“Bakersfield Mist,” the play by Stephen Sachs that was a recent sleeper hit at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, will be making the transatlantic journey to London’s West End when it opens at the Duchess Theatre this spring with a cast that includes Kathleen Turner and “Star Wars” actor Ian McDiarmid.
The play is scheduled to run May 10 through Aug. 30 in London. Polly Teale will direct the play, which is about a down-on-her-luck Bakersfield woman who discovers that a painting she found may actually be a masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions of dollars.
Sachs’ play opened in L.A. in 2011 and ran for several months with a cast that included Jenny O’Hara as the protagonist Maude Gutman and Nick Ullett as a snobbish art expert. The play is officially a work of fiction though it was based on actual events.
A Times review of the play’s L.A. production called it a “a wry two-hander that handles highbrow artistic issues while zinging in plenty of uproarious one-liners.”
In an interview with The Times in 2011, Sachs, who is co-artistic director of the Fountain, said that he liked the idea of “bringing these two wonderful characters together -- this bawdy, salty-tongued, boozy lady and this sophisticated art expert from New York -- and have them butt heads.”
Turner is currently working on a revival of Brecht’s “Mother Courage and her Children” at the Arena Stage in Washington. McDiarmid -- who appeared in the “Star Wars” movies as the evil Emperor -- is an accomplished stage actor who won a Tony Award for the Broadway run of “Faith Healer” in 2006.