Woohoo! Busman’s Honeymoon is a runaway train — extended thru July 26!
This is how many fans Dorothy L. Sayers has: Erica
posted a map in the box office and her team is coloring in all the locations we’ve had tickets purchased from — which now totals 19 states, plus Ontario — and, we’ve gone internationa
l! Arrows off the map point to audience members traveling in from Paris, Rome and Madrid! So seriously — we’re extended, but call ahead! We are so totally packed — even those added Thursdays are filling up fast. This is the fourth time Frances has adapted a Dorothy L. Sayers novel for stage at Lifeline and each one is more successful than the last. The show is delightfully staged by Paul
and features numerous Lifeline ensemble members as well (Peter
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle rocked – and it’s coming back for GAAF!
Recently closing, our final KidSeries show this season was also a sold-out hit. If you missed Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
(or if you want to see it again), you have another chance! We will perform a stripped down version of the show at Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, right in front of Lifeline! Showtimes at 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday August 22-23. You can check out all the entertainment for this year, along with video from past Fests at www.GlenwoodAve.org
Non-Equity Jeff Awards
It was a fun party on Monday night and the evening concluded at 9:50 pm, which has to be a new record. Which meant we all had to repair to a nearby bar. Lifeline came home with 4 awards:
- Scenic design: Alan, Mariette in Ecstasy
- Artistic Specialization: Geoff Coates, fight choreography, The Mark of Zorro
- Adaptation: Katie, The Mark of Zorro
- Sound design: Toy, The Mark of Zorro
A gazillion Jeff nominations!
Lifeline Theatre received 14 non-equity Jeff nominations this season, the most of any company. (And y’know who came in second? Our nearest neighbor — Theo Ubique. Oh yeah. The Glenwood Avenue Art District continues to take the world by storm!) In addition to the wins mentioned above, congratulations are also due for these nominations:
- Adapter: Rob for Dorian Gray, Christina for Mariette
- Director: Elise for Mariette
- Lead actress: Brenda Barrie for Mariette
- Lead actor: James Elly for Zorro
- Supporting actor: Paul for Dorian Gray
- Ensemble: Mariette
- Sound: Tim for Mariette
- Production: Zorro and Mariette
More kudos for ensemble away from home!
In addition to the nominations they received for work at Lifeline, ensemble members Elise (actress, On the Shore of the Wide World) and Paul (director, The Robber Bridegroom) are nominated for shows they did with our friends at Griffin Theatre! Congrats to all!
Both Paul & Katie touch on the nature of artistic ensembles in their recent blog posts, something I’ve been pondering myself lately. I consider the Lifeline ensemble truly fortunate, since the primary function of the group is to choose and develop the material we produce, not merely just to direct/design/act in it. We aren’t stuck having a season dictated to us by an outside person – we work together to uncover the passion projects we want to work on. We don’t take a “back seat” role in productions we aren’t directing/designing/acting in – we play a vital part in the development process, from early discussion through draft readings, rehearsal runs, and the preview process.
As an ensemble member at Lifeline, I feel a sense of pride and ownership in every show we produce, since my voice and ideas were heard by the production team at every step along the way. This is equally true for shows like The Picture of Dorian Gray (which I pitched to the group and wrote the adaptation for) as for shows like Mariette in Ecstasy or Duck for President, which I “only” experienced as an audience member. And while some seasons go by when I may not be cast in roles I would have liked to play, or when the other commitments of life preclude me from participating as much as I’d like in the development of a show or two, still those shows are as important to me as the ones I personally submitted for the ensemble’s consideration. As is sharing in the growth and development of each of my fellow ensemble artists – and the theatre as an institution.
Sean Sinitski, Nick Vidal & Paul S. Holmquist in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Photo by Lindsay Schlesser.
The Lifeline ensemble exists to tell stories. Sometimes, as a member of the ensemble, I’ll act in those stories. Sometimes I’ll write them. Once in a while, I may even direct them (as with the upcoming Treasure Island – gulp). But most of the time my job is to encourage, question, challenge, support, and nurture my fellow ensemble members as we work together to creatively share the stories that excite us, with the audience that means so much to us.
Good Lordypants. Closing three shows at once (Duck for Prez, Dorian Gray, Zorro at TBC) is totally like moving. You know that part of the move where everything you own is in chaos at your feet and you can’t find anything because you started to pack all organized but in the end everything was thrown into boxes you despairingly labeled “miscellaneous?” That’s where we’re at right now.
Meantime, Snowflake Tim and Flight of the Dodo are racing to the finish. Our experiment of running two kids shows over the holidays in tandem is about to launch. As the tech team sprints out of the basement with lumber and hangs lights from the grid, our intrepid production manager, Cortney Hurley, tells me that if any part of this enterprise takes longer than expected, the whole thing comes apart at the seams! It adds a nice thrill to the process.
Snowflake Tim rehearsals are a total ball. Diego Colon stars as Snowflake Tim and has a real gift for the improvisational audience interaction that is central to this play. Diego was a caballero/soldier in Zorro for the past 6 months and was also the alternate Duck in Duck for President. (Yes, that show was so darn popular we had to have two casts to cover the gazillion performances.) The remaining two Snowflake cast members are: Ezekiel Sulkes (who recently starred as “the Dirty Cowboy” in Lifeline’s adaptation of the book by the same name. One of Zeke’s several characters in Snowflake Tim is a Ninja who’s afraid to take a bath. Zeke points out that he is now two-for-two at Lifeline in playing characters who are stinky because they haven’t bathed and expects that our young audiences will remember him as the guy who smells bad. He’s also hilarious. Sarah Beckette is the third and last Snowflake Tim cast member. She is new to Lifeline. I saw her at a general audition a year ago and was totally smitten and have been trying to figure out when we could bring her in ever since. We are thrilled to have bagged her for this show.
So I’m totally jealous that Paul Holmquist apparently knows how to run a digital camera. Or else he has minions to shoot it for him. One way or another, he has a picture of the Flight of the Dodo flying machine with his blog entry. My blog entries want pictures too. I will either be learning to run a digital camera or finding a minion before my next post.
Look at us! We’re getting all bloggy! Can you even believe it? Welcome — and thank you for visiting our blog. As I type, I’m humming along with the Duck for President curtain call reprise that’s floating up from the stage below. I hear the school buses idling out front and hope we can get this group of kids out before the buses pull up to drop off the next load. (I’m glad Erica‘s downstairs to traffic cop the whole circus. She used to be a cheerleader, so she’s able to rally the armies of children and get them to do whatever she wants.) In the office next door — okay, it’s not next door, we’re basically all piled in a room together — but in her own little corner, our education director, Frances, is huddled with one of our teaching artists strategizing about about classroom activities at a neighborhood elementary school, while Angelo is between us, in his little corner, on the phone about our upcoming benefit. Just outside the office in the rehearsal room, the strange wrestling sounds I keep hearing have turned out to be our tech director, Ian, who is constructing a giant flying machine. Yes, it’s true. There will be a giant flying machine featured in our next kids’ show, The Flight of the Dodo. That may have been top secret. But this is the place to get the top secret poop. Oops. More secrets. There’s poop in the show too.
Dang, it’s been a busy fall. In addition to the gazillion Duck for President performances, The Picture of Dorian Gray was a boffo hit that extended. Plus we moved last summer’s hit, The Mark of Zorro, to Theatre Building Chicago on Belmont Avenue for a fall run there. And don’t get me started with the birthday parties and special events and off-school workshop days. But finally we wind down for a brief spell. Our next MainStage show, Mariette in Ecstasy, doesn’t open until February. Dorian closed on Sunday — sold out thru the very last show. Zorro will close this coming Sunday (after 93 performances) and then we’ll bust it up and drag all the salvageable pieces back to Lifeline. Ah, it will be good to be home under one roof rather than scattered all across town.
So welcome to our blog! I hope you will visit us often and we will keep you up to date on our backstage antics, dilemmas and general hilarity. Right now, I have to go to my Snowflake Tim rehearsal. Oh criminy. That reminds me. Flight of the Dodo is NOT our next kids’ show. It’s Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday Adventure. That’s a title we came up with a few years ago when we decided we needed a non-denominational holiday kids show. And who would think that plan would have worked out? But Christina took that title written on a cocktail napkin and wrote the play and it is GREAT, cuz she’s a genius. It’s funny, heartwarming, lots of audience participation. So we bring it back every couple years over the holidays. So — Snowflake Tim will open first and then Dodo a week later and then they’ll be in rep. Yes, in rep. Back-to-back shows right after each other on our little stage with different sets and different casts and not much time in between… What the heck. Who made this schedule? Does no one proofread the calendar? What were we thinking? I mean — What a bold new experiment! And with the team we’ve got over here and the production teams on these shows, I have high hopes we’ll be able to work miracles, as usual.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it works out for us . . .