Category Archives: Click Clack Moo

Openings and Welcomes

How to Survive enters the home stretch!

Opening January 8, How to Survive a Fairy Tale was in tech over the holidays. While the rest of us were sipping eggnog, our valiant Fairy Tale team was figuring out how to make a book fly like a bird and other magical acts. This show is especially exciting to us because it’s a brand new play! Though you will certainly recognize the (fractured) fairy tales that our hero, Jack, finds himself in, this adventure is an original play by veteran adaptor Jim Grote. Jim has once again partnered with director Shole Milos. Shole and Jim have helmed many Lifeline kids’ shows, including the entire Click Clack Moo series, and they’ve brought many farm team regulars back together for this one! Alan Donahue has designed a sparkly delectable set, Jana Anderson will garb the players, Tony Ingram brings the magical sound effects, and Jordan Kardasz (new to the farm team but not to Lifeline) will light up the enchanted forest. Stage manager Ellen Willet will wrangle these folks, as well as the many farm yard regulars in the cast:

Nathaniel Niemi (a former Duck) is Jack, Heather Currie (has played numerous adorable farm animals at Lifeline) is Mom, Amanda Link (a former Ewe and other animals) is Little Red Riding Hood, Derek Czaplewski (a former Farmer Brown) is Dad, and Jacquis Neal (understudy for 13 Clocks) is the Big Bad Wolf. And understudies Blake McKay, Peter J. Hegel, and Jeffrey Rubin are all new to Lifeline!

Lifeline Theatre welcomes Alex Kyger (our first-ever Development Manager!)

Alex Kyger joined Lifeline’s staff on December 12th and will be responsible for managing the development strategy of Lifeline Theatre. We are super excited to have him on the team.

Alex moved to Chicago in 2006 from the island of Bahrain, quickly becoming embedded in Chicago’s theater community as a performer, administrator, and producer. Kyger received his BFA in Theater with honors from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, serving as Development Apprentice at Redmoon Theater while pursuing his studies. Upon graduating, Kyger joined Red Tape Theatre as a member of the artistic ensemble and the company’s first Director of Community Engagement, establishing meaningful relationships with locally-owned Lakeview businesses, securing season sponsorship, and generating a blueprint for the company’s first major giving campaign. Concurrently, Kyger served as the Executive Producer of the fledgling Les Enfants Terribles (LET) company, establishing LET as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and securing the ensemble a spot in the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival, where it received a Fringe NYC Excellence Award for Best Ensemble. Since April of 2011, Kyger has served as American Theater Company’s Development Associate. In his six-month tenure at ATC, Kyger cultivated increased grant support for the theater’s education and mainstage programming, launched a major giving campaign to raise funds for ATC’s Youth Ensemble, and secured sponsorships from numerous businesses in the North Center neighborhood.

Come by the office and meet Alex! (And marvel that we have managed to get one more desk into our cozy headquarters.)

Welcome to Roman Ehrlich
Lifeline welcomes Roman Ehrlich who is visiting Chicago from Germany and is volunteering at Lifeline Theatre for the winter. Roman is living in Chicago through mid-March, while working on several writing projects, including a novel that takes place, in part, in Chicago. Roman grew up in Bavaria, studied Creative Writing in Leipzig and Contemporary German Literature in Berlin, where he now lives.

At Lifeline, Roman assisted with Winter Drama Camp and participates in the Lifeline Storytelling Project, as well as assisting administrative, production, and front of house departments. We are thrilled and honored that Roman has chosen to volunteer his time at Lifeline, amid the many great organizations the city has to offer.

And we’ve asked him about castles in Bavaria, and they really do have them there.

Our block rocks!
Check our our neighborhood in the news! WGN-TV trucks were on Glenwood Avenue when we arrived last Friday morning. Evil Squirrel, our favorite comic book shop (just three doors north of Lifeline Theatre) was featured on WGN’s Around the Town!

Betsy & CCM opening

Click Clack Moo opened on Sunday the 17th with two sold out shows that totally rocked the house. Congrats to all! Besides great shows, we had a bunch of other excitement:

“Udderstudies” to the rescue! We’d like to thank and congratulate Rachel Renee and Mallory Nees for being rock star understudies who really saved the day when illness struck the cast in opening week. And thanks to Ellen and the cast for supporting them and to all for being as cool as cucumbers!

Betsy Lewin was here! We were thrilled to have Click Clack series illustrator Betsy Lewin join us on opening day. She signed autographs in the lobby, along with the cast.

ABC-TV appearance: As if opening day weren’t exciting enough, Betsy and Farmer Brown and all the farmyard animals were at ABC at 7am on Sunday morning to do a promotional piece. (This was before coming back to do the two-show day up at Lifeline!) The ABC team was very hospitable. Betsy Lewin was interviewed and the cast did a couple teasers plus a musical excerpt from the show. It was great fun — and we managed to get the cast, costumes and various hen nests and hay bales back up to Lifeline before the first show!

Go live theatre!

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director

Autumn update

Art in the lobby!

Lifeline is proud to feature the work of Rogers Park artist Jhenai Mootz on our lobby walls. Both the box office wall and concession stand area are now bedazzled with an exciting assortment of Jhenai’s ceramic tiles. Make sure to look for the tiles that are specially themed to Lifeline shows this season, like the current Wuthering Heights piece! Numerous pieces have already been sold through Lifeline’s box office. In addition to being a mixed-media artist, Jhenai is an actress and is understudying several roles in our upcoming production of The Moonstone.

Streetscape continues…pardon our dust. (But we’ve got ya covered!)

This is what our street looks like. Can you tell it’s going to be really pretty someday? Acorn streetlights. Wider sidewalks. Planters. It’s going to be awesome. The hard-working streetscape team has promised to keep the road open for us even during construction so you can still drop off your passengers in front of the theater. What’s tougher right now is the parking — because Glenwood is not the only street in our ‘hood that’s torn up. We recommend you come early and make use of our free parking lot at the NE corner of Ravenswood and Morse and the free shuttle that loops back and forth.

Our shuttle driver, Darren, will take good care of you. Darren’s an actor, too. (Perhaps you remember him playing the lead in Crossing California a few seasons ago!)

Our neighborhood in the news:
The YouTube video Glenwood and Morse 2010 (featuring the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, with numerous shots of Lifeline Theatre) was a winner in the Metropolitan Planning Commision’s Placemaking Chicago contest. The video aired on WGN TV on September 17th and was created by our neighbors Mary and Neil who own Duke’s Bar, right next door to us.

More murals have come to our neighborhood this past summer — and more will be arriving soon. (This one is just north of us on Glenwood between Morse and Lunt.) Rogers Park and its plan for a dozen more murals were the focus of a recent cover story in The Reader. We’ll soon be covered in art — even more than we are now!

One. Crazy. Summer.
Summer 2010 was action packed! Get a load of this schedule: Neverwhere extension ran into late July…

Which means it overlapped Lifeline’s Summer Drama Camp (which rocked)…

…which rolled right into the 14th Fillet of Solo Festival (our first year as host!) . . .

. . . which overlapped with the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest. (Best. Fest. Ever.)

But now there’s a chill in the air . . .
and the box office phones are ringing. Because it’s that time. It’s time to buy tickets to Wuthering Heights. Or Click Clack Moo. Or subscribe! (And subscriptions are going like hotcakes, we’re happy to report.) It’s Fall and we’re back! Can’t wait to see ya!

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director


Welcome to new ensemble members, Hainsworth and Walsh!

We are joyful and proud to announce our newest ensemble members: Chris Hainsworth and Christopher Walsh. You’ve seen them both a number of times at Lifeline (most recently Treasure Island and Neverwhere!

Chris Hainsworth as Isreal Hands in Treasure Island

Christopher Walsh as Mr. Vandemar in Neverwhere

Fun fact: Chris Hainsworth is engaged to ensemble member Katie McLean and they will marry in August. Congrats to Katie and Chris! A Lifeline wedding!

Katie and Chris in Neverwhere

Neverwhere is dust and rubble

It always breaks our heart a little when we have to rip apart a show we loved. Ian and Barney took a day to destroy what it had taken them weeks to build. If you pass by Lifeline in the next couple days, you’ll see a dumpster in our driveway being filled with the unsalvageable scenic elements, chopped up into little bits.

The Neverwhere set, before strike.

Barney and Ian, mid-strike.

We are hurrying to clear the way for Fillet of Solo, next up at Lifeline. And, yow! Right on its heels is Season 2010-11: Wuthering Heights began rehearsal this week. Click, Clack, Moo is cast. Mr. Hatch auditions next week while we also have workshop rehearsals for a project in development across town. We have so much going on we are bursting out of our building! This is how crowded we are: below is a recent rehearsal for Fillet of Solo….in our basement laundry room!

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director

August Updates

New Driveway! (And a new adventure for our former gates…)
Yesterday’s activities at Lifeline were underscored by a jackhammer rhythm and a basso sledgehamer beat. Our flaking, scaling, crumbling driveway is being replaced!

Removing the old concrete

The first and most daunting job was prying out a deeply embedded steel post that protruded out of the center of our driveway. Back when we had working gates, this protrusion functioned as a gate catch at the center of the drive. But our gates have long since ceased to function and with the removal of the post, we’ll no longer have to put a big orange cone over the hazard every time we have company.

Once the new concrete is poured today, we’re going to be smooth and beautiful and welcoming!

And what’s to become of our cute former gates? Never fear, they will have future life! The sculptor next door, Andy DeLaRosa (of B1E Gallery) has offered them a home. They will be soon decorating Andy’s sculpture garden. Be sure to check it out when you next visit us!

Drama Camp — full of fun and hilarity
Lifeline’s Summer Drama Camp for 7-12 year olds, led by Jasmin and Eddie, had its final performance on Saturday, July 25th. The final showcase featured a drum circle with drums the students made, demonstrations of games, improvisations and several short plays that the students had written themselves. A good time was had by all! Our Education Director, Lea, is already in full planning mode for next season’s off-school workshops and camp offerings!

Sneak Peek for Treasure Island, August 9th
Our sneak peeks are among my favorite Lifeline events and this one was particularly fun. “Jolly Jolly Grog” (rum punch named after one of the sea shanties in the show) was served along with the usual wine and cheese and treats. Subscribers and donors mingled with Lifeline artists, staff and board. Brani showed her renderings, costumes were modeled and blood packs were discussed. Chris and John demonstrated a knife fight from the show and then broke it into slow-mo pieces so Geoff could explain the techniques and deceptions they use to fake us out. Alan‘s set model was on display and we got to see the firing of one of the antique pistols that he and Geoff have rigged up to fake/shoot. As always, we took folks on tours around the facility so people get to see our hidden nooks and crannies. It is great fun to get to meet our donors and subscribers and express our thanks to them with these parties!

The Farm Animals are back!
Shole and George and Jim are working on Dooby Dooby Moo, another tale from the popular series by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. This time the farm gets involved in a talent show! We’re bringing back TWO former Farmer Browns to share the role. Craig Thompson, who originated the role in Click Clack Moo will perform on weekends and Ben Kirberger, who was one of the Farmer Browns in Duck for President, will perform the weekday performances. Amanda Link (formerly Hen in Duck for Prez) is back to play Ewe. Elizabeth Dowling (Pig in Giggle Giggle Quack) is back to play Pig. Heather Currie (Pig in Duck for Prez) is back to play Cow, and we welcome Nathaniel Neimi as our brand new Duck. Whew! That’s a lot of animals (and former animals). We’ve collected quite a barnyard as we move into producing our 4th book in this popular series. As usual, Doreen and Betsy and their families will fly in from NY to see the show — this time for opening (October 18)! Yay!

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director