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The Count of Monte Cristo: Cast & Crew
September 9 – October 30, 2011

Don Bender (Caderousse/Abbe Faria)
Don previously appeared at Lifeline in The Mark of Zorro and The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was most recently seen as Sherlock Holmes in Sign of the Four at City Lit, where he also played the detective in The Hound of the Baskervilles and Holmes and Watson. Other recent credits include Frost/Nixon (TimeLine Theatre), Dancing at Lughnasa (Seanachaí Theatre Company), The Little Foxes (Shattered Globe Theatre), Our Enemies (Silk Road Theatre Project), One Fine Day (Stage Left Theatre), and The Night Season (Vitalist Theatre). He received a Joseph Jefferson Nomination for his performance in City Lit’s production of Old Times. Over the course of the last 25 years he has worked with such companies as Writers Theatre, Next Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Circle Theatre, The Hypocrites, and many others.
Dana Black (Hermine)
Dana is thrilled to be making her Lifeline debut. She was recently seen in Theatre Seven’s The Chicago Landmark Project and Caffeine Theatre’s Wreckage, directed by Joanie Schultz. Other Chicago credits include Bordello (Chicago Dramatists); Dental Society Midwinter Meeting (At Play Productions/Chicago Dramatists); Baal (TUTA); Wild Nights with Emily (Caffeine Theatre); Two by Pinter (Piven Theatre); Pangs of the Messiah (Silk Road Theatre); Beauty on the Vine (BackStage Theatre); The Permanent Way (New Leaf Theatre); Dona Rosita (Caffeine Theatre); This Happy Breed (TimeLine). She has understudied at Steppenwolf, The Goodman and Victory Gardens and is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf. Dana is a voiceover artist with Naked Voices, Inc. and an Artistic Associate with Caffeine Theatre. She will be appearing in Next Theatre’s production of After the Revolution directed by Kimberly Senior in the spring of 2012.
Chris Daley (Albert)
Chris has previously appeared at Lifeline as Blackberry in Watership Down. Additional Chicago credits: It’s a Wonderful Life and Letters Home at Fox Valley Rep; A Perfect Wedding, directed by Joanie Schultz (Circle Theatre); My Fair Lady and Fast Forward Tour (About Face Theatre); Momentary Opera Spectacle and Last of My Species II (Redmoon Theatre); and Talk Radio (The State Theatre), among others. Regional: two seasons with the Red Barn Summer Theatre of Indiana. Chris received a BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently studies with Allen Gilmore.
John Ferrick (Danglars)
This marks John's tenth show with Lifeline, after last popping in for one night in Watership Down. Lifeline credits: Treasure Island, Flight of the Dodo, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Talking It Over, The Mark of Zorro, The Killer Angels, The Return of the King, and The Two Towers. A proud Ensemble Member of Strawdog Theatre, John's credits there include: Conquest of the South Pole, Red Noses, Old Town, Three Sisters, Marathon '33, Tooth of Crime, Julius Caesar, Fuddy Meers, Knives in Hens, The Green Bird, and Our Country's Good. Highlights of past Chicago credits include: The Hypocrites (Cabaret), Stage Left (Kingsville), The Side Project (The Artist Needs a Wife), About Face (inaugural production of Dream Boy), The Goodman (Arcadia), and A Crew of Patches, where he is a company member (Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet). A member of both SAG and AFTRA, John holds a BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Chris Hainsworth (Edmond)
A Lifeline ensemble member since 2010, Chris was last seen as the Marquis de Carabas in Lifeline's Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning production of Neverwhere. Other Lifeline credits include Israel Hands/Captain Flint in Treasure Island and Oliver in Talking it Over. Other Chicago credits include Mott in The Artist Needs a Wife at the side project; Sheriff Raven in The Dreams in the Witch House with WildClaw; Robbie in Scenes from the Big Picture with Seanachaí; and Scotty in Old Town (After Dark Award: Best Musical), Mike in A Lie of the Mind, Ruddy in Marathon '33 (Non-Equity Jeff Award: Ensemble), Det. Dakis in Detective Story (Non-Equity Jeff Awards: Production & Ensemble) and Marcus Brutus in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, amongst many others at Strawdog, where he is an Emeritus Ensemble member. In 2009 Chris won the coveted Bloody Axe Award in WildClaw Theatre's DeathScribe Festival for his piece Remembrance. He is also adapting Lifeline's second MainStage show of the 2011-12 season: Hunger, based on the debut novel by Elise Blackwell.
Susaan Jamshidi (Haydee)
Susaan returns to Lifeline after appearing in The Blue Shadow. This summer, she performed with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival in Much Ado, The Winter’s Tale, and Tartuffe. Other regional credits include The Arabian Nights at Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep, and Lookingglass, directed by Mary Zimmerman; The Crucible with Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Young Company, directed by Timothy Douglas; and several readings at the Goodman Theatre including Yasmina’s Necklace, directed by Henry Godinez. Other Chicago credits include The Arab-Israeli Cookbook (Theatre Mir), Skin in Flames and Spare Change (Stage Left), Terman Vox Machina (Oracle Theatre), and work with The Inconvenience. Susaan received her MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and is represented by Gray Talent Group.
Robert Kauzlaric (Villefort)
Robert is a proud member of Lifeline Theatre’s artistic ensemble. As an actor, he has appeared in fifteen productions on the Lifeline stage over the past twelve seasons, including The Return of the King, Around the World in 80 Days (Non-Equity Jeff Awards: Supporting Actor-Play and Ensemble), The Killer Angels, Strong Poison, A Room With A View, The Mark of Zorro (After Dark Award: Outstanding Production), Neverwhere, and Wuthering Heights. Other area acting credits include work with Seanachaí Theatre Co., Strawdog, Goodman Theatre, Greasy Joan & Co., The Hypocrites, City Lit, Circle Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory, New American Theater, Theatre at the Center, and the IL Shakespeare Festival.
Jesse Manson (Benedetto)
Jesse is pleased to be back at Lifeline. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare from Mary Baldwin College in association with the American Shakespeare Center. Jesse was recently seen as Dandelion and Kehaar in Lifeline's Jeff Recommended production of Watership Down and Owen in That Pretty, Pretty... or, The Rape Play at Charnel House Theatre. You might have also seen Jesse on his bike or on the lake path training for the Chicago marathon.
Cathlyn Melvin (Eugenie)
Cathlyn is delighted to make her Lifeline Theatre debut. She was most recently seen as Dale and Young Kate in Marisa Wegrzyn's Hickorydickory at Chicago Dramatists, and is currently part of an educational tour of Fractured Fairy Tales with GreatWorks Theatre Company. Regionally, Cathlyn has worked with the Milwaukee Rep, Youngblood Theatre Company, Two Weeks Productions, Prairie Fire Children's Theatre, and Milwaukee Shakespeare. Cathlyn is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency, LLC.
Jenifer Tyler (Mercedes)
Jenifer is a graduate of DePaul Theatre School and a Lifeline ensemble member since 2001. Most recently, at Lifeline, she was seen as Lady Julia in The Moonstone. She received a Non Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Actress in a Principle Role, for her portrayal of Jane in Jane Eyre, and a nomination for her performance as Harriet Vane in Gaudy Night. Jenifer directed The Velveteen Rabbit for Lifeline’s KidSeries. She is a member emeritus of the writing-performance group The Sweat Girls and a teaching artist with Lifeline’s CPS residency program.
James Anthony Zoccoli (Fernand)
James makes his Lifeline debut with this production. His autobiographical one-man comedy show Wiggerlover [whiteboy+blackdad=greyareas] debuted with the DCA Studio Theatre at the Chicago Cultural Center in February, 2010. Since then, he has presented his hysterical life story publicly in theaters and privately at schools all over the city; including a weekend at last year's Fillet of Solo Festival. His other pet project, The Game Show Show... & Stuff! was named Best Late Night by Chicago Magazine two years in a row and will begin an extended run at the Mercury Theatre this fall. Local stage credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare, Next, Live Bait, Noble Fool, Lakeside Shakespeare, Emerald City, Adventure Stage, and as an ensemble member of Strawdog Theatre Company. Recent film credits include The Express, Klya’s Law, and A Perfect Manhattan.
Scott T. Barsotti (Understudy)
Scott is a playwright and actor originally from Pittsburgh, PA. Scott made his Lifeline debut in the spring as Fiver in Watership Down. Scott was also recently seen in The Dream Journal of Doctor Jekyll with The Chicago Mammals and WildClaw Theatre’s Carmilla at the DCA Storefront Theater. Other Chicago credits include: Curious Theatre Branch, Victory Gardens, WNEP Theater, Collaboraction, and Pavement Group. Scott's plays include The Revenants, Jet Black Chevrolet, McMeekin Finds Out, Brewed, and The Body Snatcher, and have been seen in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and New Orleans; his newest play, Kill Me, will premiere with WildClaw Theatre in early 2012. Scott is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a company member of WildClaw Theatre and Curious Theatre Branch.
Rachel Renee (Understudy)
Rachel is thrilled to be working with Lifeline again after understudying for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type last season. In the Chicago area, Rachel has performed with the Lyric Opera, Light Opera Works, Theatre Building Chicago, and Bailiwick Repertory, among others. In addition to movie, TV, and commercial appearances, Rachel has sung all over the world, visiting all seven continents on Japanese and British cruise ships. She's sung with the Russian Folk Orchestra of Madison, WI; the Japanese Sakura Trio in Japan; and with West End Performer Anthony Stuart Lloyd in concert in England. Rachel is a member of NATS and the Chicago Cabaret Professionals.
Mandy Walsh (Understudy)
Mandy is thrilled to be working with Lifeline again after appearing in last spring's Watership Down. Other recent credits include Carmilla with Wildclaw Theatre, The Last Daughter of Oedipus with Babes with Blades, and The Ring Cycle with The Building Stage. She is a graduate of the theatre program at Columbia College and is also a continuing student at Black Box Acting Studio.
Christopher M. Walsh (Adaptor)
Chris has been a member of Lifeline Theatre’s artistic ensemble since 2010. He has been seen on the Lifeline stage in Watership Down, Neverwhere, Treasure Island, Busman’s Honeymoon, and The Mark of Zorro, and he will be back on stage next winter in Hunger. Other recent acting credits include Louis Slotin Sonata (A Red Orchid), Bloody Bess: A Tale of Piracy and Revenge (Backstage Theatre), Journey’s End (Griffin Theatre), and The Hound of the Baskervilles (City Lit). Chris is a continuing student at Black Box Acting Studio. The Count of Monte Cristo is Chris’ first credit as an adaptor.
Paul S. Holmquist (Director)
Paul has been a Lifeline ensemble member since 2006. Directing credits on Lifeline's Mainstage include The Moonstone, Neverwhere, Busman's Honeymoon, and The Island of Dr. Moreau (Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination: Director-Play). For Lifeline's KidSeries, he directed Flight of the Dodo and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and will direct the upcoming musical Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. Other directing credits include The Robber Bridegroom (Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination: Director-Musical) and The Constant Wife with Griffin Theatre Company, and Under Milk Wood with Caffeine Theatre. As an actor, Paul most recently appeared at Lifeline playing Hazel in Watership Down. Paul is a graduate of the BFA Acting program of The Theatre School at DePaul University and holds a Graduate Laban CMA from Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches and works.
Katie Adams (Stage Manager)
Katie is trhilled to return to Lifeline after stage managing last season's The Moonstone and the 2011 Fillet of Solo Festival. Other Chicago-area credits include productions with Steep Theatre, Roosevelt University, her alma mater, Northwestern University.
Aly Renee Amidei (Costume Designer)
Aly is pleased to return as a Costume Designer after designing Watership Down. Aly is the Costume and Makeup Coordinator at the College of Dupage. She is also an ensemble member at Strawdog Theatre, where she will be designing costumes for Old Times and Petrified Forest, and makeup for Duchess of Malfi this season. She is also the Artistic Director of Wildclaw Theatre, where she has designed the costumes for all of their shows and adapted their most recent play, J. Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla. She will be designing costumes for Wildclaw's next production, Scott T. Barsotti's Kill Me. You can also see the notoriously stage-shy Aly performing as a foley artist in Wildclaw's Deathscribe, our Fourth Annual Radio Play Festival on December 5th at the Mayne Stage right around the corner.
Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)
Cortney is happy to be returning for her fifth season with Lifeline after working on such productions as The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Mark of Zorro. Previous production management positions include the last four seasons at Strawdog Theatre, Ellen Under Glass with the House Theatre of Chicago, and One False Note with Plasticene. She currently serves as the Production Manager and General Manager at Strawdog Theatre, as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake (since 2004).
Christopher Kriz (Original Music & Sound Designer)
Chris works nationally as a composer and sound designer. In Chicago, he has designed over 200 productions for companies including Northlight, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, and TimeLine. Regional credits include the national tour of America Amerique (Jena Company) and the upcoming The Fall Of The House (Theatre Squared). Recent Chicago credits include Festen (Steep Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (First Folio), Around The World In 80 Days and Bad Dates (Fox Valley Rep), Educating Rita (Shattered Globe), and Bug (Redtwist). Upcoming productions include The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (Steppenwolf), Black Pearl Sings (Northlight), Cloud 9 (The Gift), and Old Times (Strawdog).
R&D Choreography: Richard Gilbert and David Gregory (Violence Design)
R&D Choreography is having a great time working with another incredibly talented team at Lifeline! R&D is a non-profit company founded by David Gregory and Richard Gilbert for the purpose of improving the power and effectiveness of Chicago area theatre through the art of violence design. Since 1997, R&D has choreographed fight scenes in over one hundred eighty productions, taught stage combat at universities, colleges, and workshops, and performed in professional theatre, live stunt shows, and film. They have designed violence for dozens of Chicago area theatres, including About Face, Apple Tree, ATC, Bailiwick, Blindfaith, Circle, First Folio, Griffin, National Pastimes, New American Theatre, Piven, Profiles, Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, Theo Ubique, Trapdoor, and Vitalist.
Joe Schermoly (Scenic and Properties Designer; Technical Director)
Joe is a set designer, technical director and painter and is very happy to be making his Lifeline set design debut after designing props for The Moonstone last year. His design work has been seen around Chicago at Griffin (No More Dead Dogs, Port, The Constant Wife), Strawdog (Master and Margarita, Richard III), Sinnerman Ensemble (Sweet Confinement), Eclipse (The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek) and more. He has also designed and built shows in London for The Finborough, Bush, and Gate theatres among others. Joe studied set design at Northwestern University and has received two After Dark Awards for his design work in Chicago. Upcoming work includes The Spirit Play with Strange Tree Company at the DCA and The Ugly One with The Sideshow Project.
Brandon Wardell (Lighting Designer)
This is Brandon’s third design at Lifeline, following The Moonstone and Mrs. Caliban. Brandon is an Ensemble member with Backstage Theatre Co, Adventure Stage Chicago, and is an Artistic Associate at Steep Theatre. Recent lighting designs include Three Days of Rain (BSTC), Pornography (Steep), And A Child Shall Lead (ASC), Aunt Dan and Lemon (BSTC), and the US Premier of Harper Regan (Steep). Scenic designs include Baal (TUTA), Holes (ASC), In Arabia We’d All Be Kings (Steep), and Dracula (Building Stage). Brandon earned his MFA from Northwestern University and is on Faculty at Northern Illinois University.


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