Riverside Theatre will continue its stage season with the new comedy-drama by Stephen Sachs, Bakersfield Mist. Led by Producing Artistic Director and CEO Allen D. Cornell and Managing Director and COO Jon R. Moses, the production will hit the Waxlax Stage from January 31 to February 19. This show contains adult language.
Inspired by true events, the play follows character Maude Gutman, an unemployed bartender in her fifties, 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’s in store.
The plays is inspired by the story of retired California trucker, Teri Horton, who went searching for a gift to cheer up a friend in 1992. Horton thought she’d found the perfect gag gift—a big painting of nothing but squiggles, swipes and drips—and paid five dollars for it. The friend hated the piece and refused to put it in her trailer, so Horton added it to a garage sale at her home. When an art teacher passed by, she tells Horton, “you might have a Jackson Pollock painting here.” Horton’s response was, “who the (expletive) is Jackson Pollock?”
When Horton discovers her artwork might be worth $50 million, she contacts Thomas Hoving, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, to authenticate the painting. One of the difficulties is that the artwork is unsigned. A 2006 documentary, Who the #$% Is Jackson Pollock?, chronicles Horton’s efforts to have the art world agree that her thrift-store bargain was an original work by a master artist.
Although no art expert would authenticate the piece, Horton received offers of up to $9 million for the painting, but never sold it as she was looking for a “fair price.” Horton passed away in July 2019 still in possession of the artwork.
Sachs’ adaptation of the story is an uproarious and thought-provoking play about the collision of class cultures and attitudes.
Tickets are $65 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (772) 231-6990 or by clicking here. Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Opening Night (the first Tuesday performance), Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and matinees on Wednesdays, select Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m.