Half Magic

September 29 – November 25, 2007

Magic never happens, not really. That’s what Jane, Mark and Martha believe until Jane finds a mysterious coin that grants them half of everything they wish. The kids soon learn to make double wishes, but sometimes wishing for twice as much brings twice as much trouble – and how do you wish for twice your heart’s desire if you’re not sure what you want?

Suggested for families with children ages 6 to 12.

Based on the popular book by Edward Eager, illustrated by N. M. Bodecker 
Adapted by Elise Kauzlaric 
Directed by Frances Limoncelli

  • Elizabeth Dowling (Alison)

    Elizabeth is thrilled to return to Lifeline where she was most recently nominated for a Jeff Citation as Sarah in The Talisman Ring. Also at Lifeline: Giggle Giggle QuackQueen Lucia, and Bunnicula. Other Chicago credits include Don’t Dress for Dinner at Metropolis, The Teapot Scandalsfor Porchlight, and Stages 2007: Downtown at TBC. Elizabeth’s recent summer stock stint included roles in South Pacific (Nellie), Funny Girl (Mrs. Brice), and Fiddler on the Roof (Golde) for Mac-Hadyn Theatre in upstate New York.

  • Amanda Link (Jane)

    Amanda is very excited to be working at Lifeline. Other Chicago credits include Big LoveA Dream Play, and Madman and the Nun with The Mill, Bottle Can Draft with Sandbox Theatre Project, Prometheus and Many Things Are Destoying Me with The Anatomy Collective, and Family Treason and Maui at Donny’s Skybox. Amanda is a recent graduate of the Conservatory at Second City.

  • Vic May (Mr. Smith)

    Vic is excited to be making his Chicago theatre debut as Mr. Smith with Lifeline Theatre. His professional credits include two seasons with the Wichita Children’s Theatre regional tour. Favorite roles include a dastardly villain in the melodrama Miss Clara’s Classroom Calamity to Papa Bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Other credits include Drake in Honk and Cinderella’s Prince/the Wolf in Into the Woods. Vic graduated from Simpson College in Indianola Iowa with a BA in Theatre Arts.

  • Matthew Sherbach (Mark)

    Matthew makes his first appearance with Lifeline in Half Magic. Chicago credits include LiveWire Chicago Theatre on The Love of the Nightingale(Itys), and Echo Theatre Company’s inaugural production of Envoy (Tom). He also worked on the Boston premier of The Last Days of Judas Iscariotwith Company One (Mathias of Galilee/St. Matthew). Favorite educational credits include Spring Awakening (Hanschen Rilow) and All-of-a-Kind Family (Mr. Basch). Matthew has a BFA in Acting from Emerson College.

  • Mindy Wetzel (Martha)

    Mindy is making her first appearance in a Lifeline production. Her Chicago credits include Go Dog. Go! with the Chicago Children’s Theatre and The Tempest, a magical circus with the Tangerine Arts Group. Mindy has a B.F.A. in musical theatre performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

  • Christina Hall (Understudy)

    Christina is thrilled to be making her Lifeline and Chicago debut in Half Magic. Previous stage credits include Oliver!Shakespeare RevueSpitfire GrillSeussicalShakespeare in Hollywood, and Bedroom Farce at Hope Summer Repertory Theater, Pardon My English at Main Street Theater, and As You Like ItTurcaretTwelfth NightThe House Of Bernarda AlbaTales of the Last FormicansAssassinsRichard III and A Doll’s House at Southern Methodist University.

  • James Stanton (Understudy)

    James is very excited to be working on his first production at Lifeline Theatre. His Chicago acting credits so far include a staged reading of The Battle of Anzio for the Brown Couch Play Series. Fairly new to the city, he’s spent the past two years with the Beechwood Theatre Company at the Astors’ Beechwood Mansion in Newport, RI. He is currently a student at The Annoyance.

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Adaptor)

    Elise is happy to be adapting for Lifeline’s KidSeries again after adapting last season’s The Velveteen Rabbit. Elise is a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble and has appeared in many Lifeline KidSeries productions including My Father’s DragonMrs. Piggle Wiggle and Hen Lake. She also 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 City Lit Theatre’s production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Other Chicago credits include King Lear at The Goodman, Tartuffe and The Importance of Being Ernest at City Lit, Cabaret and A Christmas Carol at Metropolis and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at First Folio Shakespeare Festival.

  • Frances Limoncelli (Director)

    Frances has been a Lifeline ensemble member since 1995 and has appeared in their productions of Pistols for TwoPrecious BanePinocchioBunnicula and as the title role in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. She has also directed several productions at Lifeline including Simple Jim and His Four Fabulous FriendsThe Story of FerdinandMiss BiancaCooking with Lard and Queen Lucia: A Musical Romp. As an adaptor, she created The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes and Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch with Queen Lucia‘s composer/lyricist George Howe, and adapted the Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries Whose Body?Strong Poison and Gaudy Night for Lifeline’s MainStage, earning two Jeff Citations for Best Adaptation. Around Chicago she has appeared at the Blackstone, Goodman, Northlight, Appletree, Candlelight, Drury Lane, Ivanhoe, Bailiwick and others. Frances graduated from the Boston Conservatory with a BFA in theatre performance and an emphasis in directing.

  • Amy Steelman (Assistant Director)

    Amy is pleased to be returning to Lifeline where she was the Assistant Stage Manager for Gaudy Night. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Amy has worked with several local theaters and has just returned from a season with Centerstage in Baltimore.

  • Ellen Willett (Stage Manager)

    Ellen loves working with Lifeline, where she has previously stage managed Crossing CaliforniaStrong Poison and Sophie’s Masterpiece. Other Chicago credits include shows with Emerald City Theatre Company, Viaduct, StageLeft, 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.

  • Tom Burch (Scenic Designer)

    Tom is thrilled to return to Lifeline where previous designs include The ShadowThe Sirens of Titan, and Strong Poison (After Dark Award). Other recent Chicago credits include touring productions of Taming of the ShrewMacbeth, and Comedy of Errors for Chicago Shakespeare; Bad DatesRed Herring, and The Good War at Northlight; Ellen Under Glass and Hatfield and McCoy for The House Theatre; and the pool-bound The Frogsfor Pegasus Players. He’s the recipient of 2 After Dark Awards, a Jeff Citation (for Pyewacket’s Misery) and the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. Regional credits include shows at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Peninsula Players, among others. Upcoming projects include the new touring Romeo and Juliet for CST, A Steady Rain at Chicago Dramatists, and shows for Piven, Strawdog, and ATC. He also teaches at the University of Chicago.

  • Tim Hill (Sound Designer)

    Tim is very happy to return to Lifeline Theatre where past sound designs include The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs! and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Other Chicago sound designs include productions with Stage Left, The Neo-Futurists, Tireswing, Chicago Actors Wordshop, and Irish Repertory, along with several community and school musical theatre projects. Founding member of multimedia groups Anti-Roadtrip Alliance and ARTA Films.

  • Jessica Kuehnau (Costume Designer)

    Jessica recently completed her MFA in Scenic and Costume Design at Northwestern University. She is pleased to be returning to Lifeline Theatre for the third time, having designed the KidSeries production of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Talesand Stuart Little in previous seasons. Her Chicago credits in costumes include Jitney(Pegasus Players), A Streetcar named Desire (Metropolis Performing Arts Center), Still Life with Iris and Search for Odysseus (Vittum Theatre), Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Glory of Living (Northwestern University Theatre). She has also designed scenery for The Griffin, MPAACT, Light Opera Works, Theatre Building (new musical program) and Northwestern University. Jessica is currently the resident set designer, technical director and design professor at North Park University and full time faculty at Northeastern Illinois University.

  • Stephen T. Sorenson (Lighting Designer)

    Steven is thrilled to make his debut at Lifeline Theatre. Stephen’s Chicago area design work has been seen at Northwestern University, where he recently completed coursework toward his MFA, and includes Cymbeline directed by Mary Zimmermann, Holiday directed by Shawn Douglass, and Madame Bovary directed by Paul Edwards. Stephen has also served as an Assistant Lighting Designer for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Florentine Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Kentucky Opera.

  • Jenniffer J. Thusing (Props Design)

    Jenniffer is thrilled to be working on her first Lifeline show. Her work as a props designer has been seen on Light Opera Work’s Kiss Me Kate, Noble Fool’s Midlife the Crisis MusicalMusical of Musicals the Musical and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Writers Theatre’s Savahan Disputation. Jenniffer has also served as stage manger of Flanagan’s Wake for Noble Fool (past 3 seasons), Bitter Sweet for Light Opera Works and going into her 4th season as the resident stage manager for Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences. Her upcoming projects include props for Next Theatre’s Defiance.

  • Charlie "Ziggy" Olson (Technical Director)

    Charlie is both a technician and an actor around Chicago. This production marks his second 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 recently appeared in Killing Women with Theatre Seven where he is also a company member.

  • Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)

    Cortney is excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre again for the 07/08 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 American Theatre Magazine
October 2007
By Nicole Estvanik

Edward Eager’s Half Magic has delighted young readers-in-the-know for decades; through Nov. 25, Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre introduces Eager to a new generation of fans. Adapter Elise Kauzlaric was smitten by the book’s sympathetic depiction of childhood during the long days of summer in 1920s Toledo, Ohio, enlivened for Mark, Jane and Martha only by library excursions. One day the siblings find a coin that grants wishes – halfway. (Imagine the chaos that results when a bored Martha blurts, “I wish I weren’t here!”) The kids soon figure out how to double their requests with (nearly) foolproof results. The play includes a jaunt to Camelot, but also tackles wishes of a more complex nature – such as when Jane, apprehensive about a new stepfather, declares she’d rather belong to another family. Lifeline doesn’t cloud the issues with fussy effects, says Kauzlaric: “The kids see how we’re making magic happen. They can go home and recreate that on their own.”