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Lester's Dreadful Sweaters
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2015-16 Performances:
Miss Buncle's Book
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Midnight Cowboy
Lester's Dreadful Sweaters
Northanger Abbey
Fillet of Solo 2016
Concert Reading Series
Lester's Dreadful Sweaters: Cast & Crew
March 19 – April 24, 2016 (No performances Easter Sunday, March 27)
Saturdays & Sundays at 11am & 1pm
Info | Cast & Crew | Press | Calendar | Study Guide
Illustration by K.G. Campbell

Sam Button-Harrison Sam Button-Harrison (Lester)
Sam is thrilled to be performing in his first Lifeline production. Some favorite Chicago theatre credits include: Book of Merman (Aaron) for which he received a Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination, WOZ: A Rock Cabaret (Tinman), Assassins (Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), and Under a Rainbow Flag (Jon Phillips). Outside of theatre he also performs in the acapella group, No Big Deal. Thank you to the Lester team for putting together this goofy, awesome production, and also to Nicky for all her love and support. Enjoy the show!
Elizabeth Levy Elizabeth Levy (Cousin Clara, Enid)
Elizabeth is thrilled to be making her Lifeline debut. She is proud to have appeared with many Chicago theater companies, including Dog and Pony, the Factory, the House Theatre of Chicago, InGen Productions, Red Tape, Steppenwolf, and Strawdog. Elizabeth is the Program Director and a company member of Barrel of Monkeys, and she performs regularly in their critically-acclaimed show That's Weird, Grandma, now in its 15th year at the Neo-Futurist Theater.
Amanda Roeder Amanda Roeder (Mother)
Amanda is overjoyed to work with Lifeline Theatre once again! Other Lifeline credits include Mr. Poppers Penguins, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, and The Emperor's New Threads. Amanda has worked with Factory Theatre, Interrobang Theatre Project, Rivendell Theatre, the Plagiarists, City Lit, Nothing Special Productions, Hubris Productions, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, and Circle Theatre. Amanda received her BA in acting from Illinois State University and has completed Studio training at Black Box Acting Studio. Many thanks to Heather for this opportunity and to the incredible Lester and Lifeline team!
Scott Sawa Scott Sawa (Father)
Scott is ecstatic to be working with Lifeline! Credits include: Ten Dollar House (Pride Films and Plays); Nightmare in Paradise, Fight Night, The Most Ado: A Party Play, Breathing Up (Nothing Special Productions); Monday Night Live (iO); Hey! Dancin! Hey! Musical! (The Factory Theater); The Cherry Orchard (Piccolo Theater); Poseidon! (Hell in a Handbag). Web: RedLine to Howard. When not acting, Scott is Associate Artistic Director of Nothing Special Productions, and is currently writing a play that will be produced in NSP’s 2016-2017 season. Love and Gratitude to Mom, Always.
Chris Vizurraga Chris Vizurraga (Mr. Twist)
Chris returns to Lifeline, where he was last seen in Miss Buncle's Book. Other Chicago credits include A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Pr0ne (Underscore Theatre Company), The Drowsy Chaperone (Metropolis), and Tamer of Horses (Stone Soup Theatre Project). Other credits include Ragtime, Noises Off, A Christmas Carol, End of the Rainbow, The History of Invulnerability (Milwaukee Rep), Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Back Room Shakespeare Project). Thanks for coming to see the show!
Mara Dale Mara Dale (Understudy)
Mara is thrilled to be working with Lifeline for the first time. Recent credits include Pinocchio: A Folk Musical, Fog Island, and Lifeboat (Filament Theatre). Locally, she has performed with First Folio, Emerald City Theatre, Muse of Fire, Jedlicka Performing Arts Center, Towle Theatre, and Waltzing Mechanics. Regionally, she's worked with New York Stage And Film, as well as Syracuse Stage. Mara is an alumna of Syracuse University (BFA Acting) where she studied at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. She's an ensemble member with Barrel of Monkeys and Imagination Theatre.
William Marquez William Marquez (Understudy)
William is thrilled to be working with Lifeline for his first time. He holds his BFA in Musical Theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Recent Chicago credits include Hansel and Gretel and Jungle Book with Alphabet Soup Productions. William is an Arizona native and is excited to be hitting the ground running here in Chicago!
Dustin Rothbart Dustin Rothbart (Understudy)
Dustin is making his Lifeline Theatre debut. Broadway World Awards for Best Revival: Ragtime (Big Noise Theatre); Parade (Harper Ensemble Theatre). Other Chicago credits: Oliver! (Citadel Theatre); Buffy: Once More with Feeling (Mary’s Attic); Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Benevolent Theatre); Hair (Big Noise Theatre); The Wedding (Red Theatre Chicago); Cabaret (Brightside Theatre); The Rocky Horror Show (Underscore Theatre Company); Electra (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.); and Man of La Mancha (JPAC). Regional credits: A Year with Frog and Toad and I'm Just Wild about Harry (Canterbury Summer Theatre). Upcoming: The Little Mermaid at JPAC. B.S. in Theatre from Illinois State University.
Aly Renee Amidei Aly Renee Amidei (Adaptor, Co-Lyricist, Costume Designer)
Aly is so pleased to bring this fun story to the stage. As a playwright, she adapted Carmilla and Walkers Vs. Runners for WildClaw Theatre. At Strawdog, she has been an active member of the Hit Factory creating the Stella Stargirl radio play series. Her Lifeline costume design credits include Soon I will Be Invincible, Woman in White, Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, One Came Home, Watership Down, and the upcoming Northanger Abbey. She is also a member of Strawdog and WildClaw theatre. You can see her costumes across town in Irish Theatre of Chicago's production of Spinning this spring. Her costume and makeup designs have been seen at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, Stage Left, Artistic Home, House Theater, Piven Workshop, and Vitalist Theater. She is the Assistant Professor of Costume Design at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
Scott Tallarida (Composer, Co-Lyricist)
Scott came to the wonderful world of Lester's Dreadful Sweaters through a 20-year journey in the Chicago music scene. He played in scores of local bands and produced many, many records over the years, but also did some work for Chicago theater along the way. He sound designed a handful of shows for WildClaw Theater in the last few years and has not gotten tired of scary, scary noises. Recently, Scott and his wife Julie opened Trigger, a collaborative art and event facility where he records everything from theater companies to bands to voiceovers.
Julie Tallarida (Co-Lyricist)
Julie is the mom of 2 awesome daughters, Ava and Ruby, and loves to use her glue gun, sing, and shop for vintage clothes. She has performed in multiple bands over the years and was thrilled to be writing lyrics again. She is the owner of the modeling agency, Planet Earth Agency, and a co-owner with Scott, of Trigger studio, where she produces casting for commercial video and photography, and assists in planning events there from fundraisers to weddings.
Heather Currie Heather Currie (Director)
Heather has been an ensemble member with Lifeline since 2013. She has appeared in the Lifeline MainStage productions of Jane Eyre (2014) and One Came Home, and the KidSeries productions of Duck For President (2008 and 2012); Click, Clack, Moo; Cows That Type; Dooby Dooby Moo; How To Survive a Fairy Tale; and Click, Clack, Boo! A Tricky Treat. Most recently, she was seen as Mrs. Popper in Mr. Popper’s Penguins. In Chicago she has worked with Stage 773, Victory Gardens Theatre, Circle Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left Theatre, Whiskey Rebellion Theatre’s Whiskey Radio Hour, Abbie Fest, and Handbag Productions. Favorite past directing credits in musical theatre include: The Fantasticks, South Pacific, and Schoolhouse Rock Live! Heather currently teaches screenwriting in the department of Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago, as well as the department of Motion Picture/Television at College of DuPage.
Kate Reed Kate Reed (Stage Manager)
Kate is excited to be working with Lifeline again after most recently stage managing last fall's Mr. Popper's Penguins. Previously at Lifeline, she stage managed Fillet of Solo 2015 and 2016 at Heartland Studio and assistant stage managed Soon I Will Be Invincible, One Came Home, Jane Eyre, and Monstrous Regiment. Her other Chicago area credits include work with The Fine Print Theatre Company, The Side Project, and the Northwestern University Theatre and Interpretation Center. She has a degree in Performance Studies from Northwestern.
Alan Donahue Alan Donahue (Scenic & Properties Designer)
Alan has designed numerous Lifeline shows over the last 25 years. Most recently, he designed scenery and properties for Miss Buncle’s Book and scenery, projections and properties for Soon I Will Be Invincible. He is already working on Christmas and bringing It’s a Wonderful Life to patrons of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. Last spring, Alan received a Broadway Theatre World Chicago award for his 2014 scenic design (Resident Equity Theatre) for Avenue Q at the Mercury Theatre Chicago. And in years past Alan adapted Donald E. Westlake’s Trust Me on This and Adam Langer’s Crossing California for the Lifeline MainStage and Daniel Pinkwater’s Bongo Larry & Two Bad Bears and Eileen Spinelli’s Sophie’s Masterpiece: A Spider’s Tale for the KidSeries. In Winter 2015, he’ll return to design a returning Lifeline favorite title last seen in 1998.
Diane D. Fairchild Diane D. Fairchild (Lighting Designer)
Diane is thrilled to be working with Lifeline again. Diane’s design work was seen previously at Lifeline in One Came Home, The Velveteen Rabbit (2014), and A Tale of Two Cities. Other design credits include productions with Rivendell, Raven, Sideshow, Boho, Babes with Blades, TimeLine, Northlight, Chicago Dramatists, City Lit, Court Theatre, INTIMAN, Trinity Rep, Wheaton College, and the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. She is a proud member of USA829, and an ensemble member with Rivendell Theatre.
Kate Kamphausen Kate Kamphausen (Assistant Costume Designer)
Kate is so happy to get to work on Lester's Dreadful Sweaters! She is a Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning costume designer and company member of Hell in a Handbag. Her recent designs include Christmas Dearest with Hell in a Handbag; Story of a Story (The Untold Story) with Underscore Productions; and Loving Repeating with Kokandy Productions. Kate has pink dreadlocks and four sewing machines and loves the Muppets.
Laura McKenzie Laura McKenzie (Music Director)
Lifeline credits include Sparky! (Composer/Lyricist/Music Director); Soon I Will be Invincible, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! (Music Director); and Meg Murray in A Wrinkle in Time. Previous music directing credits include Hey! Dancin’! Hey! Musical! (Factory Theater); That's Weird, Grandma (Barrel of Monkeys); and Beer (Neo-Futurists). Laura was half of the comedy facemelt duo The Laura OnLaura Comeback Tour and is currently an ensemble member with Barrel of Monkeys and Factory Theater.
Eli Van Sickel Eli Van Sickel (Sound Designer)
Eli is thrilled to be working on another show at Lifeline Theatre! He previously sound designed Sparky! When not working on shows, Eli is on the Lifeline staff as a Front of House Associate. In Chicago, he has worked with such companies as The Neo-Futurists, Mercy Street, and InGen Productions. Elsewhere, he has designed sound for the University of Pittsburgh, Actors Bridge--Nashville, and Crossroads Rep. Eli holds degrees from Illinois State and Indiana State universities. He hopes you enjoy the show and come back again soon!

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