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Anna Karenina
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2017-18 Performances:
Arnie The Doughnut
Montauciel Takes Flight
Anna Karenina
You Think It's Easy Being The Tooth Fairy?
Fillet of Solo 2018
Concert Reading Series
Anna Karenina: Cast & Crew
Feb 16 – Apr 8, 2018
Thu & Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 4pm & 8pm, Sun at 4pm
Info | Cast & Crew | Program | Press | Calendar | Accessibility

Dan Cobbler Dan Cobbler (Stiva & ensemble)
Dan is proud to be black at Lifeline Theatre in 2018 and that is not a typo. He was last seen desperately trying to kill Shakespeare in Her Majesty’s Will. Other dope shows have included: Cymbeline (Strawdog Theater Company), 100 Hauntings (Free Street Theater), Julius Caesar (Brown Paper Box Co), Fugue for a Particle Accelerator (20% Theater), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oak Park Festival Theater). Dan has taught and performed in diverse arts educational programs with MPAACT, Teatro Vista and Valparaiso University. Dan holds puppies, grudges and an M.F.A. from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Lindsey Dorcus Lindsey Dorcus (Betsy & ensemble)
Lindsey is excited to work with Lifeline again after understudying in The Three Musketeers. She recently appeared as Rosalind Franklin in 20% Theatre's production of Photograph 51 and you can often catch her in Barrel of Monkeys' weekly revue, That's Weird, Grandma. Other local credits include work with Filament Theatre (The Van Gogh Cafe, Cyrano, The Monster in the Hall, and many others); The House (Diamond Dogs, The Magnificents); Strawdog; Manual Cinema; The Building Stage; and many others. She is a proud Company Member with both Barrel of Monkeys and Filament Theatre.
Eric Gerard Eric Gerard (Vronsky)
Eric is grateful to be working with Lifeline for the first time! Other Chicago credits include Akeelah and the Bee (Adventure Stage Chicago), King Liz (Windy City Playhouse), Octagon (Jackalope), My Mañana Comes (Teatro Vista), The Paranoid Style in American Politics (First Floor Theater), and The Royale (American Theatre Co.) Eric is an Instructor, and proud graduate of THE ACADEMY, at BlackBox Acting. He is represented by Hayes Talent.
Gay Glenn Gay Glenn (Countess Vronskaya & ensemble)
Gay is honored to be working for the first time with Lifeline Theatre. She was last seen as Madam in Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet... with Organic Theatre. She has performed for professional theatre companies in Minnesota (Penumbra, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Pillsbury House); Missouri (Imaginary Theatre Company - part of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); and Illinois (The Artistic Home, Chicago Shakes, The Hypocrites, ETA Creative Arts, and Fleetwood Jourdain, among others). She holds an M.F.A. from Chicago College of Performing Arts and thanks Lifeline for yet another opportunity to grow.
Dan Granata Dan Granata (Levin & ensemble)
Dan is happy to once again be wintering at Lifeline, where he previously appeared in One Came Home, A Tale of Two Cities, Hunger, Mrs. Caliban, and Neverwhere. Work elsewhere in Chicago has included Arcadia, The Man Who Was Thursday, and Touch (New Leaf Theatre); The Master & Margarita (Strawdog Theatre); Becky Shaw (A Red Orchid Theatre); Under Milk Wood (Caffeine Theatre); Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Raven Theatre); and The League of Awesome (Factory Theater).
Aneisa Hicks Aneisa Hicks (Dolly & ensemble)
Aneisa is so excited about making her debut at Lifeline! Her most recent past credits include The House That Will Not Stand (Victory Gardens Theatre), The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil (Babes with Blades Theatre Company), The End of TV (Manual Cinema), and In To America (Griffin Theatre). Aneisa received her M.F.A. in Acting at the University of Iowa and is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Brandi Lee Brandi Lee (Kitty & ensemble)
Brandi is a theater graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a concentration in acting. Other recent credits include Akeelah and The Bee (Adventure Stage), Thumbelina (Lifeline Theatre), and the collaboration with DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology) on the devised piece, Terminal One. Brandi is a teaching artist all over the city and has worked with numerous organizations including FYI (For Youth Inquiry), Story Catchers, and Lifeline Theatre. She is currently the Education Associate/Internship Coordinator at the Goodman Theatre.
Jason Pereira Jason Pereira (Kapitonich & ensemble)
Jason is very happy to be making his Lifeline debut in this production. He was most recently seen in Six Characters in Search of an Author with Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre. Other credits include Jamie in Karaoke Night (Coffee & Whiskey Productions), Check Mates and Saganaki Serenade (Painted Pistachios Production, NYC). He recieved his Associates Degree with a focus on theatre at Harper College and studied at Black Box Studio.
Michael Reyes Michael Reyes (Karenin & ensemble)
Michael is very happy to return to Lifeline, having appeared as Stamford/Reginald in Miss Holmes. Other credits: Gary in Night Season and Cornelius/Philario in Cymbeline (Strawdog); Turv in Captain Steve’s Caring Kingdom and Neville in Born Ready (Factory); Nick in Mutt (Stage Left); Sebastian in Animals Commit Suicide (First Floor); and more. He's also played with other great companies, here and gone, including Theo Ubique, Chicago Opera Vanguard, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Muse of Fire, About Face, Backstage, 20 Percent, Next, Organic/Touchstone. Much gratitude to Amanda for this opportunity – and many thanks to you for coming out to see us!
Michele Stine Michele Stine (Seryohza & ensemble)
Michele is very excited to be making her Lifeline Theatre debut. Other Chicago credits include: Jill in Mother Goose’s Garden (Emerald City Theatre); Martha Washington in The American Revolution (Theatre Unspeakable); Chorus in Little Red Cyrano (Red Theatre Chicago); Karen Trout in Crime Scene: The Next Chapter (Collaboraction). Regional credits include: Snout in The Magical Mind of Billy Shakespeare (Illinois Shakespeare Festival). Michele received a B.S. in Acting and Political Science from Illinois State University. She is an ensemble member with Theatre Unspeakable
Ilse Zacharias Ilse Zacharias (Anna)
Ilse makes her Lifeline Theatre debut. Chicago credits include: Nayeli in Into the Beautiful North (16th Street Theater); Miranda (u/s) in The Wolf at the End of the Block(Teatro Vista); Lisa/Becky/Debbie in The Heidi Chronicles (Cuckoo’s Theater Project); Petruchio (u/s) in Shrewish (Artemisia). She has also worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Court Theater, Something Marvelous, Cold Basement Dramatics, and The Bridge Theatre. Television credits include The Exorcist on FOX. Ilse received her B.F.A. in Acting from Roosevelt University and is proudly represented by Actors Talent. Future projects include The Madres at Victory Gardens produced by Teatro Vista.
Ashley Agbay Ashley Agbay (Understudy)
Ashley is very excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the first time as a part of Anna Karenina. Most recently, she appeared in Our Town (Redtwist Theatre) and the world premiere of Mona Mansour's Unseen (The Gift Theatre). Other Chicago credits include Fefu and Her Friends (Halcyon Theatre), At the Center (The Agency), and Collaboraction’s final Sketchbook Festival. Originally from Massachusetts, Ashley is a proud graduate of Boston University.
Diana Coates Diana Coates (Understudy)
Diana last worked with Lifeline on The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! and was most recently seen in Griffin Theatre’s touring production of Letters Home. Other Chicago credits: The House That Will Not Stand (Victory Gardens); Winter's Tale (First Folio); Henry V, Titus Andronicus, and Julius Caesar (BWBTC); Commons of Pensacola (Northlight); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Piccolo); Much Ado About Nothing (Rasaka). Regional credits: Blues for An Alabama Sky (African Continuum, DC); Harlem 9/11 (Arc Theatre, DC). Film/TV: Game Day, Chicago Fire. She is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Isabella Karina Coelho Isabella Karina Coelho (Understudy)
Isabella is thrilled to make her Lifeline Theatre debut! Select recent Chicago credits include: Coriolanus (Commission Theatre), Crossing 6 Corners (Filament Theatre), Lecherous Honey (Cock and Bull Theatre), The Good Person of Szechwan (Cor Theatre), A Charlie Brown Christmas (The Broadway Playhouse), Aesop’s Fables (Raven Theatre), The B.F.G. and Elephant and Piggie: We are in a Play (The Apollo Theatre.) Isabella has been a Staff Artist at Free Street Theater since 2013, and is a proud graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Zoë DePreta Zoë DePreta (Understudy)
Zoë is thrilled to be working on her first show at Lifeline Theatre! Other Chicago credits include: Edith in May Day (Rhinofest 2018); Anna in An Alien Encounter (Paragon Theatre Festival), and served as a co-adaptor for Love In A Maze (Director's Haven 2016 and Rhinofest 2017). Zoë received her B.A. in Theater and Creative Writing from Oberlin College.
Blake Holen Blake Holen (Understudy)
Blake is incredibly excited to be working with Lifeline on Anna Karenina. Reasons include his interest in Russian literature and his love of Rogers Park. Other Chicagoland credits include Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play and Robert Livingston of New York in 1776. Blake is a graduate of Hastings College in Hastings, NE, and is a lifelong Cornhusker fan.
Rachel Mock Rachel Mock (Understudy)
Rachel is thrilled to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the first time! Rachel moved to Chicago two years ago after completing her M.F.A. at Ohio University. Her work in Chicago includes: Tight End (Darla) with 20% Theatre, and Henry V (Mountjoy/Nim/Michael Williams understudy) with Babes with Blades. Out of town favorites include: Brighton Beach Memoirs (Kate), Metamorphoses (various), Lysistrata (Lysistrata), An Enemy of the People (Catherine), Cinderella Waltz (Reagan), Necessary Targets (Zlata), reasons to be pretty (Steph), as well as two years (and fourteen shows!) touring with the Columbus Children’s Theatre. See more at
Bruce Phillips Bruce Phillips (Understudy)
Bruce is an actor and improviser in Chicago. He is an ensemble member of ComedySportz Chicago and has performed at the Annoyance Theatre in Trigger Happy (directed by Mick Napier), The Boy Scout Musical, Burlesque is More, and My So Called After-Life. He is a performer and executive director of Hitch*Cocktails (named Best Improv Troupe in Chicago by the Chicago Reader) and performs in Clued In - The Improvised Murder Mystery. In addition, Bruce directs and performs with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and performed in the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray aboard the largest cruise ship in the world. Bruce is a Non-Equity Jeff Award winner for Artistic Specialization for his work designing the robots in Heddatron at the Steppenwolf Garage in 2011 for Sideshow Theatre Company, where he is an artistic associate and former staff member.
Roy Samra Roy Samra (Understudy)
Roy is beyond excited to be making his debut with Lifeline Theatre. Some of his favorite Chicago credits include: Barney the Elf (Other Theatre); The Civility of Albert Cashier, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (Pride Films & Plays); Seussical, Hairspray, Peter Pan, A Little Princess (Windy City Performs); and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Polarity Ensemble Theatre). You can also catch him in Lifeline's upcoming production of Neverwhere. Roy is a proud Oklahoma City University graduate with a B.F.A. in Acting.
Jessica Wright Buha Jessica Wright Buha (Adaptor)
A proud member of Lifeline's artistic ensemble, Jessica's previous adaptions include Lyle Finds His Mother, One Came Home, Sparky!, and A Child's Christmas in Wales. Locally, her writings have been performed by the Goodman Theatre (The Things Above, New Play Bake-Off 2014), Filament Theatre Ensemble (Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Portage Park), WildClaw Theatre (Alabama Mermaid, winner, Deathscribe 2011), and the Plagiarists (War Song, Ulysses, Circle House). Internationally, her adaptation of Sparky! was produced by the National Children's Theatre, Johannesburg, in December 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago, and the mother of a wonderful son.
Amanda Link Amanda Link (Director)
Amanda joined the Lifeline ensemble in 2013. She directed Sparky!, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! and has appeared in Click, Clack, Boo! A Tricky Treat; Duck For President; How To Survive A Fairy Tale; Dooby Dooby Moo; and Half Magic. She also writes and performs with the Lifeline Storytelling Project. She choreographed and assistant directed The Emperor's New Threads, assistant directed and did movement design for The City & The City, and assistant directed One Came Home and Pride and Prejudice. Other credits include work with Factory Theater, Griffin Theatre, and The Mill.
Colleen Schuldeis (Stage Manager)
Colleen is excited to be stage managing this adaptation of Anna Karenina. A graduate of Kalamazoo College, Colleen has spent the last two years apprenticing at The Purple Rose Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Past stage management credits include Hellcab, Hir, Monster, The Fundamentals, Romeo and Juliet, Mornings at Seven, The Odd Couple, and Cloud 9. She would like to thank her parents, mentors, friends, and fellow company members.
Eric Backus Eric Backus (Original Music/Sound Designer)
is excited to return to Lifeline after working on Arnie the Doughnut, A Wrinkle In Time (Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination), and Northanger Abbey. Recent sound design and composition credits include Yerma (Theatre Y), Becky Shaw (Windy City Playhouse), Beauty’s Daughter (American Blues Theater), The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), and The Assembled Parties (Raven Theatre). Eric also designed the Off-Broadway and touring productions of SoloChicago Theatre’s Churchill, and the Chicago and LA productions of Thrones! A Musical Parody. To hear more of his music, please visit
Abigail Cain Abigail Cain (Properties Designer)
Abigail is very excited to be making her Lifeline debut. She is a freelance prop master/designer and prop artisan. Abigail’s Chicago credits include A Hedda Gabbler (Red Tape Theatre), American Hwangap (A-Squared/Halcyon), The Nether (A Red Orchid Theatre), Picnic (American Theatre Company), and Great Expectations (Silk Road Rising/Remy Bumppo). This summer, she was the Prop Master at The Cape Playhouse for their 2017 season. Abigail is a graduate of Viterbo University where she earned a B.F.A. in Theatre.
Savannah Clements Savannah Clements (Assistant Stage Manager)
Savannah is delighted to make her Lifeline debut! A recent Theatre Design graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Savannah has stage managed numerous productions at both UIC and Wheaton College. She has also stage managed at Muse of Fire for two consecutive seasons, and more recently stage managed Par for the Corpse as well as It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Oil Lamp Theater. Upcoming credits include a return to Oil Lamp to stage manage Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Special thanks to Colleen Schuldeis and Jennifer McClendon. Savannah is so grateful for the love and support of her friends and family.
Stephanie Díaz Stephanie Díaz (Puppet Designer)
Stephanie last designed puppets for Lifeline’s Thumbelina. Other recent credits include The Life of Galileo at Remy Bumppo and The Long Christmas Ride Home at Strawdog (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination), as well as puppets for Lookingglass, Cock and Bull, and A Red Orchid, among others. Her critically-acclaimed full-length piece, Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych, opened the 2015 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, enjoyed two successful runs at 16th Street Theater, and was part of the 2017 Chicago International Physical Festival. She is a founding member of The Chicago Inclusion Project and a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.
Diane D. Fairchild Diane D. Fairchild (Lighting Designer)
Diane is a Chicago-based freelance lighting designer. Recent area credits include work with Theatre Wit, Mudlark Theatre, Raven Theater, and Wilmette Parks District. Diane recently became a proud ensemble member of Lifeline, and she is happy to now call this company her artistic home.
Kasey Foster Kasey Foster (Movement Designer)
Kasey is a performer, choreographer, producer, and director. She is an artistic associate at Lookingglass Theatre, a member of Actors' Equity, and is represented by Gray Talent Group. Most recently, she was seen on stage in Manual Cinema's Mementos Mori, and touring the country with Lookingglass' Moby Dick. Foster sings with Chicago bands: Grood, Babe-alon 5, Old Timey, This Must be the Band, and a mysteriously nameless private events band. She has created over forty original works, and produces an annual series called Dance Tribute. For more about Kasey, check out
Izumi Inaba Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer)
Izumi is delighted to return to Lifeline, where she designed The City & The City, Lions in Illyria, Miss Buncle’s Book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Thumbelina, and A Wrinkle In Time. Her recent design credits include The Crucible (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); The Who and The What, Animal Farm (Milwaukee Rep); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (SS! Chicago Shakes). She is a recipient of Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, and a resident designer at Albany Park Theater Project. M.F.A. in Stage Design, Northwestern University.
Joanna Iwanicka Joanna Iwanicka (Scenic Designer)
Joanna is a set designer and a scenic artist. This marks her second MainStage design at Lifeline (proceeded by Monstrous Regiment). She also designed sets for the KidSeries (The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, Sparky!, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, to name a few), props (A Room with the View) and puppets (Watership Down, Dooby Dooby Moo, The Last of the Dragons, among others). Joanna is an artistic associate of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and 16th Street Theatre of Berwyn. She is also a member of IATSE locals 829 and 476. For more information visit
Zev Valancy Zev Valancy (Dramaturg)
Zev is excited to be making his Lifeline debut with Anna Karenina. He is the Co-Literary Manager at Stage Left Theatre, where he oversees new play programming, including founding and running the Downstage Left Playwright Residency. Dramaturgy credits at Stage Left include What of the Night?, Mutt, Principal Principle, and Rabbit. Other dramaturgy credits include Quiz Show (Strawdog) and Marat/Sade (The Right Brain Project). Thanks to Jess, Amanda, and the whole Lifeline team for the opportunity, and Adam for everything else.
Emily Wills Emily Wills (Assistant Director)
Emily is a proud member of Lifeline's front of house staff, and is thrilled to be back in the rehearsal room Assistant Directing Anna Karenina after previously assisting with the 2016 production of Miss Holmes. Emily is a graduate of Northwestern University, with a BA in Theatre and Certificate of Civic Engagement. Emily can also be found teaching young actors and improvisors in Evanston and Chicago, storytelling with the Lifeline Storytelling Project, and Audio Describing Lifeline's MainStage and KidSeries productions.

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