It’s a year of unforgettable stories brought to life, from timeless classics to thrilling modern tales, as Lifeline retains its reputation for imaginative interpretations of beloved books. Both the MainStage and KidSeries seasons celebrate Lifeline’s milestone 35th Anniversary with one world premiere production by a long-time Lifeline mainstay, a world premiere by one of the company’s newest ensemble members, and the return of one of the most popular hits of the past decade.
The MainStage season features a world premiere adaptation of the comedic romance, Sylvester: or the Wicked Uncle; followed by a world premiere adaptation of the sweeping Russian drama, Anna Karenina; and concludes with the return of Lifeline’s award-winning adaptation of the epic urban fantasy, Neverwhere.
Sylvester: or the Wicked Uncle
September 8 – October 29, 2017
A world premiere based on the novel by Georgette Heyer
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Christina Calvit
Directed by Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne
Sylvester, Duke of Salford, was born with wealth and good looks, but a life of privilege has rendered him unfeeling towards others. Phoebe Marlow was graced with a sparkling wit and independent spirit, but languishes under the thumb of her domineering stepmother. When this mismatched couple is thrust together by their meddling families, both rebel and their tidy little worlds spin into chaos. Midnight flights, desperate sea voyages, and scathing society hijinks ensue as these unlikely lovers labor to avoid their fate. Grab the reins and charge headlong into a topsy-turvy tale of madcap romance in this world premiere comedy based on the 1957 novel by Georgette Heyer.
Licensed by arrangement with Heron Enterprises Ltd.
February 16 – April 8, 2018
A world premiere based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha
Directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Amanda Link
As a wave of profound upheaval sweeps through Russian society, it is a time of impossible choices. Anna is torn between raising her cherished son and languishing in a lifeless marriage, or sacrificing everything to follow her lover Alexei into disgrace. Konstantin struggles to reconcile his existential torment with his enduring passion for Kitty. Innocents will suffer, hearts will be broken, and families will be torn apart as two couples learn that living truthfully is no simple thing. Travel to the palaces and farms of imperial Russia in a world premiere meditation on the complexities of love based on the 1877 novel by Leo Tolstoy.
May 25 – July 15, 2018
Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman
Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric
Directed by Ilesa Duncan
Richard Mayhew commits an act of kindness on the streets of London and finds himself trapped in a shadow world beneath the city. Lady Door returns home one day to find her family slain and her life upended. Drawn together by fate – and forces more powerful than they can guess – these two must brave countless trials, uncover the truth behind a dark conspiracy, and face the indomitable Great Beast before they can set things right again. Journey to London Below with a rogues’ gallery of liars, outcasts, and assassins, on a treacherous quest to awaken the hero within, in a new production of Lifeline’s hit adaptation of the 1996 novel by Neil Gaiman.
Arnie The Doughnut
October 21 - November 26, 2017
Based on the book by Laurie Keller
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Frances Limoncelli
Music & Lyrics by George Howe
Directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric
Arnie, a loveable chocolate-frosted, rainbow-sprinkled doughnut, is the happiest pastry in the bakery when he’s chosen to be taken home by a new owner. But when mild-mannered Mr. Bing tries to eat the unsuspecting Arnie, both are in for the surprise of their lives. Man and doughnut are drawn into a sugar-fueled existential crisis as they work to redefine their relationship while trying to outwit the meddlesome President of the Cozy Confines Condo Community. Join Arnie on a zany quest to prove that he’s more than just delicious – and that friends come in all shapes and sizes – in this hit musical adaptation of the 2003 book that kicked off the beloved series by Laurie Keller.
Performed by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, LLC. All rights reserved.
Montauciel Takes Flight
January 13 - February 18, 2018
A world premiere musical inspired by true events
Book by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member James E. Grote
Music & Lyrics by Russell Coutinho
Directed by Aileen McGroddy
Montauciel’s name may mean “climb-to-the-sky,” but for all her life the young ewe has been stuck on the ground. Then one day, her adventurous spirit carries her to the town of Annonay, where she teams up with the legendary Montgolfier brothers. Bringing her ingenuity and love of science to bear, Montauciel helps the two scientists invent the hot air balloon, and she soon finds herself captaining the first “manned” test flight, with a duck and a rooster as trusty co-pilots. Take a leap into the unknown and realize your full potential with this world premiere musical inspired by the story of the first living creatures to take to the skies in a human-made flying machine.
You Think It’s Easy Being The Tooth Fairy?
March 17 - April 22, 2018
A world premiere musical based on the book by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt; illustrated by David Slonim
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Heather Currie and Derek Czaplewski
Music and lyrics by Laura McKenzie
Directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Heather Currie
Dew Drop just got her dream assignment: becoming the next Tooth Fairy! But after a botched first mission, she discovers there’s more to her new job than simply being sparkly; it’s going to take guts, skill, and a whole lot of training to succeed. Working closely with her mentor – and a flashy flock of firefly assistants – Dew Drop must learn the rules of Command Central, master “Tooth-o-Finder” technology, and bench press mountains of quarters before she’ll be ready to fly on her own. Tackle a new challenge and learn what it takes to succeed in the fast-paced tooth collection industry with this world premiere musical based on the 2007 book by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt and David Slonim.
The 2017-18 Lifeline Concert Reading Series
Monstrous Regiment: Wednesday, July 19, 2017
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
A Child's Christmas in Wales and A Christmas Memory: December 9, 2017
Tickets: $75; $50 for Lifeline subscribers.
Lifeline continues one of its most beloved traditions with another season of concert readings. This year’s roster features ensemble member Chris Hainsworth’s adaptation of Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett on July 19, an evening of Edgar Allan Poe stories and poetry on October 31, and a holiday pairing of ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha’s adaptation of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, and a reading of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (read with permission of the Truman Capote Literary Trust) on December 9. All readings will feature numerous Lifeline ensemble actors and returning favorites.
Each evening begins at 6 p.m. with a light supper plus beer and wine (aned 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 21st Annual Fillet of Solo Festival
January 12 - 28, 2018
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, locations, scheduling, and full details for the 2018 Fillet of Solo Festival will be announced Fall 2017