Artistic Ensemble

Founding Members:

Meryl Friedman, Suzanne Plunkett, Kathee Sills, Sandy Snyder, Steve Totland

Ensemble Emeritus:

Eric Lane Barnes, Meryl Friedman, Rebecca Hamlin, James Sie, Kathee Sills, Steve Totland, Elizabeth Wislar

Aly Renee Amidei

Aly made her first Lifeline design appearance with her costumes for Watership Down in 2011. Since then she has designed costumes for several Lifeline productions including The Count of Monto Cristo,The Three Musketeers, Soon I will Be Invincible, The Woman in White, Her Majesty’s Will, Northanger Abbey, One Came Home, Neverwhere [2018], and Emma.  She also designed the costumes and wrote the adaptation for Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters and Bunny’s Book Club.  She will be designing Loki, The End of the World Tour.  She is also a company member of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Cartage Theatre, and Strawdog Theatre Company as well as one of the original founding members and former artistic director of WildClaw Theatre.  Aly’s design work has been seen at Steep, Irish Theatre of Chicago, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Lakeside Shakespeare, Magick Theatre, Stage Left, Teatro Vista, Griffin, House Theatre, and Collaboraction. She is a proud member of U.S.A. 829. She previously spent 15 years as building and designing costumes at College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, IL.  Aly is now an Assistant Professor of Costume Design at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in North Carolina.

Patrick Blashill

Patrick has been an Ensemble Member with Lifeline since 1996 and has been performing at Lifeline since 1994’s Miss Bianca, where he played Bernard the mouse. Other favorite Lifeline roles include Towny in Midnight Cowboy, Old Bailey and the Earl in Neverwhere, Edgar Drake in The Piano Tuner (After Dark Award: Outstanding Performance), Victor in Lizard Music, Hugh Thane in The Talisman Ring, Tom in Pistols for Two (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Ensemble), Ferdinand the Bull in The Story of Ferdinand, the Mighty Gorilla in The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (remounted for Chicago Theatre on the Air with guest star Brent Spiner), and Bunter in Strong Poison (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Ensemble). He is especially proud to have acted in all three of Lifeline’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, spanning The Fellowship of the Ring (Bilbo Baggins), The Two Towers(Frodo Baggins), and The Return of the King (Frodo Baggins). Patrick has worked with numerous other Chicago theatres, including Eclipse Theatre (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), Theatre Mir (The Sea), Backstage Theatre Company (A Number), Filament Theatre (Eurydice), Griffin Theatre (Journey’s End), and Reverie Theatre (Emma). Patrick has also appeared as Mickey on Chicago PD for NBC Universal.

Jessica Wright Buha

Jessica was thrilled to join the Lifeline artistic ensemble in 2015, where she previously adapted Lyle Finds His Mother and One Came Home. Other Lifeline credits include co-prop designing Treasure Island, assistant directing Neverwhere, and assistant stage managing eleven MainStage productions from 2008 to 2012. Locally, she has had her work produced by Goodman Theatre (The Things Above, New Play Bake-Off 2014), the Gift Theatre (Moon Rhymes, TEN 2014), Filament Theatre Ensemble (Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Portage Park), the Plagiarists (War Song) – of which she is a company member, and the Whiskey Rebellion (Wake: A Folk OperaUlysses 101) – of which she is a co-founder. She was a three-time finalist in WildClaw Theatre’s annual Deathscribe Festival of Horror Radio Plays, and took home the top prize in 2011 for her play Alabama Mermaid. She also works as a dramaturg (Lookingglass Theatre’s Our Future Metropolis), and is a member of the Lifeline Storytelling Project, a storytelling group performing monthly in Rogers Park. With the Whiskey Rebellion, she produces and curates the Whiskey Radio Hour, a quarterly radio play festival performing at Martyrs’ and featuring radio plays written and directed by upcoming Chicago artists. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she received a Summer Fellowship from the Arts Planning Council to write her original play Cookout, and the Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Award, First Prize, for her original play Under Ground.

Christina Calvit

Christina has written over a dozen theatrical adaptations which have been performed nationally and internationally, including: Miss Buncle’s Book (Non-Equity Jeff Award, 2016); Wuthering HeightsMariette in EcstasyA Room with a ViewQueen Lucia: A Musical Romp, with Composer/Lyricist George Howe (2005 After Dark Award; 2006 Non-Equity Jeff Award for New Work); Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging(Non-Equity Jeff Award, 2004); Jane EyrePistols for Two (Non-Equity Jeff Award, 2001); The Talisman Ring (Equity Jeff Award, 1996); and Pride and Prejudice (Non-Equity Jeff Award, 1986). Original plays include Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday AdventurePurloined PoeChaos (co-writer), and Several Voices from the Cloud (Agnes Nixon Award, 1981).

Heather Currie

Heather 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 TypeDooby, Dooby MooHow To Survive a Fairy Tale; and Click, Clack, Boo! A Tricky Treat. In Chicago she has worked with Circle Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, Whiskey Rebellion Theatre’s Whiskey Radio Hour, Abbie Fest and Handbag Productions, where she appeared as Robin Black in the long running Sexy Baby. Heather holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before returning to Chicago in 2004, Heather was the head of the acting program at Clemson University where she taught acting, voice and movement. While at Clemson she directed many productions including The FantasticksSouth PacificSchoolhouse Rock Live!, and Baby With the Bathwater. Past acting credits include: Sarah in Spinning Into Butter at The Warehouse Theatre, directed by Jennifer Hubbard; Frankie in Frankie and Johnny in the Clare De Lune (M.F.A. Thesis Role), directed by Judy Hart; and Sister Robert Ann in Nunsense at The Foundation Theatre, directed by Drucie McDaniel. She currently teaches screenwriting and script analysis in the department of Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago, as well as screenwriting and film aesthetics in the department of Motion Picture/Television at College of DuPage. Heather has also been writing, directing and performing as a solo cabaret artist for many years, and can be heard singing in The Nitz and Howe Experience every Saturday night at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret.

Bilal Dardai

Bilal is a writer and performer who has worked for nearly two decades in Chicago’s vibrant live theatre scene. He spent 12 years as an ensemble member with the acclaimed artistic collective The Neo-Futurists, three of those years as the company’s Artistic Director. Bilal is a regular at Chicago’s many live-literature events, providing essays and social commentary for Write Club and The Paper Machete. He is also member of the writing staff for award-winning audio drama Pleasure Town and has recently embarked on a new audio project with HartLife, creators of Our Fair City. His plays include: ContraptionVox PandoraRedeemersThe Sovereign Statement(Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Work), and The Man Who Was Thursday(Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Adaptation). In addition to Chicago, Bilal’s work has appeared on stages in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Nottingham (UK), and Helsinki (Finland). Bilal has also appeared in the independent films Unexpected (dir. Kris Swanberg) and Operator (dir. Logan Kibens).

Victoria DeIorio

Combining her careers in theatre and as a singer-songwriter, Victoria has become an acclaimed sound designer and composer in Chicago. Lifeline shows include: The Emperor’s New ThreadsThe Mark of Zorro (Non-Equity Jeff Award), The Island of Dr. Moreau (Non-Equity Jeff Award), The Velveteen RabbitGaudy Night (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination), The Talisman Ring (2005), Sirens of TitanSnowflake Tim’s Holiday AdventureA Long Way from ChicagoStrong PoisonThe Shadow(Non-Equity Jeff Nomination and After Dark Award), Far From the Madding Crowd, and Around the World in 80 Days (Non-Equity Jeff Award). Off-Broadway Productions: A Christmas Carol (St. Clement’s Theatre), Two Point Oh (59E59th St.), Cassie’s Chimera (Joe’s Pub, The Public Theatre), The Bluest Eye (Steppenwolf Theatre @ The Duke Theatre), Ophelia (NYC Fringe Festival), and Arnie the Doughnut (The Pearl – NYMTF). As associate designer Off-Broadway: Boy and Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams(Primary Stages), God of Hell (Actor’s Studio Theatre), Luminescence Dating (Ensemble Studio Theatre), and Live Girls (Urban Stages). National Tour: Private Lives (LA Theatre Works). Productions with: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Hartford Stage, CATF, Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage, Geva Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, many other regional theaters in and around Chicago, NY, and LA. Victoria has been nominated for 13 and has received 7 Joseph Jefferson Awards, as well as 2 After Dark Awards. She is the head of Sound Design for The Theatre School at DePaul University. She has produced two CD’s of her own original music on her independent label Papaya Productions. Victoria has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and studied at RADA and LAMDA in London. For more information visit

Amanda Delheimer

Amanda was thrilled to be invited to join the Lifeline Ensemble in 2013, and her Lifeline credits include directing The 13 Clocks (2011), The Three Musketeers (2013), Lions in Illyria (2015), and adapting and directing Thumbelina (2016). After completing her Master’s in Theater and Spanish at the University of Chicago in 1999, Amanda worked for a couple of years in Los Angeles and Mexico before returning home to the Windy City. She currently serves as the Artistic Director of 2nd Story (, a position she has held since 2007. As a director, choreographer, and teaching artist, she has had the pleasure of working with Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Next Theatre Company, Redmoon, Collaboraction, Strawdog Theatre, Teatro Vista, and Adventure Stage Chicago, among others. She was an inaugural recipient of the Leadership U: One-on-One Fellowship program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Theatre Communications Group, which placed her in residence at Lookingglass Theatre Company, working with their Artistic and Executive Leadership on visioning and long-term planning. She was also invited to participate in the inaugural cohort of artEquity’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Facilitator Training in the fall of 2015, hosted by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Alan Donahue

Alan joined the ensemble in 2000, although his designs for Lifeline date back to the 1991 production of Jane Eyre. As scenic designer, his Lifeline work includes Treasure IslandThe Piano TunerPistols For TwoLizard MusicJohnny TremainOne Came HomeMiss Buncle’s BookClick Clack Moo: Cows That Type (2010), and Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, among many others. Lighting designs include The Killer Angels (2004), The Talisman Ring (2005), and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!(2014). He received Non-Equity Jeff Awards for his designs of The Little SisterJane Eyre (2001), Around the World in 80 DaysMariette in Ecstasy, and Neverwhere at Lifeline. Since joining the ensemble, he has adapted Donald E. Westlake’s Trust Me on This and Adam Langer’s Crossing California for the MainStage and Daniel Pinkwater’s Bongo Larry & Two Bad Bears and Eileen Spinelli’s Sophie Masterpiece: A Spider’s Tale for the KidSeries.

ILesa Duncan

ILesa became Lifeline’s artistic director and joined the ensemble in January 2019, where she directed Neverwhere (Jeff Recommended 2018), and Blue Shadow (2010 KidSeries Premiere). A producer, director, writer, educator and theater-maker, ILesa is an avid collaborator on new work. Other directing credits include Eclipsed (Jeff Recommended), Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery(Jeff Nominated), Rutherford’s Travels (Jeff Nominated, co-adapter), The Green BookFor Her as a Piano, and Blacula: Young, Black & Undead at Pegasus Theatre; Broken Fences at 16th Street Theater; The Nativity (Congo Square; Jeff nominated); and the Jeff Award-winning Jar the Floor at ETA Creative Arts. ILesa has also worked with The Goodman, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Stage Left, and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio), The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC), and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). As an educator, ILesa has led youth development and arts education programs in Chicago for over thirteen years. She is a past awardee of an NEA/TCG Directing fellowship and a 3 Arts Ragdale’s Fellowship. She is member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab and the Chicago Director’s Lab, and is an associate artist with Chicago Dramatists (where she previously served as education and community engagement director).

Andrés Enriquez

Andrés is proud to have been on both the MainStage and the KidSeries stage for Lifeline, having understudied The Velveteen Rabbit and Soon I Will Be Invincible, then appearing in Sparky!Northanger Abbey, and most recently, Sylvester. Other notable productions in the Chicagoland area include Forever Plaid (Fox Valley Repertory), The Life and Death Of Madame Barker (Red Tape Theatre), Love and Information (Remy Bumppo), The Adding Machine (The Hypocrites), and In The Heights(Porchlight Music Theater). He has also worked with such great Chicago companies as Underscore Theater Company, Strawdog Theatre, 16th Street Theater, and Theater at the Center in Munster, IN. Andrés received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Iowa in 2012. Andrés is also the Music Director of No Big Deal, a Chicago a cappella quartet, and a proud company member of Barrel of Monkeys.

Diane D. Fairchild

Diane is a local and regional freelance lighting designer. She holds an M.F.A. in Lighting Design from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a B.F.A. in Design and Technology for the Theater from Wright State University in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio. While in New York, Ms. Fairchild designed at The Juilliard School, Dixon Place, New Georges, NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing, Joyce Soho, and several NYC Fringe Festival productions. In 2003, she moved to Chicago and dove into its rich theater scene. Chicago area credits include work with Rivendell (ensemble), Raven, Teatro Vista, Babes with Blades, the side project, Wilmette Parks District, Citadel, Erasing the Distance, Theater Wit, Wheaton College, Piven, Boho (Artistic Affiliate), Next, Northlight, Court, Sideshow, and Victory Gardens. Regional credits include work with Intiman, Trinity Rep, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre. Her excellence in design has earned her nominations for Jeff, Broadway World Chicago, and Wilde Awards. At Lifeline, Diane has designed Her Majesty’s WillFable-ous!Northanger AbbeyLester’s Dreadful SweatersOne Came Home, and The Velveteen Rabbit. Her work on Lifeline’s A Tale of Two Cities was recognized with a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Lighting Design.

Kevin D. Gawley

Kevin has been an ensemble member of Lifeline Theatre since 2001, where he has designed over two dozen productions in the past decade. For his work at Lifeline, he has won Non-Equity Jeff Awards for his lighting designs of The Island of Dr. Moreau and Jane Eyre, and the After Dark Award for his lighting design of Strong Poison. Other notable designs at Lifeline include Gaudy Night (Projection and Lighting Design, Non-Equity Jeff Nomination) and The Talisman Ring (Scenic Design, After Dark Award as part of Outstanding Technical Season along with Gaudy Night), Queen Lucia (After Dark Award: Outstanding Production), and The Piano Tuner (After Dark Award: Outstanding Production). Kevin was the theatrical lighting designer on the feature film Were the World Mine. His work also appeared in numerous productions at the Bailiwick, Organic, Porchlight, Griffin, OperaModa, Blindfaith, Theatre on the Lake, Metropolis, StoreFront, Loyola University Chicago, Revels Chicago, Midwest Jewish, Taylor University and at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival theatres. Kevin is an Assistant Professor and Resident Scenic, Projection, and Lighting Designer at University of Louisville and was previously the Associate Professor of Scenic and Lighting Design at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and has taught Lighting Design and Technology courses at Loyola University Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Kevin holds an MFA from UIUC and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University.

Peter Greenberg

Peter has appeared on the Lifeline stage in Jane Eyre (2001), Around the World in 80 DaysThe Talisman Ring (1996 and 2005), The MoonstoneMrs. CalibanBusman’s HoneymoonGaudy NightStrong PoisonHungerTrust Me On ThisFar From the Madding CrowdWhose Body?Pistols for TwoCotillionMiss Buncle’s Book, and Northanger Abbey. Also at Lifeline he adapted the play Talking It Overfrom the novel and directed the 2004 production of Bunnicula. Other Chicago acting credits include The Beaux’ Stratagem with Powertap; The Heidi Chronicles at New American Theater in Rockford; Thank You, Jeeves with City Lit; and The Sweat Offensive with the Sweat Girls. Regionally, Peter has performed the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, Middleton, Chekhov, Dickens, Sam Shepard and Neil Simon in Boise, St Petersberg, Sacramento, Boston, Atlanta, and New York City. In 1988 Peter helped to found the Actors Shakespeare Company in Albany, New York. For seven years he acted in or directed every one of its 23 productions and served as Co-Artistic Director.

James E. Grote

Jim has been a member of the artistic ensemble since 1999. He began performing with Lifeline in 1992, playing Tucker Mouse in the world premiere of The Cricket in Times Square (and reprising that role in 1996). Some of his other favorite roles at Lifeline include Mr. Hatch in Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; various captains, sailors, and Englishmen in Around the World in 80 Days (Jeff Award: Outstanding Ensemble); John Hancock and Merchant Lyte in Johnny Tremain; Mr. Primm and Mr. Grumps in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; and Lt. Col. Fremantle in The Killer Angels. Jim became a playwright for Lifeline in 2000 with his adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair, which was named the best family show of that year by the Chicago Tribune. Jim’s other adaptations for the MainStage include The Piano Tuner(After Dark Award: Outstanding Production) and A Long Way from Chicago. For the KidSeries, Jim adapted Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That TypeGiggle, Giggle, QuackDuck for PresidentDooby Dooby Moo; and Click, Clack, BOO! A Tricky Treat (featuring music by George Howe), all based on the book series by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. He has also adapted The Dirty Cowboy and Deep in the Jungle for Lifeline’s KidSeries. Outside of Lifeline, Jim has appeared in Everyman at Steppenwolf Theatre, The Secret of the Old Queen at Stage Left Theatre, and has toured with the National Theatre for Children, HealthWorks Theatre, and Windy City Gay Chorus. Jim has also served as one of Lifeline’s artists-in-residence at Kilmer Elementary School. Jim is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Chris Hainsworth

A Lifeline ensemble member since 2010, Chris first appeared on the Lifeline stage as Oliver in Talking It Over in 2008. Other Lifeline roles: MacBride in the extension of Busman’s Honeymoon, Israel Hands/Captain Flint in Treasure Island, the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere, the titular role in The Count of Monte Cristo, Dhatt in The City & The City, Athos in The Three Musketeers, General Buford/Major Taylor in The Killer Angels(2013), and The Marquis/John Barsad in A Tale of Two Cities. His first adaptation, Hunger, from the novel by Elise Blackwell, was staged in the 2011-12 season and he most recently adapted Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett for the 2013-14 season. He is an Artistic Associate with WildClaw theatre and has been a four-time finalist in their DeathScribe Festival, winning the coveted Bloody Axe in 2009 for his audio script Remembrance. An Emeritus Member of Strawdog Theatre, notable roles include Brutus in Julius Caesar and its remount at Theatre on the Lake, Det. Dakis in the Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning Detective Story, Mike in the Non-Equity Jeff Award-Winning A Lie of the Mind, Ruddy in the Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning Marathon ’33, and Scotty in the After Dark Award-winning Old Town. Other roles include Frank in Faith Healer with Uma Productions, Mott in The Artist Needs a Wife with the side project, Robby in Scenes from the Big Picture with Seanachaí Theatre Co., Sheriff Raven in The Dreams in the Witch House with WildClaw, and Col. Blood in The Pyrates with Defiant. When not performing with Lifeline, Chris can also be seen at area high schools performing Shakespeare with A Crew of Patches. Chris was also the recipient of the Steppenwolf/Illinois State University Acting Fellowship in ’94/’95 and proudly stands by his state school education.

John Hildreth

John has been a Lifeline ensemble member since 1999. He directed the MainStage productions of Crossing CaliforniaThe Shadow and Scary Home Companion, the KidSeries productions of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle(2009) and Rumpelstiltskin Revisited, and adapted Watership DownTreasure IslandJohnny Tremain (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), The Sirens of TitanCat’s Cradle and Around the World in 80 Days (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation). He also appeared in the 2004 KidSeries productions of Bunnicula and Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday Adventure.

Paul S. Holmquist

Paul joined the ensemble in 2006 and has appeared on the Lifeline stage in Strong PoisonThe Talisman Ring (2005), The Picture of Dorian Gray(Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination: Supporting Actor-Play), and Watership Down. Other area acting credits include work with TimeLine Theatre, Akvavit Theatre, Factory Theater, Shattered Globe, and Griffin Theatre, where he is is an Artistic Associate. As a director, he staged the Lifeline MainStage productions of The Island of Dr. Moreau (winner of 5 Non-Equity Jeff Awards including Best Production-Play), Busman’s HoneymoonNeverwhereThe MoonstoneThe Count of Monte Cristo, and Soon I Will Be Invincible. For Lifeline’s KidSeries, Paul directed Rikki Tikki Tavi and Other Just So StoriesFlight of the DodoNaked Mole Rat Gets DressedThe Mystery of the Pirate Ghost, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Other area directing credits include The Constant Wife and The Robber Bridegroom (Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination: Director-Musical) with Griffin, Under Milk Wood for Caffeine Theatre, Winter for Akvavit Theatre, and The Dead Prince for the Strange Tree Group. Paul holds a BFA in Acting from the Theatre School at DePaul University.

Elise Kauzlaric

Elise has worked with Lifeline for many years and has been a member of the ensemble since 2005. She directed Lifeline’s MainStage productions of Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Director-Musical), One Came HomeA Tale of Two CitiesThe Woman in WhitePride and PrejudiceWuthering Heights, and Mariette in Ecstasy (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Director-Play), and KidSeries productions of Arnie the Doughnut and The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes. She has appeared in the Lifeline MainStage productions of Miss Buncle’s BookNeverwhereTalking It OverQueen LuciaThe Sirens of TitanStrong Poison, and The Silver Chair, as well as the KidSeries productions of Hen LakeMrs. Piggle Wiggle, and My Father’s Dragon. Other Lifeline credits include her adaptations of Half Magic and The Velveteen Rabbit, and dialect coaching for numerous productions, including The Mark of ZorroThe Piano TunerThe Killer Angels, and Busman’s Honeymoon (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Artistic Specialization). Other area acting credits include King Lear (Goodman Theatre, directed by Robert Falls), Tartuffe and The Importance of Being Ernest (City Lit), Nine (Circle Theatre), Cabaret and A Christmas Carol (Metropolis), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (First Folio Shakespeare), and On the Shore of the Wide World (Griffin Theatre, Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Supporting Actress). Elise is a graduate of The Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts with a BFA in Musical Theatre and received her MA with Distinction in Actor Training at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. She is also a member of the adjunct faculty of The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Robert Kauzlaric

Robert started working with Lifeline in 2000 and joined the artistic ensemble in 2005. He has appeared onstage in 16 Lifeline productions, including The Return of the KingAround the World in 80 Days (Non-Equity Jeff Awards: Supporting Actor-Play and Ensemble), The Killer Angels (2004), Strong PoisonThe Talisman Ring (2005), and Monstrous Regiment. At Lifeline, Robert also directed Treasure Island and Hunger and adapted 17 productions, including The Island of Dr. Moreau (Non-Equity Jeff Awards: Production-Play and New Adaptation), The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! (with Paul Gilvary & William Rush), The Picture of Dorian GrayNeverwhere (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), Lions in IllyriaMr. Popper’s Penguins (with George Howe), and Northanger Abbey (with George Howe; Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Musical). Other area acting credits include Mojo MickyboWar, and A Whistle in the Dark with Irish Theatre of Chicago (where he is also an ensemble member); King Richard in Richard IIand Brutus in Julius Caesar at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival (where he is an artistic associate) and productions with Strawdog Theatre Co., the Hypocrites, Goodman Theatre, City Lit, Circle Theatre, New American Theater, Theatre at the Center, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Lakeside Shakespeare. Regional directing credits include the world premiere of The White Road for Irish Theatre of Chicago (Jeff nomination: Production-Play, Midsize); Cymbeline for Strawdog Theatre (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Director-Play); and Tartuffe (Wilde Award: Best Comedy), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Wilde Award: Best of the Bard), Cymbeline (Wilde Award: Best of the Bard), As You Like It (Wilde Award: Best of the Bard), and The Tempest for the Michigan Shakespeare Festival.

Anthony Kayer

Anthony first worked with Lifeline while he was pursuing his B.F.A. in Acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, starring as Mr. Bing in Arnie the Doughnut as part of Lifeline’s KidSeries. Before graduating, he was also fortunate to work with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival (The Three MusketeersMerry Wives of WindsorAs You Like It), Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (Elizabeth Rex), and Steppenwolf Theatre (The March). Since graduating in 2012, he has acted in the Lifeline productions of The Emperor’s New ThreadsLyle Finds His Mother, and Jane Eyre (2014); he also joined Lifeline for Monstrous Regiment(understudy) and Soon I Will Be Invincible (understudy), and served as Assistant Director for Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work-Musical). Other Chicago credits include work with Next Theatre (Iphigenia 2.0), Lookingglass/Chicago Children’s Choir (Sita Ram) – where he utilized his circus training as Circus Captain, Inappropriate Theatre Company (R&J: a techno ballet(the)Forget_Me\Knot), and The House Theatre of Chicago (The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, understudy). He also had the pleasure of Assistant Directing with Lookingglass/Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Adventures with Aladdin).

Frances Limoncelli

Frances has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 1995. As an adaptor she created Mrs. Caliban (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Adaptation), as well as the popular Dorothy L. Sayers series: Whose Body?Strong Poison (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), Gaudy Night(Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), and Busman’s Honeymoon (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), all for Lifeline’s MainStage. For Lifeline’s KidSeries she created The Emperor’s Groovy New ClothesSomebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; and Arnie the Doughnut with composer/lyricist George Howe, which was a Next Link Selection in the 2012 NY Musical Theatre Festival. Her plays have been seen in such regional theatres as the Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, the PTC Performance Space in New York, Taproot Theatre in Seattle, and the Manitoba Theatre Center in Winnipeg. At Lifeline, Frances directed Simple Jim And His Four Fabulous FriendsThe Story Of FerdinandMiss BiancaHalf MagicCooking with Lard, and the new musical Queen Lucia. Her Chicago area acting credits include roles at Goodman, Northlight, Appletree, the Blackstone, Theatre at the Center, the Ivanhoe, Bailiwick, Light Opera Works; and the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. At Lifeline, she played Hetty in Pistols For Two, Jancis in Precious Bane, the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, Chester the Cat in Bunnicula, the title role in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and Jane in Lifeline’s production of Pride and Prejudice for Chicago Theatres on the Air.

Amanda Link

Amanda joined the artistic ensemble in 2013.  At Lifeline she directed Anna Karenina, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (2019)Sparky!The Velveteen Rabbit (2014), and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! (2014).  As an actor she appeared in Click, Clack, Boo! A Tricky Treat, Duck For President (2008 and 2012), How To Survive A Fairy Tale, Dooby Dooby Moo, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (2009), and Half Magic.  Also at Lifeline, she choreographed The Emperor’s New Threads, did movement design for The City & The City, served as dramaturg for One Came Homeand assistant directed several shows including Pride and Prejudice (2012).  Amanda is a proud member of The Lifeline Storytelling Project.  Other Chicago credits include work with Griffin Theatre, Factory Theater, Kasey Foster’s Dance Tribute Series, the side project, The Mill, The Anatomy Collective, Inconceivable Theatre, HealthWorks Theatre, Sandbox Theatre Project, and Theatre-Hikes.  Amanda holds a BFA in Acting from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University and is also a graduate of the Conservatory Program at the Second City training center.

Martel Manning

Martel is an actor, teacher, and acting/vocal coach. His previous Lifeline Theatre credits include Miss Buncle’s Book and Her Majesty’s Will. Other Chicago credits include The Gift Theatre’s Grapes of Wrath and Richard IIIin the Steppenwolf Garage, Fallen Angels and Pirandello’s Henry V with Remy Bumppo, Cymbeline with Strawdog Theatre Company, and projects with Oracle Theatre, Two Pence Theatre Company, and others. Regionally, Martel has worked with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, New Light Theatre Project in New York (Off-Broadway), and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a member of The Gift Theatre’s ensemble as well and holds an M.F.A. from the University of Houston.

Michael McKeogh

Michael began working at Lifeline in 2012, playing Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in The Killer Angels, and most recently appeared as Dr. Jack Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. Other Chicago credits include Judge Moses in Skin of Our Teeth (Remy Bumppo); Eddie in Pocatello (Griffin Theatre, Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Best Actor); Frankie Wild in The White Road(Irish Theatre of Chicago); Hamlet in Hamlet (Oak Park Festival Theatre); Dmitri in Concerning Strange Devices From the Distant West (TimeLine Theatre); and Dr. Greenberg in Freshly Fallen Snow (Chicago Dramatists). In 2014, he co-hosted The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s holiday show Welcome Yule! Other regional credits include: Mr. Brown in The 20th Century Way at The Know Theatre in Cincinnati, OH and Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest at Play Phare Theatre, NYC. In 2012, Michael received an M.F.A. in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. In addition to performing, Michael teaches acting at Green Shirt Studio and The Actor’s Training Center in Wilmette.

Katie McLean Hainsworth

Katie has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 2006. Her adaptation of The Mark of Zorro won the 2009 Non-Equity Jeff Award for New Adaptation, and she directed Watership Down and Johnny Tremain for the Mainstage and The Cricket in Times Square for Lifeline’s KidSeries. As an actor, she has appeared in Miss HolmesMiss Buncle’s BookMonstrous RegimentA Tale of Two CitiesThe Three MusketeersHungerNeverwhereMariette in EcstasyTalking it OverCrossing CaliforniaThe True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!Gaudy NightTrust Me On ThisFar From the Madding CrowdWhose Body?Cooking With Lard, and Bongo Larry and Two Bad Bears. She also assistant directed Lifeline’s multiple-award-winning Around the World in 80 Days. A native of upstate New York, Katie has made Chicago her home for over twenty years and has worked on productions with Black Sheep, BlindFaith, the Hypocrites, Bailiwick Repertory, Greasy Joan & Co., Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, Who Threw That Ham?, and Zebra Crossing.

Dorothy Milne

Dorothy has directed over twenty productions at Lifeline, where she is an ensemble member (since 1992) and served as Artistic Director, 1999-2019. Most recently she directed Lifeline’s national tour of The One and Only Ivan.  She received a Non-Equity Jeff Award (Direction) for Around the World in 80 Days; and Non-Equity Jeff Nominations (Direction) for Pistols for TwoJane Eyre (for which she also received an After Dark Award), Strong Poison, and Gaudy Night. Outside of Lifeline, she most recently directed In To America for Griffin Theatre. Dorothy has also been writing and performing with the storytelling collective Sweat Girls for over 20 years, directs occasionally for 2nd Story and at Lifeline leads The Lifeline Storytelling Project and co-curates The Fillet of Solo Festival.

Shole Milos

Shole is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in Theatre and Communications who works as an actor, movement specialist, choreographer and director. An ensemble member since 1999, Shole has directed over 25 of Lifeline’s KidSeries productions, including Dooby Dooby MooDuck for PresidentThe Dirty CowboyLyle, Lyle, CrocodileClick Clack Moo: Cows That TypeGiggle Giggle QuackSomebody Loves You, Mr. HatchMrs. Piggle-WiggleHen LakeMike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel; and Sophie’s Masterpiece. In addition, he directed the mainstage production of Long Way From Chicago, which transferred to Theatre on the Lake. He appeared on the Lifeline stage in Mariette in Ecstasy (2009 Non-Equity Jeff nomination for Ensemble and Production), The Piano TunerJohnny TremainWhose Body?Trust Me On ThisMy Father’s DragonSimple Jim and His Four Fabulous FriendsOne Hundred and One DalmatiansThe Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes, and Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type. In addition to his work at Lifeline, he has appeared in productions of The Resistable Rise of Arturo UiBreaking The CodeBouncersA Chorus LineThe Mystery of Edwin Drood, and When She Danced in theatres throughout the Chicago area and Midwest. Shole has also served as choreographer/movement coach for productions of EquusPiafKismetPersonals and Where The Wild Things Are in addition to directing Emerald City Theatre’s productions of RapunzelStellaluna, and Disney’s Aladdin

Sandy Snyder Pietz

Sandy, a graduate of Northwestern University, is a founding member of Lifeline. She performed in Lifeline’s very first production of Split. Over the past thirty years, some of her favorite roles have been in Strong Poison(Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Best Supporting Actress – Play), A Room with a ViewPride and PrejudiceJane EyreLizard Music and A Wrinkle in Time. KidSeries roles include Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch and Giggle Giggle Quack. Sandy has also directed My Father’s DragonBunnicula, and Stuart Little. As a co-founder of Lifeline’s educational outreach program, she served as program coordinator and teaching artist for many years. Sandy is now a drama specialist in Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

Suzanne Plunkett

Suzanne is a founding member of Lifeline. She served as the company’s first Managing Director for seven years, and then as Production Coordinator for five years. She takes all of Lifeline’s press pictures, and has owned a photo studio for over 25 years where she specializes in portraits for actors.

Maren Robinson

Maren first worked with Lifeline in 2010 as the dramaturg for Neverwhere. She has since worked on The MoonstoneHungerPride and PrejudiceThe Woman in WhiteNorthanger Abbey, and Miss Holmes. She also has worked in Chicago with companies such as Court, Strawdog, Eclipse, Caffeine, Greasy Joan, Camenae, and the Chicago Inclusion Project. Maren is also a company member and resident dramaturg at TimeLine Theatre, where she has been dramaturg for 30 productions. She has toured with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, and was an artistic intern at Steppenwolf. She holds a Master’s degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago, where she won the Catherine Ham Award for her original play Anonymous and companion thesis paper. She has taught or lectured at the Newberry Library, the Chicago Public Library and various Chicago universities, including The Theatre School at DePaul where she is an adjunct instructor. She is currently the Associate Director of the Master of Arts Program in Humanities at the University of Chicago. Maren is Regional Vice President of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.

Phil Timberlake

Phil most recently adapted Lifeline’s production of Jane Austen’s Emma. Previous Lifeline acting roles include: Soon I Will Be Invincible, Pride & Prejudice (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination, Best Supporting Actor). Neverwhere, Busman’s Honeymoon (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination, Best Supporting Actor), The Island of Dr. Moreau (Non-Equity Jeff Award, Best Production), Queen Lucia (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination, Best Supporting Actor – Musical) and The Two Towers.  He also coached dialects for Treasure Island, Strong Poison, Gaudy Night, Talking It Over, and A Room With a View.  Other Chicago acting credits include: First Folio Theatre (Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest), Apple Tree (Violet), Powertap (The Beaux’ Stratagem), Shaw Chicago (Misalliance), City Lit (Playboy Stories), and Shakespeare’s Motley Crew (Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear).  Phil has also coached dialects at The Goodman (Gas For Less), American Players Theatre (The Doctor’s Dilemma), Victory Gardens (Mies Julie, Sucker Punch), and numerous productions at First Folio Theatre where he was the resident voice and dialect coach for several years.  He is an Associate Professor of Voice and Speech at the Theatre School, DePaul University.  Phil joined the ensemble in 2006.

Jenifer Tyler

Jenifer has been a Lifeline ensemble member since 2001. She has been delighted to appear as Harriet Vane in the Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries Strong Poison (2004), Gaudy Night (2006), and Busman’s Honeymoon (2009). Other Lifeline credits include: Mina in Dracula; Lydia in Pride and Prejudice; Kitty in Cotillion; Jane in Jane Eyre (Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award: Outstanding Actress in a Principal Role); Ida/Phyllis in Trust me on This; Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd, and Estelle in Mrs. Caliban. For Lifeline, she also directed the KidSeries production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Jenifer has been seen around Chicago with greasy joan & co., and in many Touchstone/Organic productions including Into the WoodsThe Seagull, and Hedda Gabler. Jenifer is also a “Sweat Girl;” her credits as writer and performer include I’m Sweating Under My BreastsSweat DreamsI Just Oops Until I Wow(The Sweat Girls are) Pigs at the Trough of Attention, and The Motherlode .

Christopher M. Walsh

Christopher has been a member of the Lifeline artistic ensemble since 2010. He has appeared on stage in Monstrous RegimentThe Three MusketeersThe Woman In WhiteHungerWatership DownNeverwhereTreasure IslandBusman’s Honeymoon, and The Mark of Zorro. He wrote the adaptations of The Count of Monte CristoThe City & The CityA Tale of Two Cities (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: New Adaptation), and Soon I Will Be Invincible, as well as the original Sherlock Holmes pastiche Miss Holmes. He directed the mainstage production of Midnight Cowboy. Other area acting credits include work with the House Theatre of Chicago, A Crew of Patches, Factory Theater, Strawdog Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Griffin Theatre, and Right Brain Project. He is also the Literary Manager of WildClaw Theatre, Chicago’s premiere horror theatre company. Originally from Michigan, Christopher studied acting at Columbia College in Chicago. Keep up with his thrilling adventures at