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Dorothy Milne Dorothy Milne Artistic Director
Dorothy has been the Artistic Director of Lifeline Theatre since 1999 and an ensemble member since 1992. She has directed over twenty productions at Lifeline, receiving a Non-Equity Jeff Award (Direction) for Around the World in 80 Days in 2003; and Non-Equity Jeff Nominations (Direction) for Pistols for Two, Jane Eyre (for which she also received an After Dark Award), Strong Poison, and Gaudy Night. Outside of Lifeline, she directed Little Brother, Stardust, and No More Dead Dogs for Griffin Theatre. Previously, she received an Equity Jeff Nomination for her direction of Eleemosynary at Interplay Theatre Company. Dorothy is also involved in the Chicago storytelling scene: she has been writing and performing with the storytelling collective Sweat Girls for over 20 years, directs occasionally for 2nd Story, and at Lifeline leads The Lifeline Storytelling Project and co-curates The Fillet of Solo Festival.
Allison Cain Allison Cain Managing Director
Allison was the Executive Director of The Factory Theater from 2001-2008, and the Artistic Director of Studio 108 from 1991-1998. She received her training at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and Columbia College in Chicago and has worked almost exclusively on new work since 1990, in Los Angeles, Connecticut, Scotland and Chicago. Also an actor, Lifeline audiences will recognize Allison from her performances in Johnny Tremain, Crossing California, The Mark of Zorro, and Mariette in Ecstasy. She has also been seen in numerous productions with The Factory Theater, Mary-Arrchie, The Side Project, Griffin, Live Wire, and other fine theaters throughout the Chicagoland area over the past 21 years.
Robert Kauzlaric Robert Kauzlaric Marketing Director
Robert is a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble and has been working with the company since 2000. Before joining the Lifeline administrative staff in 2008, he spent nearly a decade in group sales and marketing in the hospitality industry. A published playwright, Robert has written more than a dozen theatrical adaptations which have been produced in nearly forty states around the U.S., as well as in Ireland, England, and Canada. His adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau received five Non-Equity Jeff Awards, including New Adaptation and Best Production; his adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere received the Non-Equity Jeff Award for New Adaptation; and his version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray was nominated for New Adaptation.
Erica Foster Erica Foster Operations Director
As Lifeline's Operations Director, Erica is in charge of all audience services and oversees the entire front-of-house staff. Erica has stage managed numerous MainStage productions at Lifeline, including Watership Down, Neverwhere, Treasure Island, The Mark of Zorro (both the original production and the remount at Theatre Building Chicago), Queen Lucia: A Musical Romp (which she also assistant directed), Johnny Tremain, The Talisman Ring (2005), The Sirens of Titan, The Killer Angels, The Shadow, Around the World in 80 Days, Cat's Cradle and Cooking with Lard. For the KidSeries, she has stage managed Snowflake Tim's Big Holiday Adventure, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, and The Rescuers.
Lea Pinsky Lea Pinsky Education Director
Lea began her professional arts career in theatre by earning her BFA at NYU and acting on Broadway in the 1997 Tony-winning revival of A View From the Bridge. She then returned to Chicago to pursue an MA in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and transition her career to arts education. Over the last 10 years in Chicago, she has managed and taught youth arts programs with Columbia College Chicago, Urban Gateways, the City of Evanston, Chicago Humanities Festival, After School Matters, Art Encounter, and Steppenwolf Theatre. As a teaching artist, she focuses on murals and beautification projects for schools and community spaces.
Lavina Jadhwani Lavina Jadhwani Casting Director
Lavina was recently named Time Out Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director.” She is an Artistic Associate at Silk Road Rising (Ching Chong Chinaman, Gold Boy/Emerald Girl) and Oak Park Festival Theatre (Hamlet, Twelfth Night). She also served as the Artistic Director of Rasaka Theatre Company from 2007-2013, where she directed Much Ado About Nothing, the Chicago premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries, and directed and curated the Chicago premiere of Yoni Ki Baat (2009 & 2010) and culture/clash: the nation’s first fully-produced South Asian short play festival. She is a recipient of the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship, an SDCF Observership, an Illinois Board of Higher Education Fellowship, and an LMDA Residency Award. Jadhwani is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy; she will complete an MFA in Directing at The Theatre School at DePaul University in June 2015.
Joe Schermoly Joe Schermoly Technical Director
Joe has been the Technical Director at Lifeline for four seasons, during which time he has designed sets for The Mystery of the Pirate Ghost, A Tale of Two Cities, The City & The City, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Joe is also an ensemble member with the Griffin Theatre, where he has designed and built many sets including Titanic, Spelling Bee, Flare Path, Punk Rock, Port, and Constant Wife. His other design work includes productions with Theatre Wit (Seven Homeless Mammoths, Completeness), Sideshow (Stupid F***ing Bird, Idomeneus, The Ugly One) and Irish Theatre of Chicago (The Seafarer, Lay Me Down Softly). Joe studied set design at Northwestern University and has received two After Dark Awards and two Jeff Nominations. See more of his work at
Benjamin W. Dawson Benjamin W. Dawson Production Manager
Prior to coming to Chicago, Ben served as the Production Safety Coordinator with The Santa Fe Opera and as Art Director for several television series with networks like Discovery, PBS, MTV and VH1. In Chicago, Ben has served, among other things, as Production Manager for Sideshow Theatre Company, Pine Box Theater, and WildClaw Theatre; as Technical Director Haven Theatre and The Strange Tree Group; and as the Scene Shop Foreman at Goodman Theatre. In addition to his work with Lifeline, Ben is also an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre Company and the Assistant Technical Director for Lookingglass Theatre Company.
John Kelly John Kelly Master Electrician
John is very excited to be part of the Lifeline family. John works as a lighting designer and master electrician around Chicago. He studied lighting design at Columbia College Chicago and has been working in the city for 6 years. As a lighting designer, he has worked with numerous companies, including Sideshow Theatre, The New Colony, Theatre Wit, Prologue Theatre Company, Strawdog Theatre, WildClaw Theatre, and Eclipse Theatre Company. In 2014 he was nominated for a Non-Equity Jeff Award for his lighting design of Great Expectations at Strawdog Theatre Company, where he is also an ensemble member.
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