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How To Survive: Cast & Crew
January 7 – February 26, 2012

Illustration by Eamonn Donnelly

Heather Currie (Jack's Mom, Red's Grandma, Mama Bear, Witch, Goat Mom)
Heather is thrilled to be back at Lifeline! She spent the last three years "on the farm" in Click, Clack, Moo; Cows That Type; Dooby Dooby Moo; and before that as Pig in Duck for President. Favorite past credits include School House Rock Live!, The Taffettas, Nunsense, Spinning Into Butter, Frankie and Johnny In the Clare De Lune, and Godspell. Heather currently teaches in the Film Department at Columbia College and College of DuPage, and can be heard singing every Saturday night at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret.
Derek Czaplewski (Jack's Dad, Woodsman, Papa Bear, Hansel & Gretel's Dad, Goat Dad)
Derek returns to Lifeline after appearing as Farmer Brown in last year's remount of Click, Clack, Moo. Derek has also worked with Northlight Theatre, Stage Left Theatre, Piven Workshop, Circle Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Pegasus Players, and Emerald City, among others. He is also an ensemble member with Handbag Productions. By day, Derek is the Associate Artistic Director for Imagination Theater.
Amanda Link (Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Gretel, Little Goat)
Amanda is thrilled to be back at Lifeline ,where she has been seen in Dooby Dooby Moo, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Duck for President, and Half Magic. She is also a proud member of the Lifeline Storytelling Project. Next at Lifeline she will assistant direct Pride and Prejudice. She recently performed in Assignment #403 at High Concept Laboratories. Other Chicago credits include work with Griffin Theatre, the side project, The Mill, The Anatomy Collective, Inconceivable Theatre, and Sandbox Theatre Project. A proud graduate of the Conservatory Program at Second City, she has also performed in many sketch shows at Donny's Skybox.
Jacquis Neal (The Wolf, Baby Bear, Hansel, Beanstalk Jack, Troll)
Jacquis is very happy to be working with Lifeline Theatre again, after being the understudy for The 13 Clocks. Jacquis has worked with various theatres here in Chicago, including Adventure Stage Chicago, American Theatre Company, Halycon Theatre, and numerous others. He can also be seen in a few national commercials, including State Farm, Hasbro, and Airheads Candy. He’s a proud alumnus of Columbia College, and also proudly represented by Big Mouth Talent.
Nathaniel Niemi (Jack)
Nathaniel is excited to be back at Lifeline after playing Duck in Dooby Dooby Moo. Other recent credits include Phillipe in The Baker’s Wife at Circle Theatre and Jack in Into the Woods at Quest Theatre Ensemble. Other roles include Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Dewey in The Diviners, and Mortimer in The Fantasticks. Nathaniel is also a clown and performs in various revues around Chicago. This Spring, Nathaniel will be playing Wilbur in Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed here at Lifeline.
Peter J. Hegel (Understudy)
Peter is thrilled to be making his Lifeline debut with How to Survive a Fairy Tale. A recent graduate of Northwestern University and The School at Steppenwolf, he can be seen in Buzz22’s upcoming production Residue. Other Northwestern credits include The American Pilot, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Cherry Orchard, Arsenic and Old Lace, Tartuffe, and Copenhagen.
Blake McKay (Understudy)
Blake is grateful to be a part of such a fun production here at Lifeline. A few months ago, she graduated from Northwestern University where some of her favorite moments included performing in productions of Tartuffe, Three Sisters, and North Star. She also has been lucky enough to work with Steep Theatre and Dog & Pony Theatre Company here in Chicago.
Jeffrey Rubin (Understudy)
Jeffrey graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Acting and is terribly excited for this opportunity with Lifeline Theatre. Past performances include Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Gremio in Taming of the Shrew, and Father Flynn in Doubt.
James E. Grote (Playwright)
Jim joined the Lifeline artistic ensemble in 1999. This is his eleventh play for Lifeline, and his first original non-adaptation. His adaptation of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (music/lyrics by George Howe) has been produced around the country, most notably at Oregon Children’s Theatre in Portland and Dallas (Texas) Children’s Theatre. He has also adapted three of the sequels in the Click, Clack, Moo series, as well as C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair, Daniel Mason’s The Piano Tuner, and Amy Timberlake’s The Dirty Cowboy. Jim is also an actor, and has appeared at Lifeline in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; Around the World in 80 Days; and The Killer Angels, among other shows.
Shole Milos (Director)
Shole is a Lifeline ensemble member who has directed more than twenty KidSeries productions including last season’s Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (and the original production as well); Doobie Doobie Moo; Duck for President; and many others. For the MainStage, he has directed A Long Way From Chicago and has appeared in Mariette in Ecstacy and The Piano Tuner.
Ellen Willett (Stage Manager)
Ellen is glad to be "surviving" yet another KidSeries show. Her previous Lifeline Theatre credits include Click, Clack, Moo; Dooby Dooby Moo; Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; Duck for President; Talking It Over; Half Magic; Crossing California; Sophie’s Masterpiece; and Strong Poison. In addition, she has worked with Adventure Stage Chicago, The Inconvenience, Eclipse Theatre Company, Steep Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company, and many more. She also serves on the board of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a unique and vibrant music ensemble dedicated to advancing the music of our time.
Jana Anderson (Costume Designer)
Prior to coming to the United States, Jana made elaborate costumes for classical opera productions at the National Theater in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. She graduated from Fine Arts University where her interest in working on period pieces originated. For last decade she has been designing throughout the Chicago area, collaborating with numerous theatre groups and schools, including the Lyric Opera, Porchlight, Theatre at the Center, Light Opera Works, Redmoon, Loyola, and Northwestern University, to name a few. Jana supervises costume construction students at Roosevelt University and has loyal clientele in U.S. and Europe for whom she makes unique haute-couture garments.
Alan Donahue (Scenic Designer & Properties Designer)
Alan is a Lifeline ensemble member and veteran scenic designer for Lifeline's MainStage and KidSeries, having most recently designed Click, Clack, Moo; Wuthering Heights; Neverwhere; Treasure Island; and Dooby Dooby Moo. When not designing scenery or props he does the occasional lighting design (The Killer Angels, The Talisman Ring [2005]) or adaptation (Trust Me on This, Crossing California, Bongo Larry & Two Bad Bears, Sophie's Masterpiece). Recent designs elsewhere include An Enemy of the People for Stage Left Theatre and Carmilla for WildClaw Theatre. After How to Survive a Fairy Tale his attention shifts to The Fisherman for Stage Left Theatre at Theatre Wit.
Jordan Kardasz (Lighting Designer)
Jordan is excited to be working on her first kid’s show at Lifeline, having last assisted on Neverwhere and currently assisting on Hunger. Jordan has been designing lights around town with lots of folks including Strawdog Theatre, Sideshow Theatre Co, Urbantheatre, Factory, and Matter Dance. She has also assisted on shows with The Hypocrites, Next Theatre, and Adventure Stage. Recent credits include The Spirit Play with the Strange Tree Group and We Live Here with Theatre Seven. Jordan is an artistic associate with Sideshow and recently became an ensemble member with Strawdog.
Anthony Ingram (Sound Designer)
Anthony is very happy to be back at Lifeline after having most recently worked on the great and fun Click, Clack, Moo. Tony is the resident Sound Designer and Production Manager at Signal Ensemble Theatre and has worked on a majority of their productions since 2004, including East of Berlin & The Russian Play, Aces, 1776, Aftermath, The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe, and Seascape. He has also worked with other companies in the Chicagoland area including Shattered Globe Theatre, (The Old) Bailiwick, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, and The Right Brain Project. On a day-to-day basis Tony can be found at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago where he is a Technical Associate.
Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)
Cortney is thrilled to join the Lifeline team for the sixth season in a row. Previous production management positions include the last five seasons at Strawdog Theatre, where she PMed a variety of shows including The Master & Margarita, Red Noses, Cherry Orchard, Lie of the Mind, and Marathon ‘33; Ellen Under Glass with the House Theatre of Chicago; and One False Note with Plasticene. She currently serves as the General Manager of Strawdog Theatre.
Joe Schermoly (Technical Director)
Joe is a set designer, technical director and painter. His design work has been seen around Chicago at Lifeline Theatre (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Moonstone), 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.


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