and Sing!Better LateGrace, and Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with MorrieRelativity marks his 15th appearance with Northlight. An actor in Chicago for more than 60 years, he was recently seen at TimeLine in Bakersfield Mist and The Price and at The Goodman in the much loved Smokefall by Noah Haidle. According to Actors’ Equity Association, he is the oldest actor still working on stage.

ann-whitney
Ann Whitney

Helen Dukas

Ann has performed at Northlight many times beginning with Quilters followed by Driving Miss Daisy for which she received the Sarah Siddons Actress of the Year Award. She also appeared in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Grey Gardens and Lost in Yonkers.  Other Chicago credits include appearances at Lincolnshire Marriott, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Court, Steppenwolf (Jeff Award – Ensemble), Mercury, Northwestern University, Goodman, ATC (directed by her daughter, Sarah in Trip to Bountiful), Next, Apple Tree and Writers. Regional credits include Wit (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Fossils (Sacramento Theatre Company) which she also performed at Victory Gardens with Julie Harris. Ann has appeared in many films such as The Fugitive, Sugar, Home Alone and While You Were Sleeping.

Production Team

Mark St. Germain

Playwright

Mark St. Germain’s plays include Becoming Dr. Ruth, Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah, The Best  of Enemies, Camping with Henry and Tom, Ears on a Beatle, The God Committee, Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap and Dancing Lessons. His play Freud’s Last Session ran for two years Off-Broadway, closing July 24th, 2012. The play has been open in Argentina since January 2012 and in repertory in Sweden, Australia, Denmark. Television work includes Writer/Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show and Dick Wolf’s Crime and Punishment. He co-wrote director Carroll Ballard’s film Duma and produced and directed the documentary My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story, with Richard Gere, Glenn Close, Edward Albee and others. Mark also wrote the award winning children’s book Three Cups. Mark is an Associate Artist of the Barrington Stage Company, a recipient of the William Inge Festival’s New Voices Award, and a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writer’s Guild East. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists.

BJ Jones

Director

BJ Jones is in his 19th 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 Shining Lives, 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.

Jack Magaw

Scenic Design

JR Lederle

Lighting Design

Northlight credits include By the Water, CharmShining LivesOutside MullingarWhite Guy on the BusDetroit ’67The Odd CoupleTen ChimneysSeason’s GreetingsA LifeGrey GardensThe Retreat From MoscowLadyStella & Lou, The Outgoing TideBetter Late and Chapatti (the last four also at the Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland). Other work has been seen at Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, About Face, Remy Bumppo, Writers, Steppenwolf and Walkabout. JR designed lighting for seven years of the Steppenwolf TRAFFIC Series, and five Steppenwolf performances in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He has served as head of the Lighting Department at Steppenwolf since 1995.​

Rachel Laritz

Costume Design

Andrew Hansen

Sound Design

Andrew returns to Northlight where he previously collaborated on DiscordFunnyman, Outside Mullingar, White Guy on the Bus, Tom Jones, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide, She Stoops to Conquer and Mauritius. Andy is an Associate Artist at TimeLine where he has been designing since 1999.  Regionally he has composed for American Players, Indiana Rep, Summer Shakespeare at Notre Dame and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.

Stephan Mazurek

Projection Design

Rita Vreeland

Production Stage Manager

Rita is proud to be completing her 10th season at Northlight, where she has been fortunate to be the stage manager for 26 productions as well as two trips to Galway. Recent credits elsewhere in the Chicagoland area include productions at Theatre at the Center (Munster, IN), Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre Company, Goodman, and the annual Christmas Schooner at the Mercury Theater. She is the proud wife of actor Tom Hickey and mom to four-year-old Charlie, and has been a member of Actors’ Equity for over 15 years. Thank you for supporting live theatre!

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