The Velveteen Rabbit

December 16, 2006 – February 4, 2007

Anything is possible when you truly believe. A classic tale of a boy and his toy bunny and the transforming power of love, told in a brand new adaptation which explores the terrain of the heart with sensitivity and care.

Based on the book by Margery Williams 
Adapted by Elise Kauzlaric 
Directed by Jenifer Tyler

  • Cheryl Golemo (Velveteen Rabbit)

    Cheryl is delighted to make her Lifeline debut as a bunny. Some Chicago credits include work at: Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, Steppenwolf (outreach), The Side Project, Collaboraction, Trap Door, Canamac Productions, The Lyric Opera (corps de ballet), and The Next Lab. Nationally, she toured with St. Louis’ Metro Theatre Company. Notable roles include Lizzie in The Rainmaker and Bananas in The House of Blue Leaves. Indie feature films include: Common Senses (Split Pillow) and the upcoming Stash (X-Ray Productions). Cheryl has a M.A from Northwestern University and teaches at Harper College.

  • Paul Myers (Skin Horse)

    Paul returns to Lifeline’s KidSeries for a third time having appeared in last season’s productions of Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday Adventure and Brave Potatoes. Other anthropomorphic work has included the title role in Atomic Dog and Darling in the musical Strider.

  • Alice Pacyga (Nana/Toy Soldier)

    Alice is pleased to be working with Lifeline again. She was previously seen as Mary-Alice Dowdel in A Long Way From Chicago and as Margalo in Stuart Little. Alice holds an M.F.A and B.F.A in Acting from Northern Illinois University. She is also a graduate of The Second City Conservatory Program. Alice has performed as an improviser with the Cupid Players in Cupid Misfires His Eros and Journey to the Center of the Journey. Other credits include Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Masha in The Three Sisters, and Adelaide in Guys & Dolls. She has worked recently as a voice-over artist for White Hen Pantry and Gloria Jeans Coffee. In addition to her stage work Alice is an acting teacher for Prologue Theatre Co. and for the Lifeline Theatre Outreach Program. She is also a Standardized Patient for the UIC Clinical Performance Center.

  • Brian Plocharczyk (The Boy)

    Brian was last seen on stage at City Lit Theatre in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as Mr. Edward Hyde. Brian has also been seen recently in Richard II, with Actor’s Revolution Theatre; Human Capacity at Stage Left’s Leapfest; Short Shakes Macbeth at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; and Over the Tavern, at Theatre at the Center. Brian also works as a voice-over actor in Chicago. You may have heard his voice in several radio spots or in the world’s longest running radio drama UnShackled.

  • Hanlon Smith-Dorsey (Model Boat/Doctor)

    Hanlon is thrilled to be making his debut at Lifeline in his very first non-school play. He recently graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul with an MFA in acting. Before coming to Chicago he received his BA in Theatre from Bard College. Some favorite roles include Zandor in Zandor the Great, the Clown in As Five Years Pass, and Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.

  • Jenny Lamb (Understudy)

    Jenny is thrilled to be working with the great folks at Lifeline for the first time. Favorite children’s theatre roles include Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Jack in Those Silly Reindeer! and Penelope in The Chronicles of Penelope Pennyworth: Girl Detective. Jenny received her BFA in Theatre for Youth from Shenandoah Conservatory and currently serves as co-founder and co-artistic director of Li’l Buds Theatre Company where she wears many hats working as a Teaching Artist, Director and Playwright (among others). Next, Jenny will direct Li’l Buds’ spring production of Robin Goodfellow.

  • Nate Maher (Understudy)

    Nate is from Minneapolis, where he received his B.A. in Theater Arts/English from the University of Minnesota-Morris. A SAG member, he appeared as Chris in New Line’s Sugar and Spice and has been in numerous national commercials. His professional theatre credits include Once in a LifetimeTom Sawyer’s MorningThe NerdCarouselMuch Ado About Nothing and Beer Goggles: The Musical!

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Elise Kauzlaric)

    Elise is a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble and is excited to work on her first adaptation for Lifeline. She has appeared in many Lifeline KidSeries productions including My Father’s DragonMrs. Piggle Wiggle and Hen Lake and served as director for The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes. Lifeline Mainstage credits include Queen LuciaStrong Poison, and The Silver Chair. Most recently she appeared in The Goodman Theatre’s production of King Lear. Other Chicago credits include Tartuffe and The Importance of Being Earnest with City Lit, Cabaret and A Christmas Carol with Metropolis and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with First Folio Shakespeare Festival.

  • Jenifer Tyler (Director)

    Jenifer is delighted to be making her directing debut with The Velveteen Rabbit. As an actor she has appeared at Lifeline in Jane EyreStrong PoisonGaudy NightFar From the Madding CrowdTrust Me On ThisCotillionPride and Prejudice, and Dracula. She has also been seen in Chicago with greasy joan & co., and in many Touchstone/Organic productions including Into the WoodsThe Seagull, and Hedda Gabler. Jenifer is also a teacher with Lifeline’s in-school residency program.

  • Kaitlyn Talmage-Bowers (Stage Manager)

    Kaity graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, with a BA in Drama and Broadcast Production, last spring. A new member of the Chicago theatre scene, she just recently finished a stage management internship at the Goodman Theatre working on King Lear. Since then she has stage managed Frankenstein with Theatre-Hikes and will be stage managing the Chicago premier of Moon Over Buffalo with Glitterati Productions this spring.

  • Rebecca Hamlin (Scenic/Props Designer)

    Rebecca Hamlin is happy to be back at Lifeline, where previous designs include A Long Way From Chicago (After Dark Award) and Simple Jim. Other recent area designs include The Christmas Schooner and The Kiss of the Spiderwoman at Bailiwick Rep., Julius Caesar and Picnic at Oak Park Festival Theater and Seascape at City Lit Theater. Rebecca sometimes teaches art at Wildwood School in Chicago and is resident designer for Mudlark Theater in Evanston. Non-theatrical design clients include the Chicago Botanic Garden, Garfield Park Conservatory and the Music Institute of Chicago.

  • Elizabeth Powell Shaffer (Costume Designer)

    Elizabeth is an Artistic Ensemble Member with Lifeline Theatre. Recent shows include Kiss of the Spiderwoman with Bailiwick Theatre, Josephine Tonight with The Theatre Building, La Cecchina and Threepenny Operawith Northwestern University Opera, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife with Appletree Theatre, Design for Living with Circle Theatre, and 110 Degrees in the Shade and The Sound of Music with Light Opera Works. She spent 5 seasons as the Assistant Designer for the annual Baroque Handel Opera Festival in Göttingen, Germany. Elizabeth is the 2004 recipient of the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, and the 2005 winner of the Chicago After Dark Award for her costume design of Queen Lucia with Lifeline Theatre.

  • Kevin Gawley (Lighting Design)

    Kevin has been an ensemble member of Lifeline Theatre since 2001. As a designer at Lifeline, Kevin won the Jeff Citation for his design of Jane Eyreand the After Dark Award for his design of Strong Poison. Other notable designs at Lifeline were the lighting designs of Queen LuciaAround the World in 80 Days, and Click Clack Moo, and the scenic design of the 2005 production of The Talisman Ring. As a freelance lighting/scenic designer in Chicago, Kevin’s work has appeared in numerous productions at Organic, Porchlight, Theatre on the Lake, Metropolis, StoreFront, Loyola University Chicago, Revels Chicago, Midwest Jewish and the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Kevin is currently teaching Lighting Design at Loyola University Chicago and previously taught the Introduction to Lighting Technologies course for two years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kevin is also a resident designer and technical theatre instructor at St. Scholastica Academy. He holds a M.F.A and B.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A. from DePaul University.

  • Victoria DeIorio (Original Music and Sound Design)

    Lifeline shows: Room With A ViewGaudy NightTalisman Ring (2005), Sirens of TitanLong Way from ChicagoStrong PoisonThe Shadow (Jeff Citation), Far From the Madding Crowd, and Around the World in 80 Days(Jeff Citation). Productions with: Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens, Northlight Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The Next Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Light Opera Works, and other storefront theatres in Chicago. Recently her design and composition debuted Off-Broadway at the Duke Theatre. Associate Design credits: Actor’s Studio, Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages (all Off-Broadway) She was nominated for three Jeff Citations, and received 2 Jeff Citations and 2 After Dark Awards (The Shadow and Fiddler on the Roof). For more information visit

  • Charlie "Ziggy" Olson (Technical Director)

    Charlie just recently started with Lifeline Theatre and couldn’t be happier. He freelances around Chicago at CityLit, A Red Orchid, and Chicago Shakespeare.

  • 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.

From the Chicago Tribune

`Rabbit’ wouldn’t get out of her head

December 1, 2006
By Jenn Q. Goddu

Adapting the classic children’s book “The Velveteen Rabbit” for the Lifeline KidSeries stage was the first idea ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric brought to the table after joining the theater last year.

“It’s a story that’s just so close to me, that I knew that I would love seeing it come to the stage,” she said. “It’s got so much heart and a message that goes deeper each time you read it.”

The play opens Dec. 16. Here the woman who adapted Margery Williams’ 1922 story tells On the Town why this book is so near and dear.

Q. When did you first encounter “The Velveteen Rabbit?”

A. I really can’t even remember the first time I heard it. … At some point my parents read it to me when I was young. My sister and I were big fans of a Meryl Streep recorded version. … PBS put pictures on the screen with her narrating and we were fans of that as well.

Q. Did you have a toy you loved enough to think it was real?

A. Yes, I had a Humpty Dumpty that was one of those cutouts that you get at a fabric store. It’s just a front and a back. He was very simple but he was very special. [I had him] from when I was 1 until I was about 5. He fell apart.

Q. What drew you to adapt the story to the stage?

A. It was something that I knew had a really strong place in my heart and that I would be able to devote a year of my life to. … It’s always been a story that I’ve come back to, even as an adult, I still enjoy reading it.

Q. How do you think the book stands the test of time?

A. It’s a heartwarming, happy story and something that kind of harkens back to a time when things seemed simpler. … It’s something that most anyone can relate to, I think. Most children have a special something — whether it’s a toy, or a blanket — but something that is that special comfort to them. As you grow older I think you always hold on to that thing in your heart, that first thing that was a comfort and that first thing that was really special to you.