Crossing California

Month 00 – Month 00, 20XX

Thu & Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 4pm & 8pm, Sun at 4pm (No 4pm performance Nov. 3)

It’s 1979. The hostages are in Iran, Reagan is on his way to the White House, and in Chicago’s West Rogers Park, Temple K.I.N.S. is rocking out to “AIN’T GOD A TRIP?” A raw and hilarious look at three adolescents in their journey to find their identities.

Based on the novel by Adam Langer 
Adapted by Alan Donahue 
Directed by John Hildreth

  • Allison Cain (Gail Schiffler-Bass, Donna Mayne, Great-Aunt Beileh)

    Allison is thrilled to return to the Lifeline stage where she had the pleasure of performing in Johnny Tremain in 2006. She received her training at Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia College. She has worked almost exclusively on new work since 1990, in Los Angeles, Connecticut, Scotland and Chicago. She became the Artistic Director of the now-defunct Studio 108 after moving to Chicago (where she produced twelve new works, co-directing two of them) and has acted in a multitude of plays with various theater companies throughout the city over the past 16 years. She has been a member of the Factory Theater since 2000 and its Executive Director for the past six years. Committed to the production of new works in Chicago, she is once again honored to work with the amazing talents at Lifeline.

  • Bryson Engelen (Mel Coleman, Straight Arrow Farrow)

    Bryson recently appeared as George Emerson in Lifeline’s production of A Room with a View and as Rab in Johnny Tremain. He has worked with several theaters around Chicago including Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, About Face, Eclipse, Oracle Productions, Tireswing, Collaboraction, Strawdog, Piven, and the Free Associates. This past summer he played another late-70s jive bachelor in the immensely popular Neo-Futurist staged reading of The Jazz Singer and is glad to further develop such a role in Crossing California. Bryson is a graduate of the University of Chicago and while there he interned at Court Theatre (acting), the Goodman (PR/Marketing), and Steppenwolf (casting).

  • Amanda Gregg (Myra Tuchbaum , Lana Rovner)

    Amanda is pleased to be making her debut appearance in a Lifeline production. Her Chicago career has primarily been spent doing improvisation with Junkmail Improv Troupe and in The Second City’s Conservatory, where you can still find her doing that funny thing on the E.T.C. stage weekly. Past theatre credits include Homicidal HillbilliesState FairThe StrongerMachinalA Lie of the MindTwelfth Night, and Antigone. You can also catch her in the upcoming production House of Yes at Strawdog Theatre in July. Amanda has a BFA in Theatre Performance from Miami University in Ohio.

  • Lara Hossalla (Ensemble)

    Lara is excited to be a part of Crossing California. She will graduate next year with a BFA in Acting from Roosevelt University. Recent roles include Ophelia in Midtangent Production’s I am Hamlet, and Annelle in Steel Magnolias with Summer’s Lease Theatre (Austin, TX).

  • Stephen Loch (Gareth Overgaard, Douglas Sternberg, Carl Silverman, Lennie Kidd)

    Stephen started his career in Seattle, where his roles included Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and Camille in A Flea in Her Ear, as well as roles in Henry IV Part I, and Volpone. He left Seattle to attend the Theatre School at DePaul University, which recently granted him his Master’s degree. Credits at DePaul include Oliver Davenport in Pentecost, Brabantio in Othello, Heiner Müller in Full Circle and Leonard Darwin in Plenty. He recently appeared as Reuben in Circle Theater’s production of Jeff Daniel’s Escanaba in da Moonlight.

  • Dylan Lower (Larry Rovner, Bandleader)

    Dylan makes his second appearance at Lifeline Theatre, having played a collection of cops and butlers in their revival of The Talisman Ring last season. He is a proud ensemble member of Griffin Theatre Company where he most recently limped through the Great Depression as Gimpty in their production of Dead End. Other Griffin credits include StardustFifth of JulyA Night In Mantua, and a host of touring children’s productions. Dylan has also performed with Theo Ubique and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. He holds a B.F.A. in acting from The Theatre School, DePaul University.

  • David Marlowe (Ensemble)

    David is making his debut at Lifeline in Crossing California. He is currently attending Columbia College Chicago where he majors in theatre with a concentration in acting. As a freshman, he is incredibly happy and grateful to be able to have this opportunity to work with such professional and talented actors so early into college.

  • Danny Martinez (Ensemble)

    Danny is a freshman theater student at Columbia College Chicago concentrating in acting and planning to graduate in 2010. Most of Danny’s on-stage experience was gained in musicals such as Chicago (Billy Flynn), The Rocky Horror Show (Rocky), Sweet Charity (chorus), and Guys and Dolls (chorus). Danny was last in the Columbia College freshman performance project Gunsmoke also directed by John Hildreth.

  • Katie McLean (Michelle Wasserstrom)

    Katie is a member of Lifeline’s Artistic Ensemble and has appeared in The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!Gaudy NightBongo Larry and Two Bad BearsTrust Me on ThisFar From the Madding CrowdWhose Body?, and Cooking With Lard. A native of upstate New York, she has been in Chicago for fourteen years and worked with Black Sheep Productions, the Hypocrites, Bailiwick Repertory (including now then again, a Jeff Citation winner for Best New Play in 2000), Greasy Joan & Co., Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, Who Threw That Ham?, and Zebra Crossing.

  • Meghan Megyes (Ensemble)

    Meghan is pleased to be appearing as an actor in Crossing California. Meghan hails from a nondescript, mid-sized town in Northeast Ohio, but is currently a theater student at Columbia College Chicago. She was last seen in Columbia’s production of Ionesco’s Killing Game. Meghan is also a student of dance and literature and hopes to pursue physical theater upon graduation.

  • Darren Myers (Muley Scott Wills)

    Darren is very proud to make Crossing California his debut performance at Lifeline Theatre Co. He has just received his B.F. A. in Theatre Performance from the The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He is thrilled to finally be able to apply what he’s learned about his craft into everyday life.

  • Kate Nawrocki (Jill Wasserstrom)

    Kate is very excited to be back at Lifeline with Crossing California, after appearing in the KidSeries’ inaugural production of Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday Adventure. Kate is a company member of The Strange Tree Group and was last seen in their productions of Ghost Stories! (with Aloft Aerial Dance) and Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play. She has also appeared with the Griffin Theatre Company in There’s a Boy in the Girl’s BathroomRomeo and Juliet are Alive and Well and Living in Maple BendStardust, and the multiple Jeff Citation winning Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, for which she received a citation for Actress in a Principal Role. Kate is a graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington and has studied with The British American Drama Academy in Oxford and Washington University’s Globe Education Program in London.

  • Jennifer Oakley (Ensemble)

    Jennifer is making her first appearance at Lifeline Theatre. A current freshman at Columbia College Chicago, Jenny is working towards a BFA in musical theatre. She got started in theatre in high school before deciding to come to school in Chicago. Her Columbia credits include performing in the freshman performance project of Gunsmoke, also directed by John Hildreth.

  • Nick Pilarski (Ensemble)

    Nick is making his first appearance in a Lifeline production. He is currently pursuing a B.F.A at the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (Roosevelt University). Some of his favorite roles include Billy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Eugene in Brighton Beach Memoirs.

  • Hanlon Smith-Dorsey (Charlie Wasserstrom, Dr. Michael Rovner)

    Hanlon was seen on Lifeline’s stage earlier this season as the Model Boat in The Velveteen Rabbit. Most recently he played Horatio in Hamlet at New World Rep in Downers Grove. He received his MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul.

  • Jaclyn Williams (Deirdre Wills)

    Jaclyn is making her Lifeline debut. She has appeared regionally in Much Ado About NothingTwelfth NightLove’s Labour’s LostThe Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jaclyn has a BA in Theatre from the University of Houston, an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington, and is currently pursuing an MA from the Moody Bible Institute here in Chicago.

  • Kristen M. Beckmann (Understudy)

    Kristen is making her first appearance at Lifeline Theatre. Chicago credits include Anna Karenina (Vitalist Theatre), Not Now Darling (Attic Playhouse), Helen (Greasy Joan & Co.), Flaming Dames 2 (New Millenium Theatre), and The 24 Hour Project (Theatre Building). Regional credits include Trojan Women and Narcissus and Echo (Classical Theatre Co., Detroit). Kristen has also worked as a choreographer and appeared in several independent and student films. In Chicago she has studied with Erica Daniels (Steppenwolf), Kurt Naebig (The Audition Studio) and Dawn Arnold (Moving Dock Theater). Kristen holds a BFA in acting and dance from Adelphi University (NY).

  • Rebekah Zetty (Understudy)

    Rebekah is excited to be working with Lifeline for the first time. Some of her Chicago credits include Family Treason with Monkey Don’t Productions, Dark Ride with Box Theatre Group, Vincent in Brixton with The Journeymen, and Alice with The Neo-Futurists. She has a BA in theatre from Columbia College and is also a recent graduate of the Conservatory at Second City.

  • Alan Donahue (Adaptor)

    Alan previously adapted Donald E. Westlake’s Trust Me on This for the Lifeline MainStage and Daniel Pinkwater’s Bongo Larry and Two Bad Bearsand Eileen Spinelli’s Sophie’s Masterpiece–A Spider’s Tale for the KidSeries. He normally works in the role of designer and has designed scenery for Lifeline’s productions of Johnny TremainQueen Lucia–A Musical RompPistols for Two, and Far from the Madding Crowd, among many others. He received Jeff Citations for his scenery designs of The Little SisterJane Eyre(2001), and Around the World in 80 Days at Lifeline. He also lit The Killer Angels and The Talisman Ring (2005). He is currently designing Headin’ West for Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

  • John Hildreth (Director)

    John has been an ensemble member at Lifeline Theatre since 1998. Previously, he directed The Shadow and Scary Home Companion for the MainStage, and Rumpelstiltskin Revisited for the KidSeries. John also adapted Johnny TremainThe Sirens of TitanAround the World in 80 Days, and Cat’s Cradle for the MainStage, and appeared in Bunnicula(2004) and Snowflake Tim’s Holiday Adventure for the KidSeries. He has also directed at the Athenaeum Theatre, Theatre on the Lake, Donny’s Skybox Studio, Live Bait, Columbia College, The Second City, and IO. Currently, John teaches improvisation at Columbia College and The Second City Conservatory Program.

  • Cathleen Bentley (Assistant Director)

    Cathleen returns to Lifeline where she assistant directed, as well as stepped into the role of Annie, for last season’s Gaudy Night. Other Lifeline acting credits include Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales (co-produced with Griffin Theatre), Cricket In Times SquareBongo Larry and Two Bad BearsRumplestiltskin RevistedThe Shadow(understudy), and Jane Eyre. She assistant directed Dolphinback Theatre’s Voice Of The Prairie, where she also served as Associate Artistic Director. Offstage, Cathleen works as a figure skating coach and choreographer.

  • Ellen Willett (Stage Manager)

    Ellen returns to Lifeline Theatre for Crossing California. She previously stage managed Strong Poison and Sophie’s Masterpiece with Lifeline, as well as shows with Emerald City Theatre Company, Viaduct, Stage Left, Terrapin Theatre Company, Irish Rep, and many more. She also serves on the board of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a unique and vibrant music ensemble dedicated to advancing the music of our time.

  • Robert Ellis (Alternate Stage Manager, Sound Board Operator)

    Bob has been with Lifeline for the past 11 years as a tech stagehand, sound board operator and alternate stage manager for the KidSeries matinees. His latest credits include stage managing The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! and sound board operator for The Piano Tuner.

  • Kevin D. Gawley (Lighting Design)

    Kevin is very excited to be working on Crossing California. As a freelance lighting/scenic designer in Chicago, Kevin’s work has appeared on many Chicago stages, including Lifeline Theatre, where he won the Jeff Citation for his design of Jane Eyre, the After Dark Award for his design of Strong Poison, and has been an ensemble member and resident lighting designer since 2001. His work also appeared in numerous productions at the Bailiwick, Porchlight, Organic, OperaModa, Blindfaith, NSHI, Theatre on the Lake, Metropolis, StoreFront, Loyola University Chicago, Revels Chicago, Midwest Jewish and at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival theatres. Kevin is currently the Lighting and Scenic design professor at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and has taught Lighting Design and Technology courses previously at Loyola University Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also one of the resident designers at St. Scholastica Academy. Kevin holds an MFA and BFA in Lighting Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University.

  • Paul Gilvary (Composer)

    Paul is glad to be writing music for Lifeline Theatre’s MainStage again, previously having composed for Cat‘s Cradle. For the KidSeries, he has written music for Mrs. Piggle WigglePuss in BootsBongo Larry and Two Bad Bears and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! Paul also played bass for Strawdog Theater’s Marathon 33. By day, Paul teaches music at Gladstone Elementary School here in Chicago. By night, he plays a stand up bass in his rockabilly band The Git Gone Boys.

  • Adam Kozlowski (Sound Design)

    Adam returns to Lifeline as sound designer for Crossing California. Previously, Adam designed Johnny Tremain and The Killer Angels for the MainStage as well as Deep In The Jungle and Brave Potatoes for Lifeline’s KidSeries. Adam has worked as a composer and/or musical director for Lifeline Theater and Running With Scissors. He is also a performer who has worked with several theaters throughout the Chicagoland area.

  • Cybele Moon (Costume Design)

    Cybele is happy to be working with Lifeline for the first time. Her background in the visual arts includes an expertise in textile surface design, dyeing, maskmaking, batik, graphic design, soft sculpture, leather-work, printmaking and photography. She is the former designer and creator of Moonwear, a line of hand-dyed and painted silk scarves sold at boutiques and galleries across the country. As a specialist in fabric dyeing and painting and distressing she has worked with the Goodman Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Steppenwolf Theater as well as numerous other local theater and dance companies. As a designer she has been commissioned by several theater and dance companies throughout Chicago and Illinois. These include the Steppenwolf Arts Exchange, Lookingglass Summer Camp, Remy Bumppo Theatre, Shattered Globe Theatre, Chicago Dramatists Theatre, Timeline Theatre Company, the House Theatre, Lar Lubovitch, Thodos Dance Chicago, Univ. of Illinois School of Dance, Urbana-Champaign, Ruth Page Dance Center and the Dance Center at Columbia College. Find images of her creations at

  • Mary O’Dowd (Props Design)

    Mary designed props for Embedded (Prop Theatre) and created set dressing for Lost in YonkersArsenic and Old LaceOn Golden Pond, and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress(Theatre of Western Springs). Recent acting work includes The Children’s Hour (TimeLine); The Exonerated (Raven); and Gaudy Night (Lifeline Theatre). Mary is currently developing her own television series about classic cars and will appear this summer at Theatre on the Lake in a revival of Lifeline’s Gaudy Night.

  • Grant Sabin (Set Design)

    Grant is pleased to be working with Lifeline for the first time. He is a recent graduate of Columbia College with a BFA in theatre design were he was awarded the 2005 Michael Merritt scholarship for collaboration in theatre design. Last season he was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for his design of A Red Orchid’s production of The Sea Horse. Recent design credits include The Juniper Tree (City Lit), Blasted (A Red Orchid), Dead City (Raven Theatre), Leaving Iowa (Royal George), The Gift (Chicago Ballet), The Last Supper (Chopin Theatre), Crumble (Theatre on The Lake), and Killers (Mary-Arrchie Theatre).

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Dialect Coach)

    Elise is happy to be coaching for Lifeline again having coached past productions of Johnny TremainThe Killer AngelsThe Shadow and Trust Me on This. Other dialect coaching projects include Angels in AmericaEquus and Henry V (the hypocrites); Wintertime (Reverie) and A Christmas CarolTo Kill a Mocking Bird and Cabaret (Metropolis Theatre).

  • Jay Paul Skelton (Movement)

    Jay returns to Lifeline where he directed Tuck Everlasting. He most recently directed All’s Well that Ends Well for New York Classical Theatre, the world premiere musical The Ten Commandments for CGMC, and Roasting Chestnuts: A Christmas Gina for Noble Fool. Other Chicago credits include working with such theatres as Goodman, TimeLine, Silk Road, Live Bait, Eclipse, Mary-Arrchie, Next, About Face, Organic, CollaborAction, Hell in a Handbag, Pegasus Players, Circle, Chicago Dramatists and Theatre on the Lake. A native of Massachusetts, Jay received his M.F.A. from The Theatre School at DePaul University and is Assistant Professor of Shakespeare and Producing Artistic Director of Summer Shakespeare at the University of Notre Dame.

  • Charlie "Ziggy" Olson (Technical Director)

    Charlie is both a technician and an actor around Chicago. This production finishes up his first year with Lifeline, but he also works with Chicago Shakespeare, CitLit Theatre and has done stints at A Red Orchid Theater, BobKat Productions, Designlab, Spingloaded Theater and New World Repertory. Onstage, he can be seen during the month of April in Is Chicago, the inaugural production of his new unstoppable theater company, Theatre Seven.

  • Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)

    Cortney is excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the season. Previous and current production management positions include Ellen Under Glass for the House Theatre of Chicago, Marathon ’33 for Strawdog, One False Note for Plasticene, as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake for the last 3 years. Cortney is also a company member of 20% Theatre, where she often acts as production manager, lighting and set designer, and dramaturg, among other things. During the school year Cortney can be found at St. Scholastica Academy, where she has been the resident designer (scenery and lighting) and technical theatre instructor/director for the last eight years.