Lifeline Theatre’s 2020-21 Season

Join us for our 38th season of BIG STORIES, UP CLOSE!

It’s a year of incredible stories brought to life, from reimagined classics to exciting world premieres.

The 2020-21 MainStage season features the Midwest premiere sequel Miss Holmes Returns, followed by a world premiere adaptation of Chaotic Good, and concludes with a new take on Treasure Island.

The KidSeries season opens with our musical adaptation of Doreen Cronin’s bestseller Dooby Dooby Moo; followed by a revival of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; and concludes with the world premiere of Extra Yarn.

Additionally, Lifeline Theatre will produce the 24th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, a three-week, multi-venue solo performance and storytelling festival.

Call 773-761-4477 or visit the subscriptions page for more information about subscriptions — or subscribe online starting April 1!


September 11 – November 1, 2020

Inspired by the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Christopher M. Walsh
Directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric

Miss Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Dorothy Watson are back on the case! After a string of successes in assisting Scotland Yard, a seemingly clear-cut murder case finds itself at the detective’s feet. The powers that be know for certain it was a young woman of immigrant heritage, but Holmes and Watson aren’t as sure. Can they find the truth before the authorities catch and convict their suspect? The game is afoot in this provocative Midwest premiere sequel to the hit play Miss Holmes, based on familiar characters from the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Ensemble member Christopher M. Walsh, adaptor of 2016’s Miss Holmes, teams up with ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric (Northanger Abbey [2017 Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work-Musical], Emma, A Wrinkle in Time) in a return to the Holmes universe with the next iteration of his invigorating update to literature’s favorite detectives.

February 19 – April 11, 2021

A world premiere based on the novel by Whitney Gardner
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Aly Renee Amidei
Directed by Chris Hainsworth

Cameron’s cosplay abilities are top-notch, and sure to get her into the CalTech costume department. But after she wins a major competition, it sets off a barrage of angry comments from male fans. Attempting to escape the fray at her local comic shop she is confronted by the macho manager who constantly challenges her knowledge. Her twin brother has an interesting idea to break through the bullies, by using her cosplay ability to make them think she’s one of them. To find success she’ll have to roll her d20 in this world premiere adaptation of Whitney Gardner’s fan-favorite novel about the role-playing game of life.

Ensemble member Aly Renee Amidei (Bunny’s Book Club, Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters) brings to the stage Whitney Gardner’s fan-favorite novel about a young girl staking her claim in the male-dominated world of cosplay and D&D.

May 28 – July 18, 2021

Based on the classic adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member John Hildreth
Directed by Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Ilesa Duncan

A treasure map discovered in a dead pirate’s sea-chest leads young Jim Hawkins on an expedition across the ocean to recover a fortune in plundered gold. Fair winds and favorable seas soon give way to mutiny, greed, and the evil machinations of a one-legged scoundrel named Long John Silver. Join Jim on an unforgettable adventure as he fights for his life – and the lives of his friends – in this legendary tale of piracy and heroism.

Ensemble member John Hildreth (Johnny Tremain [2006 Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation], Around the World in 80 Days [2003 Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation]) and Artistic Director Ilesa Duncan (Middle Passage, Neverwhere [2018]) join forces to bring you an updated retelling of the most beloved sea-faring adventure put to paper.


October 17 – November 22, 2020

Based on the popular bestseller by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member James E. Grote
Music by George Howe Directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Heather Currie

The County Fair is coming, and the grand prize in the talent competition is a trampoline! Duck wants that prize, but with Farmer Brown watching around every corner, how will he hold singing and dancing rehearsals for Cow, Pig and Ewe? Hop aboard Farmer Brown’s truck and travel to the fair with this hit musical about sharing your talents and reaching for your dreams. From the team that brought you Giggle, Giggle Quack and Duck for President.

Ensemble member James E. Grote (Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Giggle, Giggle, Quack) and George Howe (Arnie the Doughnut, Mr. Popper’s Penguins) join ensemble member Heather Currie (So You Think it’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, Fableous!) to bring the beloved barnyard gang back to the Lifeline stage!

January 16 – February 21, 2021

Based on the literary work by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Frances Limoncelli
Director: Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Anthony Kayer

Dull and predictable Mr. Hatch has always lived an isolated life until one Valentine’s Day, when an unexpected delivery transforms the town’s most unsociable hermit into everyone’s favorite friend. Share in a heartwarming tale of companionship and acceptance, as Mr. Hatch’s neighbors get to know the mysterious man next door in this beloved musical from the adaptor and composer of Arnie the Doughnut and The Emperor’s New Threads.

Ensemble member Frances Limoncelli (Arnie the Doughnut, The Emperor’s New Threads) teams up with ensemble member Anthony Kayer (Bunnicula [2018], Bunny’s Book Club) in a return to the neighborhood by way of Eileen Spinelli and Paul Yalowitz’s heartwarming story.

March 20 – April 25, 2021

A world premiere musical based on the book by Marc Barnet, illustrated by Jon Klassen 
Adapted by Jessica Wright Buha & John Szymanski
Music by John Szymanski
Director: TBA

While her parents work tirelessly at the local factory, Annabelle discovers a small wooden box in the snow filled with yarn that seemingly never ends.  Armed with her love of friends and family, and her grandmother’s knitting needles, she effortlessly knits sweaters for the whole town!  But the Archduke isn’t too pleased and will stop at nothing to get that never-ending yarn for himself. Bundle up with the meaning of friendship, family, and fighting for what’s right in this world premiere musical by the team that brought you We Found a Hat.

Ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha (Lyle Finds His Mother) and John Szymanski, the team that brought you We Found A Hat, join forces once again to bring you a world premiere musical that explores the meaning of family and fighting for what’s right.


January 15 – 31, 2021
Tickets: $10 per performance; Festival Pass: $60

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 2021 Fillet of Solo Festival will be announced Fall 2020