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Lifeline Theatre's 2015-2016 Season

Join us for our next season of unforgettable BIG STORIES, UP CLOSE!

In its award-winning and audience-acclaimed style, Lifeline’s 33rd season will feature six unforgettable world premiere productions — sprawling, classic stories as well as thrilling contemporary titles — as Lifeline retains its reputation for fresh, imaginative interpretations of beloved favorites and embraces the challenges of new, thought-provoking works.

Lifeline's MainStage season of INNOCENCE & AWAKENINGS features the early-20th century British romp, Miss Buncle’s Book, followed by the modern American drama of Midnight Cowboy, and concludes with a new musical version of Jane Austen’s comedic romance, Northanger Abbey.

Lifeline's KidSeries season of FANCIFUL FAMILIES & FABULOUS FRIENDS features three musical adaptations: the beloved classic, Mr. Popper’s Penguins; followed by Sparky!, a delightful modern story about friendship and acceptance; and ending with Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, a darkly humorous tale of fashion and clowning.

Additionally, Lifeline Theatre will produce the 19th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, a three-week, multi-venue solo performance and storytelling festival; and the 2015-16 Concert Reading Series will see the return of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Shadow, and The Moonstone to the Lifeline stage in a season of murder and mystery.

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Miss Buncle's Book

Miss Buncle's Book
September 11- November 1, 2015

A world premiere based on the novel by D.E. Stevenson
Adapted by Christina Calvit
Directed by Dorothy Milne

Barbara Buncle is just an ordinary, unassuming spinster passing an unremarkable existence in the sleepy village of Silverstream. But when the Great Depression wipes out her nest egg, she tries her hand at writing and publishes a novel – under an assumed name – about her quaint hometown and the oddball characters that inhabit it. When the book becomes a surprise bestseller and her neighbors’ foibles are thrust into the national spotlight, Miss Buncle must navigate a madcap storm of accusations, rivalries, and romances. A rollicking look at life imitating art and art imitating life, in a world premiere adaptation of the 1934 novel by D.E. Stevenson.

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy
February 19 - April 10, 2016

A world premiere based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy
Adapted by Chris Hainsworth
Directed by Christopher M. Walsh

Joe Buck escapes his dead-end life in Texas and heads to New York City with dreams of making his fortune as a hustler for wealthy socialites. But his rugged cowboy persona masks the gullibility of a child, and Joe falls victim to all manner of con artists and predators. At the end of his rope, he partners with street-savvy Rico “Ratso” Rizzo in an alliance that could either save or destroy them both. A meditation on loneliness and the need to form real connections amidst the crushing isolation of 20th-century life, in a world premiere adaptation of the 1965 novel by James Leo Herlihy.

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey
May 27 - July 17, 2016

A world premiere musical based on the novel by Jane Austen
Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric
Music & Lyrics by George Howe
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric

Catherine Morland leaves her quiet country home for the splendors of Bath, armed only with an innocent heart and the examples of her favorite literary heroines. Immersed in a new world of parties, balls, and high society, Catherine soon finds herself caught in a web of social scheming far above her skill to master. False friends, greedy lovers, and a wealth of misunderstandings lead to the revelation that bruises of the heart can be far more painful than the imagined terrors of Gothic novels. Take a turn through the ballrooms of Bath and unravel the mysteries of Northanger Abbey in a world premiere musical based on the satirical 1817 comedy of manners by Jane Austen.

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper's Penguins
October 24 - November 29, 2015

A world premiere musical based on the novel by Richard and Florence Atwater
Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric
Music & Lyrics by George Howe
Directed by Paul S. Holmquist

Money is tight and times are tough in the town of Stillwater. With no houses to paint till next spring, Mr. Popper is stuck at home daydreaming of adventures in far-off lands, while Mrs. Popper must scrimp and save just to put beans on the table. But with the unexpected arrival of a spirited penguin named Captain Cook, a new horizon opens before them. As a quiet partnership expands into a boisterous flock, the Poppers learn that there’s no problem that can’t be solved with steady determination, lots of love, and a dash of unconventionality. Join this offbeat family on an unforgettable adventure in a world premiere musical based on the 1938 classic by Richard and Florence Atwater.


January 16 - February 21, 2016

A world premiere musical based on the book by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Adapted by Jessica Wright Buha
Music & Lyrics by Laura McKenzie
Directed by Amanda Link

Libby desperately wants a pet, but her mother says she can only have one that doesn’t need to be walked, bathed, or fed. So she orders a sloth and names him Sparky. It’s love at first sight… even if Sparky doesn’t know how to fetch and always loses at Hide-and-Seek (though he’s very good at playing Statue). But after know-it-all Mary Potts mocks Sparky as lazy and unimpressive, Libby must throw a backyard talent show to highlight the talents of her misunderstood companion. Roll up for the first-ever “Trained Sloth Extravaganza!” and learn about accepting your friends for who they are, in this world premiere musical based on the delightful 2014 book by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans.

Lester's Dreadful Sweaters

Lester's Dreadful Sweaters
March 19 - April 24, 2016

A world premiere musical based on the book by K.G. Campbell
Adapted by Aly Renee Amidei
Music by Scott Tallarida
Lyrics by Aly Renee Amidei and Scott Tallarida
Directed by Heather Currie

One terrible morning, Cousin Clara presents young Lester with the gift of a hand-knit sweater… and it is DREADFUL: shriveled yet saggy and smothered with pom-poms. Lester (who likes things just so) is mortified to wear it, but his parents insist and the kids at school tease him relentlessly. When he ruins the sweater “by accident,” Clara just makes others, each more ghastly than the last. To restore his neatly ordered life and save face on the playground, Lester must find a way to stop the endless parade of horrifying sweaters once and for all. Enter a fashion nightmare and embrace your inner clown in this world premiere musical based on the charming 2012 book by K.G. Campbell.

The 2015-16 Lifeline Concert Reading Series: Murder & Mystery
The Picture of Dorian Gray: Halloween Night, October 31, 2015
The Shadow: February 6, 2016
The Moonstone: April 16, 2016

Tickets: $75; $50 for Lifeline subscribers.

Lifeline continues one of its most beloved new traditions with a fourth season of concert readings of beloved hits from its past. In 2015-16 season of Murder & Mystery features The Picture of Dorian Gray on Halloween night, adapted by ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric (originally produced in 2008, Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Adaptation); The Shadow, adapted by ensemble member John Hildreth (originally produced in 2003); and The Moonstone, also adapted by Kauzlaric (originally produced in 2011). All three readings will feature numerous Lifeline ensemble actors and returning original cast members.

Each evening begins at 6 p.m. with hors d'oeurves, a light supper, and wine (plus 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 19th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival
January 15 - 31, 2016
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, scheduling and full pricing details for the 2015 Fillet of Solo Festival will be announced in Fall 2014.

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