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Anna Karenina (2018)
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Lifeline Theatre's 2018-19 Season

Join us for our 36th season of BIG STORIES, UP CLOSE!

It’s a year of unforgettable stories brought to life, from beloved classics to thrilling modern titles.

The 2018-19 MainStage season features a world premiere adaptation of the psychological thriller Frankenstein, followed by an adaptation of the absurdist satire The Man Who Was Thursday, and concludes with a world premiere adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy Emma.

The KidSeries season opens with the suspense and silliness of Bunnicula; followed by the heartwarming tale of friendship and sacrifice, We Found A Hat; and concludes with the action and adventure of The Time Warp Trio.

Additionally, Lifeline Theatre will produce the 22nd Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, a three-week, multi-venue solo performance and storytelling festival; and the 2018-19 Concert Reading Series.

Call 773-761-4477 or click here for more information about subscriptions. Click here to subscribe online!


September 7 – October 28, 2018

A world premiere based on the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric
Directed by Paul S. Holmquist

When an unexpected death shatters her family, Victoria retreats into the darkest recesses of her psyche in search of a way forward. To find meaning in this impossible loss, she brings a terrible creation to life – one whose existence threatens all hopes for the future. Haunted and hunted at every turn, Victoria must endure a nightmare journey of the soul in a quest for survival. Grapple with the demons of grief and denial in this world premiere adaptation of the 1818 thriller by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, ensemble members Robert Kauzlaric and Paul S. Holmquist, creators of 2007’s The Island of Dr. Moreau (Non-Equity Jeff Award: Best Production–Play), return to the world of dark psychological suspense.

The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday
February 15 – April 7, 2019

Based on the novel by G. K. Chesterton
Adapted by Bilal Dardai
Directed by Jess Hutchinson

A shadowy cabal of anarchists has risen in London and Scotland Yard is determined to bring them down. When Gabriel Syme joins the undercover detail tasked with infiltrating the anarchists’ operations, he soon finds himself sitting on their Supreme Council with the code name “Thursday.” But as Syme unearths the Council’s true nature, it becomes clear that no one in this battle between law and chaos is as they seem, and that Scotland Yard may have created the very problem they’re trying to solve. Challenge all assumptions and uncover the truth in this absorbing adaptation of the 1908 satire by G. K. Chesterton.

Ensemble member Bilal Dardai and former New Leaf Theatre Artistic Director Jess Hutchinson return to a project they first mounted at New Leaf Theatre in 2009 (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Adaptation), re-exploring this absurdist tale of identity and intrigue for a new decade.


May 24 – July 14, 2019

A world premiere based on the novel by Jane Austen
Adapted by Phil Timberlake
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric

After a successful experiment in matchmaking, Emma Woodhouse is convinced she can do no wrong. So the high-spirited socialite inserts herself in the love lives of everyone around her, meddling despite their wishes, and leaves a tangle of heartbreak in her wake. To restore happiness to her fractured world, Emma must swallow her pride and learn to value the needs of others over her own desires. Navigate the blunders of the heart in this world premiere adaptation of the 1815 romantic comedy by Jane Austen.

Making his Lifeline playwriting debut, ensemble member Phil Timberlake joins ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric, director of 2012’s Pride and Prejudice and 2016’s Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Best Production–Musical), for a fresh, intimate look at this beloved Austen romp.


October 20 - November 25, 2018

Adaptation and lyrics by James Sie
Music by Doug Wood
Directed by Anthony Kayer
Based on the book by Deborah and James Howe
Print book originally published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

At a showing of Dracula one dark and stormy night, the Monroe family discovers an abandoned rabbit. When they bring him home, resident know-it-all Chester the cat suspects the worst after spying gleaming fangs in the bunny’s mouth. And as vegetables start turning up mysteriously drained of their juices, even easygoing Harold the dog wonders if they have a supernatural menace on their hands. Brave the night and dare to embrace our differences in this musical adaptation of the 1979 book by Deborah and James Howe.

Ensemble member Anthony Kayer makes his Lifeline directorial debut with this revival of our hit adaptation of the family favorite by emeritus ensemble member James Sie (A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins) and Doug Wood.

We Found A Hat

We Found A Hat
January 12 - February 17, 2019

Adapted by Jessica Wright Buha
Directed by Manny Tamayo
Based on the book by Jon Klassen
Print book originally published by Candlewick

Deep in the desert, two tortoises find each other and become the best of friends. Together, they tackle all the obstacles the landscape can throw their way… until one day they find a hat. They both look great in the hat. But they can’t both have the hat. A fledgling friendship is put to the test as the tortoises must find a way through their thorniest challenge yet. Explore the question of what we give up to support the ones we love in this adaptation of the 2016 book by Jon Klassen.

The Time Warp Trio

The Time Warp Trio
March 16 - April 20, 2019

Adapted by Frances Limoncelli
Directed by Heather Currie
Based on the book series by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
Print book originally published by Puffin Books

When Joe receives a magical book for his birthday, he and his pals are unexpectedly hurled across time and space. They first arrive in Camelot, a land menaced by an evil knight, a terrible giant, and a fire-breathing dragon. With quick thinking and a dash of courage the newly formed “Time Warp Trio” manages to survive, but the mysterious Book soon thrusts them into further adventures – each more challenging than the last! Save the day with wit and bravery in this adaptation of stories from Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Time Warp Trio series.

Ensemble member Frances Limoncelli (multiple Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning adaptor) and ensemble member Heather Currie (You Think It’s Easy Being The Tooth Fairy?, Fable-ous!) partner for the first time to bring this lively tale of action and adventure to life

The 2018-19 Lifeline Concert Reading Series
Cooking With Lard: July 18, 2018
A Child's Christmas in Wales and A Christmas Memory: December 5, 2018
Love’s Labours Lost: March 20, 2019

Tickets: $75; $50 for Lifeline subscribers.

Lifeline continues one of its favorite traditions with another season of concert readings. This year’s roster features:

The Southern Gothic comedy Cooking With Lard by Cindy Hanson and Cheryl Norris on July 18, directed by ensemble member Frances Limoncelli and featuring four actresses (including Lifeline Artistic Director Dorothy Milne) playing 15 characters.

A holiday pairing of ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha’s adaptation of A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, and a reading of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (read with permission of the Truman Capote Literary Trust) on December 5, directed by ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric.

William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Love’s Labours Lost on March 20, 2019, directed by ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric and featuring several ensemble members playing opposite their real-life spouses (including Jenifer Tyler and Peter Greenberg, Katie McLean Hainsworth and Chris Hainsworth, and more).

All readings will feature numerous Lifeline ensemble actors and returning favorites.

Each evening begins at 6 p.m. with a light supper plus beer and wine (aned conversation with the cast and Lifeline ensemble). At 7 p.m., the performances start. (Script times vary, but are approximately two and a half hours in length.) Afterwards, coffee and dessert will be served.

Only 108 tickets will be sold for each performance. Tickets can only be ordered by calling the Lifeline Box Office at 773-761-4477.

The 22nd Annual Fillet of Solo Festival
January 18 - February 2, 2019
Tickets: $10 per performance; Festival Pass: $50

Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline brings more than a dozen storytelling collectives and numerous solo performers together for a three-week, multi-venue selection of powerful personal stories.

Participants, locations, scheduling, and full details for the 2019 Fillet of Solo Festival will be announced Fall 2018

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