CHICAGO (CBS) — Mike Nussbaum has played Broadway and Hollywood, but considers himself a Chicago actor.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports in this week’s Made in Chicago, while other rising stars have abandoned Chicago for one or the other coast, Nussbaum never considered it. He prefers the Chicago acting community.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

“People don’t compete with each other here; they help each other here, unlike Hollywood or New York where it is important that you be seen and singled out and praised,” Nussbaum said. “What happens to the rest of the people or show – immaterial – as long as you do well. And that has not been the ethic in Chicago.”

At 88, Nussbaum is still going strong, starring now as Sigmund Freud in “Freud’s Last Session” at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave.

At his age, how does Nussbaum do eight performances a week in a physically demanding show?

“A part of it is the challenge. A part of it is pure genetic luck,” Nussbaum said. “A part of it is that I work out a lot; I walk a lot; and I eat carefully. But, I expect that mostly, it’s pure luck.”

Among the movies he’s been in are “Men in Black,” “Field of Dreams” and his favorite, David Mamet’s “House of Games.”

But theater on almost every Chicago stage has been his bread-and-butter.

“I have had enormous fun doing Mamet and Beckett and Shakespeare and others as well,” Nussbaum said. “That’s one of the joys of acting. You always get a chance to do something different.”
And at 88, is he giving any thought to retiring?

“Not until I have to,” he said. And the only way I will have to is if I’m physically unable to walk across the stage or to memorize the lines.”

Actor and Chicago treasure Mike Nussbaum still delighting audiences in Chicago and elsewhere.

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