Category Archives: Outside Events

Thank you!

Wow! Lifeline’s benefit last night (“An Austen Soiree”) was a ball! (Seriously, we were in a ballroom!) Plus we raised a bunch of dough. THANK YOU to the cast of Pride and Prejudice and all our artist friends who suited up in regency wear to create the ambience. Thank you to Aly Renee Amidei for her time, talent and patience in outfitting the team (she’s our hero!) Thank you to all our friends who came, who donated and who bought raffle tickets. Thank you to our friend Kimberly Bares from RPBA, to our Education Director Lea Pinsky and to New Field teacher Patty Beyer for the best most heartfelt speeches ever. We are lucky indeed to know you all.

Donuts and fables

The doughnut is out of the box! (Again!) Arnie goes to New York!!!
Remember just last spring, when Frances and George wrote a delicious little musical called Arnie the Doughnut? Well, Arnie has received a big honor. It is one the musicals selected for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). So Arnie is packing his sprinkles, hitting the road and he’s even got his own website! He is a doughnut with a dream! And he’s headed to the Big Apple. Go Arnie!

And the Fairy Tale peeps are hitting the road too!
Okay, they’re not going as far — just a few blocks south on Glenwood Avenue — to the first annual Edgewater Fable Fest! How to Survive a Fairy Tale will perform (in a stripped down festival-version) at Senn High School on Friday May 18th at 4:30pm and Saturday May 19th at 3:00pm. So in case you missed it here at home, the Fairy Tale continues!

And more about Fable Fest and Lifeline (the Storytellers are going too!):
In addition to their (almost) every Monday performances at The Glenwood Bar (one block north of Lifeline) the Lifeline Storytelling Project will be doing a storytelling show, Beer and Fables, on Friday May 18th at 8pm at the Kitchen Sink on Berwyn. The Lifeline Storytelling Project is a writing/performing workshop featuring young professional artists affiliated with Lifeline Theatre. The Storytellers have their own Facebook page where you can get more scoop.

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director

The further adventures of The 13 Clocks puppet-stars

Since the closing of The 13 Clocks in 2011, puppet-stars Zorn and Saralinda (designed by Chelsea Warren) have been resting quietly in velvety-royal fleece bags in a cozily padded shoebox in Lifeline storage.

But St. John’s Episcol Church was casting for their Epiphany Pageant (interweaving the traditional story of the birth of Jesus, the three kings and Herod with real life epiphanies of the congregation of St. John’s. And the roles of JESUS and MARY were available. Zorn and Saralinda were roused from their rest, Christina Calvit took them to the audition and the Lifeliners got the roles!

Pictured here are Zorn as Jesus and Saralinda as Mary, dressed in their regalia for the pageant. The photo shoot took place on the altar itself! (The stage where they performed was a bit too dark.) They performed their roles brilliantly and were a huge hit!

So the show is over (again). But Zorn and Saralinda got to keep their costumes and wear them home. They are back in their velvety-royal fleece in their special shoebox, further cushioned this time by their Jesus-wear and by the false pregnancy pad that Saralinda wore to play Mary.

Zorn and Saralinda are puppets designed to resemble Joey deBettencourt and Millie Langford (who played the life-size versions) in The 13 Clocks.

While their “mini-me” twins were across town at St John’s, their live action counter-parts, Joey and Millie, have not been left on the shelf either. Joey has been playing in Punk Rock at Griffin Theatre and Millie Langford was in The Ghost Is Here at Vitalist Theatre.

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director

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!

Autumn goings-on

THE NEW YORK FREAKIN’ TIMES calls The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! “One of the best children’s shows of the year. Case closed.” Yowza!

This adaptation by ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric (from the book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith) first played at Lifeline in 2007 and has since had productions all over the nation. It is currently being performed by Atlantic Theater Company in NYC thru the end of October. Check out the article in The New York Times and another review too!

We are thrilled to welcome Joe Schermoly as Lifeline’s new Technical Director. Joe is a scenic designer who also works as a TD and we are super lucky to add him to the Lifeline team in both capacities. You can see Joe’s design work on our stage right now as the scenic and props designer (and the tech director) for The Count of Monte Cristo (now extended through November 13th). You can find out more about Joe by checking out his website.

We are also bidding a fond and sad adieu to our former tech director, Ian Zywica. Ian spent the last two years at Lifeline, tech directing our shows and also designing The Moonstone, The Last of the Dragons, and The Blue Shadow. We will miss him greatly and are hoping he will visit us often.

Ensemble member Paul Holmquist and his wife Kristina Fluty are new parents!

Gus Carlson Holmquist arrived on Monday September 12th. He is hale and hearty and beautiful.

In the midst of six shows this past weekend, Lifeline was honored to participate in Open House Chicago! It’s an event produced by the Chicago Architectural Foundation and this is the first time the Rogers Park neighborhood was on the explorer map! Shuttle buses brought people to the neighborhood and we were toured by over 200 people this past weekend (although most of them didn’t actually see the performance space because we had so many performances going on)! Our visitors were thrilled to see all our secret areas of the building and many vowed to return to see a show. It was great fun to introduce so many new people to our building.

THE 13 CLOCKS got a nice preview feature in the Sun-Times and a great review in Time Out Chicago Kids and is a visual treat. It features “mini-me” puppets and other theatrical devices that are brand new to our KidSeries. Amanda Delheimer Dimond directs for the first time at Lifeline and we are so happy and lucky to have her with us.

The 13 Clocks is a Rob Kauzlaric adaptation with both new faces and old favorites in both the cast and production teams: Scenic designer Chelsea Warren (Mr. Hatch, Mrs. Caliban, Flight of the Dodo, The Dirty Cowboy), sound designer Mikhail Fiksel (Neverwhere, Watership Down, The Last of the Dragons), props designer Katherine Greenleaf (Arnie the Doughnuti), costume designer Nathan Rohrer (assisted on Treasure Island), plus newbies Melanie Berner (puppet associate), Heather Gilbert (light designer), and Clare Roche (stage manager). The cast includes newbies Joey DeBettencourt, Mildred Marie Langford, and David Guiden, plus Lifeline returners Mike Ooi (Neverwhere, The Last of the Dragons, Zorro) and Jonathan Helvey (Zorro). Rockin’ understudies that are more than ready are: Ariel Begley, Jacquis Neal, and Morgan Maher — all new to Lifeline!

The City of Chicago has invited us to participate in its In the Works series! There will be a reading of Hunger on the Pritzker Pavillion Stage for three performances November 17-19. (Don’t worry, it’s not outside! The stage will be in it’s “indoor” configuration – audience sits on stage, actors backs are to the glassed in wall overlooking the park.) This includes a talkback with Chris Hainsworth (adapter), Rob Kauzlaric (director) and Elise Blackwell (novelist), whom they’re flying in for the weekend.

We hope to see you in the neighborhood soon!

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director

Summer at Lifeline Theatre! (No longer the slow season of our year.)

The Lifeline Storytelling Project has begun! I’m a huge geek for the personal storytelling form and I’m a 17-year veteran of the solo-performance/storytelling scene. I am super-excited for this opportunity to encourage a new generation to explore this form. Fifteen Lifeline-affiliated artists are currently participating in solo writing/performing workshops with me, which began in April. And now the group has started performing every Monday at Duke’s Bar (right next door to Lifeline at 6920 N. Glenwood). We’ve had performances on June 13, 19 and 27. We’ll skip the 4th of July and resume on July 11th. And then we’re going to have a show every Monday at 7pm for a long, long time! Mark your calendars! Come buy a beer and watch some great (free!) stories.

Participating artists so far include: Diego Colón, Leah Cox, Bryan DiLoreto, Kate Donoghue, David Fink, Eduardo Garcia, Christina Hall, Tiffany Keane, Alex Kyger, Amanda Link, Charlotte Long, Darren Meyers, Joe Schermoly, Anne Sears and Jason Weinberg. Seven of these writers have been on stage one or more times at Duke’s already and the rest are hitting the stage very soon!

The next exciting thing is…

It’s a whole storytelling festival! This Festival had a long, proud history at Live Bait Theatre and when they closed their doors a couple years ago, artistic director Sharon Evans approached us about taking over hosting the event. She felt we’d be a great fit because we are also a new work theater. We thought so too! So we dipped our toes in the water last year with a small festival and this year we’ve gotten more ambitious. We’ll be producing at a total of three venues, all within a block of each other here in Rogers Park.

The Festival runs July 21-August 7. We’ll have two shows a night at 95-seat Lifeline Theatre, two shows a night at 30-seat Heartland Studio Theatre (just a few steps up Glenwood Avenue) and the final performance at the 300-seat Mayne Stage (around the corner on Morse Ave). We have three storytellers coming in from New York, one from Los Angeles and for our local acts, we have 16 of Chicago‘s finest storytellers representing the home team. (And a subset of our Lifeline Storytelling Project will do a show in this Festival too!)

Complete details on the festival are here.

The Fest is coming August 20-21 this year. This is the best Fest in the city. Seriously. Not that we’re biased or anything. 100 artists! 36 bands! Fantastic food (all from Rogers Park restaurants). Lifeline will be in the thick of it, as usual, with all our neighborhood partners that come together to make this thing happen! You can check out all the details about what’s going on where at

We have six interns this summer at Lifeline. We have an army! And that’s really good because we need one. We continue to enjoy the company (and benefit from the exertions) of Jason Weinberg and Kathleen Weiss, who have each been with us for this past season as well as this summer. Jason assists in almost every area of the theater and has worked on projects for our benefit, our archives, our day-to-day operations and our scene shop. Kathleen works specifically in the shop where she works with Ian, our TD and where she also recently assisted puppet designer Joanna Iwanicka on the masks for Watership Down.

And — new this summer — we have four more fabulous interns: Kate DonoghueMaggie HumphreyCharlotte Long,and Anna Marr. Kate and Charlotte recently participated (spectacularly) as readers in our in-house Pride and Prejudice read-thru; Maggie is spearheading a special summer Lifeline fundraising event (news here soon about our Bingo Benefit at the Glenwood on August 25!); Anna is working directly with Lea Pinsky, our Education Director, and will assist with our summer camps. All four gals are also working with every one of us on staff on different projects. Their brains, energy and can-do spirit are an enormous boon to our organization.

With the help of our wonderful interns, we are going slay through our impossible list and get everything done this summer! All of it!

Anna Marr Charlotte Long
Jason Weinberg Kathleen Weiss
Kate Donoghue Maggie Humphrey

We hope to see you in the neighborhood soon!

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director

Upcoming events!

The spring and summer are always busy here at Lifeline, and this year is no exception. Join us in the coming months for some wonderful events, festivals and special programming…

On Sunday, April 10th at noon, Arnie the Doughnut author/illustrator Laurie Keller, will join us for a FREE meet-and-greet and book signing in the Lifeline lobby! We’ll have books on sale, along with cast recordings of this wonderful new musical.

Tickets for both the 11am and 1pm performances that day are going fast! Get yours today by calling the box office at 773-761-4477 or order online.

If you haven’t already heard, the Chicago Public Library has chosen Neverwhere as its Spring 2011 One Book, One Chicago selection, the 20th book in this remarkable program. There are all sorts of wonderful discussions, appearances, and conversations happening in conjunction with OBOC, including two appearances by Neil Gaiman himself (see here for the full list), but there’s one event we’re particularly excited about…

On Monday, April 11 at 6:00pm, the entire original cast from Lifeline’s spring/summer 2010 production of Neverwhere will reunite for one night only, to perform a full reading of the script and participate in a talkback with fans of the book. This is a FREE event, and it takes place at the Harold Washington Library (400 S. State Street), in the gorgeous Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. We hope to see you there!


Lifeline’s world premiere adaptation of Richard Adams’ beloved best-selling book is fast approaching. Previews begin April 29th, and the show runs through June 19th (full details here). Pre-sales for this highly-anticipated production are moving extremely fast – don’t miss out! Get your tickets today!

Lifeline is thrilled to announce an expansion to our Summer Drama Camp (now entering its 11th year!). Our dazzlingly popular camp will not only serve kids ages 7-11 as usual (July 18-29), but will now offer a week-long program for 4-6 year olds (July 11-15)! Click here for all the details, and to register your children.

Expanding its dedication to the art of storytelling in all its forms, Lifeline Theatre is thrilled to produce the fifteenth annual Fillet of Solo Festival, a three-week, multi-venue solo performance festival running July 21-August 7, 2011. Participants, scheduling and full pricing details will be announced in early April. Check our website soon for updates!

This popular festival (now entering its 10th YEAR) features arts and crafts, theater, music, food and drink for the whole family on the brick streets of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Chicago’s historic Rogers Park neighborhood. GAAF 2011 will take place the weekend of August 19-21, and is FREE for the whole family! More details will be available soon at

Mile of Murals

Our Education Director (and local artist) Lea Pinsky and her husband led the Mile of Murals project here in Rogers Park this past summer, a collaborative effort by 14 local artists. One of the artists, Paula Clayton (of Signature Mural & Finish) put together this video documenting their summer’s work. The Mile of Murals is a continuing project for the Rogers Park Community – find out more about it by visiting or contacting the Rogers Park Business Alliance

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


Benefit 2010:  The Floating Market

It was crazy ambitious.  We had just a few hours to install a Floating Market into the Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center.  And due to the masterminds on our team, it appeared like magic — just like in the book!  Thanks to Alan for bringing his experience and brilliance to the uber-design of the whole event.  He and Ian and Brandon Wardell each designed areas of the Market (Trinkets and Treasures!  Experiences and Explorations!  Dreams and Destiny!)  They transformed that room —  and the costume team of Meredith Crilly, Kat Doebler and Elizabeth Klein transformed the people of the Market as well.  Performances by The Space/Movement Project, Read My Hips and Pyrotechniq seemed to be spontaneous combustions emerging from our colorful world.  Further color was added by members of Steam Punk Chicago, who integrated seamlessly.  Roving storyteller, Chris Walsh, entertained clusters of listeners throughout the evening.  Musicians Alan Goldberg, Ken Monroe, Paul Gilvary, Curt Silvers, Bill Rush and Kate Nawrocki (with her entire Afterlife band, on loan from our friends at The Strange Tree Group) surrounded us with sound.

Christopher Hainsworth wrote a short framing story for the evening, which included our fearless Neverwhere director, Paul, as emcee, quickly interrupted by a hotly pursed damsel in distress.  Bodyguard Auditions were called to protect her and the fun began.  Fights were designed by R&D Choreography (who are also choreographing Neverwhere) with performances (and swordplay) by Sarah Rose Graeber, Matt Barels, Matt Kahler, Shane Hill, David Gregory and Richard Gilbert.

And did I mention the plentiful and yummy food and booze, which Malnati’s and Stephani’s totally allowed us to rename to theme it up?   You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten fingers of glory washed down with some Ratspeaker Sludge. Oh yeah.  It was a great night.

All of us at LIfeline are sending get-well wishes to Jessica Wright, who is recovering from a car accident.  Jessica is a former Lifeline intern and current Lifeline employee.   She is also a playwright, with a recent production of her short play, Under Ground, at Curious Theatre’s RhinoFest earlier this year.  Jessica also provided a short story performed for Lifeline’s April 19th benefit.   (It was an audience favorite — which is pretty impressive given that other short stories read were by Edgar Allan Poe, Neil Gaiman and Richard Adams!)  Jessica wears many hats at Lifeline.  She was serving as assistant director and assistant stage manager for our upcoming production of Neverwhere at Lifeline as well as frequently working front of house for us.  We are sad to be without her but glad that she is on the road to recovery.  We look forward to seeing her back at Lifeline soon.

Interns that Rock!
Lifeline Theatre welcomes two new shop interns, Andrew Lehmkuhl and Kathleen Weiss.  They join Meredith Crilly (Chicago Semester, Dordt College, Iowa) and Christopher Scholtens (Columbia) as they all make considerable contributions to the ambitious undertaking that is Neverwhere.

Andrew hails from Dubuque, Iowa and is a freshman theater major at Loyola University.  Andrew comes to us thru the Loyola Job Fair where he was looking for opportunities to work in the the Chicago theater community.  He is a hard worker and we’re thrilled he found us.  Andrew is going home for the summer but is hoping to return to LIfeline in the fall and work with us between his school projects.  We hope so too!

Kathleen Weiss will be a junior theater design major at Columbia this fall.  She spent the past two years at SE Missouri State, where she was pursuing a BFA in Theatre and working as a Resident Assistant, while also working full time in a library!  She is obviously a terrific multi-tasker!  Kathleen is looking forward to living in a more urban setting.  Ian found her at Porchlight Theater where he was doing a scenic design for Into the Woods.  He was impressed with her work and brought her back to Lifeline.  We look forward to having her with us for a good long while!

All four of our interns have been instrumental in making magic for our upcoming show.  Meredith (who also led the charge in organizing our costumes for our recent benefit) is assisting Elizabeth on costumes.   Chris, Andrew and Kathleen have been assisting Ian and Alan in creating the tunnels below London and other Neverwhere magic.  And Chris is now subbing in as board operator and stage hand until Jessica returns to town after her accident.  And is those projects weren’t enough, Meredith and Chris are collaborating on a costume he will wear as the character Darsh Schneider  from the Anime/Manga Bastard! at the upcoming Anime Central convention in mid-May.  You better believe I’ll get a picture of that when it’s finished!  Just wait.

Dorothy Milne
Artistic Director