“HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… this hourlong jolly musical will hook its audience (5- to 10-year-olds and their adult companions) from beginning to end.” –Jennifer Burklow, Chicago Sun-Times
“Lifeline Theatre scores another hit with their whimsical barnyard talent show!” –Robert Andersen, Chicago Stage Review
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 new musical about sharing your talents and reaching for your dreams, by the same team that brought you Click, Clack Moo.
Recommended for kids 5 and up. Children under 2 are not permitted.
Based on the popular bestseller by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin Adapted by James E. Grote Music by George Howe Directed by Shole Milos
Heather Currie (Cow)
Heather is thrilled to be back at Lifeline Theatre! Ms. Currie was seen last fall as Pig in Duck for President. Favorite past credits include: School House Rock Live!, The Taffettas, Nunsense, Spinning Into Butter, Frankie and Johnny In the Clare De Lune, and Godspell. Ms. Currie currently teaches in the Film Department at Columbia College, and the College of Dupage, and can be heard singing every Saturday night at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret.
Elizabeth Dowling (Pig)
Elizabeth returns to Lifeline where she has been seen in Giggle, Giggle Quack; The Talisman Ring; Queen Lucia; and Bunnicula. Other recent credits include Love’s Labours Lost for Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre, Meet Me in St. Louis at Drury Lane Water Tower, Don’t Dress for Dinner at Metropolis, Teapot Scandals for Porchlight, Nellie in South Pacific and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof for the Mac-Haydn Theatre in upstate NY, and several Stages festivals at Theatre Building Chicago. She’s also worked with Circle Theatre, Chicago Kids Company, Collaboraction, Imagination Theatre, and numerous others.
Benjamin Kirberger (Farmer Brown)
Benjamin is very excited to be returning to Lifeline Theatre KidSeries, where he made his debut last year as Farmer Brown in Duck for President. A graduate of Oklahoma State University’s Theatre program, Benjamin has lived in Chicago for just over a year now. His credits include Crazy For Youwith Theatre at the Center, My Fair Lady with Light Opera Works, and both Mrs. Claus: A Holiday Musical and Goldilocks and the Three Bears with Chicago Kids Company. Look for him this winter again with Light Opera Works in Pirates of Penzance.
Amanda Link (Ewe)
Amanda is happy to be back at Lifeline where she previously performed in Duck for President, Half Magic, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Her Chicago credits include Little Brother for Griffin Theatre Company, Cut to the Quick at the Side Project, and various shows with The Mill, Sandbox Theatre Project, and the Anatomy Collective. She has also performed in several sketch shows at Donny’s Skybox and is a proud graduate of the Conservatory at Second City.
Nathaniel Niemi (Duck)
Nathaniel is excited to be working with Lifeline for the first time. He was recently seen as Mortimer in The Fantasticks at the Feltre and Jack in Into the Woods with Quest Theatre Ensemble. Nathaniel has also worked with Theatre Building Chicago, Speaking Ring, and Square Top Repertory. Favorite roles include Satan in The Mysteries, Ferdinand in The Tempest, and Arpad in She Loves Me.
Craig C. Thompson (Farmer Brown)
Craig originated the role of Farmer Brown in Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type at Lifeline Theatre and is thrilled to be reunited with Jim, George and Shole to wear the overalls once again. He was also seen in Lifeline’s production of Bongo Larry and Two Bad Bears. He’s a member of Infamous Commonwealth Theatre (ICT) and has appeared in numerous ICT productions including The Kentucky Cycle (Jeff Award for Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Production), and Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates. Craig has also performed in productions with Emerald City Theatre, Backstage Theatre, Foreground Theatre, and Real Rain Productions.
Abigail Misko (Understudy)
Abigail is thrilled to be joining Lifeline for this fun and exciting show. She is a recent graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she received her MFA in acting. Some favorite shows include Much Ado About Nothing (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Pirates of Penzance (Music by the Lake), Measure for Measure and Follies(Pfeiffer Theatre). She will be seen next in Provision Theatre’s production of The Taming of the Shrew in February.
Mallory Nees (Understudy)
Mallory is a recent graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul. Favorite roles include Lady Bracknell in …Earnest (dir. Thomas Weitz), Stenographer in Machinal (dir. Rachel Walshe), Gretta Good/Hazel in Still Life With Iris (dir. John Jenkins), and Penny Pennywise in Urinetown (dir. Dexter Bullard). Since graduating, she’s worked with Rivendell Theatre on a new play about female astronauts in the 60s and with Theatre-Hikes Chicago in Sleepy Hollow. Stay tuned: later this season at Lifeline, you’ll see Mallory in both The Last of the Dragons and The Blue Shadow.
Ryotaro Shigeta (Understudy)
Ryotaro is delighted to share his first Chicago theatre experience with this Lifeline production. Rio earned a BFA degree in acting this spring from the University of Illinois. There, he most recently appreared in The Three Sisters, Hamlet, and Measure for Measure. You can see him in the title role of Emerald City Theatre Company’s production of Peter Pan, opening late February at the Apollo Theatre of Chicago.
James E. Grote (Adaptor)
This is Jim’s fourth trip to the farm, having previously adapted Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (2003); Giggle, Giggle, Quack (2005); and Duck for President (2008). Click, Clack, Moo has been produced across the country, including Manhattan (NY) Children’s Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, and Dallas Children’s Theatre, which will also present a national tour of Giggle, Giggle, Quack next season. Jim’s other adaptations for Lifeline include C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair, The Dirty Cowboy, and The Piano Tuner(2007 After Dark Award: Outstanding Production). He has appeared on stage in Lifeline’s The Killer Angels, Around the World in 80 Days, Johnny Tremain and Busman’s Honeymoon.
George Howe (Music & Lyrics)
George is a Jeff Citation Winner (Queen Lucia – Best New Musical 2006) and multiple After Dark Award winning composer/lyricist/cabaret artist. His musical Sleeping Ugly won him a 2006 After Dark award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. He has written the songs for many of Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries shows including Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, Brave Potatoes, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, and most recently Duck for President. George can be seen most nights playing piano and belting out pop, rock and showtunes at Davenport’s.
Shole Milos (Director)
Shole is an artistic ensemble member who is thrilled to be back on Farmer Brown’s farm after directing Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; and last season’s Duck for President. He was most recently seen on the Lifeline MainStage as Dr. Baptiste in Mariette In Ecstacy and also in The Piano Tuner and Johnny Tremain. Shole also helmed the Emerald City Theatre productions of Disney’s Aladdin, Stealluna and Rapunzel.
Amy Orman (Assistant Director)
Amy is originally from Sydney, Australia and is currently studying Musical Theatre at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. During her time at CCPA she has performed in Bells Are Ringing, Starting Here Starting Now and Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party. Prior to moving to Chicago she worked as a dancer and singer with Princess Cruises. Amy is delighted to be involved with the talented cast and crew of Dooby Dooby Moo!
Ellen Willett (Stage Manager)
Ellen is glad to be herding the animals of Farmer Brown’s farm once again. Her Lifeline Theatre KidSeries credits include Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Duck for President, Half Magic, and Sophie’s Masterpiece. After leaving the farm this year, she will be stage managing Uncle Vanya at Strawdog Theatre and The Ghosts of Treasure Island with Adventure Stage Chicago. 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.
Jana Anderson (Costume Designer)
After working on Duck For President and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile costumes, Jana is delighted to be working with Lifeline theatre again. Prior to coming to the United States Jana made elaborate costumes for classical opera productions at the National Theater in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. She attended the Fine Arts University in Bratislava, where her interest in working on period pieces originated. For last decade she has been designing throughout Chicago area and collaborated with numerous theatre groups such as Redmoon Theater, Light Opera Works, Irish Repertory Theatre Rivendell, Theatre at the Center, and Experimental Theatre to name a few. She supervises costume construction crew of students at Theatre conservatory at Roosevelt University. When she wants to have fun, however she designs crazy fashions for photoshoots, advertising and Lifeline’s children productions.
Alan Donahue (Scenic & Properties Designer)
Alan is a Lifeline ensemble member and has designed numerous productions for MainStage and KidSeries. His scenic design for last season’s Mariette in Ecstasy received a non-Equity Jeff Award. Recent work includes Little Brother for Griffin Theatre and The Grapes of Wrathfor Infamous Commonwealth Theatre. This fall he will design The Wind in the Willows for City Lit Theatre. And after another outside design for Remy Bumppo’s Dangerous Liaisons, Alan returns to Lifeline this spring to design Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
Matt Gawryk (Lighting Designer)
Matt is pleased to be designing for the first time here at Lifeline Theatre. Recent shows include Mistakes Were Made, Pump Girl, and The Unseen (nominated for the Jeff Award, Best Lighting Design) at A Red Orchid Theater; Mud People with Mary-Archie and Cinderella with Emerald City Theater. Future endeavors include A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant at A Red Orchid Theater, and How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found at Mary Archie.
Anthony Ingram (Sound Designer)
Anthony is very happy to be working with Lifeline for the first time! Locally, he has designed for Signal Ensemble Theatre, where he is the Resident Sound Designer; The Right Brain Project; Shattered Globe Theatre; Bailiwick Theatre and Oak Park Village Players among others. His current projects include set design for The Right Brain Project’s The Modern Prometheus, and recently his work could be heard in Signal Ensemble’s The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe, the Right Brain Project’s …Handcuffs On The Flowers… and Shattered Globe’s Little Foxes.
Ian Zywica (Technical Director)
Ian works throughout Chicago as a freelance Scenic Designer and Technical Director. While being the staff Technical Director at Lifeline Theatre, he has also recently designed and built, The Robber Bridegroom (Griffin Theatre), Once On This Island (Porchlight Music Theatre), and The Last Barbecue (16th Street Theatre). He is currently in the midst of designing The Fantasticks (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Taming Of The Shrew (Provision Theater), and Bleacher Bums (Triton College).
Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)
Cortney is excited to be kicking off her fourth season with Lifeline after working on such productions as The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Mark of Zorro. Previous production management positions include the last three seasons at Strawdog Theatre, Ellen Under Glasswith the House Theatre of Chicago, and One False Note with Plasticene. She currently serves as the Production Manager and General Manager at Strawdog Theatre, as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake since 2004.
From the Chicago Sun-Times
‘Dooby Dooby Moo’ a showcase for musical talent
October 23, 2009
By Jennifer Burklow
With its recent premiere of “Dooby Dooby Moo,” Lifeline Theatre once again has done what it does so well — adapted a popular children’s book in a way that entertains kids and adults alike.
James E. Grote’s adaptation remains true to the personalities of the beloved characters who populate Doreen Cronin’s Farmer Brown book series. This is Grote’s fourth adaptation from the series; he clearly knows the barnyard well.
Grote brings relevancy to the story by deftly weaving our country’s economic woes into this tale about sharing your talents and pursuing your dreams — with a few fun grammar lessons thrown in for good measure. Paired with toe-tapping music and catchy lyrics by George Howe and fast-paced direction from Shole Milos, this hourlong jolly musical will hook its audience (5- to 10-year-olds and their adult companions) from beginning to end.
The show starts with the arrival of Ewe (played with sweet sincerity by Amanda Link) at the barn door. Ewe has been laid off from the factory where she made sweaters; she’s lost her confidence in her abilities and she’s looking for a new job and home. That causes Duck, Cow, Pig and Farmer Brown to launch into their first tune, “Farmer Brown’s Farm,” which skillfully introduces the characters to Ewe and audience members unfamiliar with the crew. It also sets the stage for several hilarious plays on words involving homophones and synonyms, explained so that the youngest members of the audience are in on the jokes, too.
Farmer Brown (played with good cheer by Craig C. Thompson, who alternates in the role with Benjamin Kirberger) offers Ewe a job and the animals swing into “Routine,” a bouncy song about work-focused Farmer Brown and the boring chores on the farm.
Routine makes the animals long for adventure, and Duck (Nathaniel Niemi, who nails the role of the farm’s lovable resident troublemaker) finds the antidote when he borrows Farmer Brown’s newspaper and discovers an ad for a talent show at the county fair. (Kudos to Howe for his delightful ditty about the value of newspapers.) Duck insists the animals compete because the grand prize is a slightly used trampoline, sure to alleviate the boredom of farm chores.
Led by the supremely confident Duck, the friends try to decide what they’ll do for the talent show in the musical highlights of the show, “Trampoline/We Got the Talent” and “Singing and Sewing and Dancing.” The actors energetically sing and dance their way through several musical and movement genres with lovely harmonizing and spot-on timing. Cow (played with bossy confidence by Heather Currie) shows off her vocal abilities; Pig (slyly played by Elizabeth Dowling) leaps and swirls to show off her dancing skills; Duck decides stand-up comedy is his forte and stage-shy Ewe offers to make their costumes.
The talent show, complete with a clever send-up of “American Idol,” doesn’t go as planned. Duck, Cow and Pig fail to impress the judges, but Ewe’s costumes save the day and win the trampoline, providing a poignant lesson about staying true to your talents and dreams. Jana Anderson’s whimsical costumes and Alan Donahue’s colorful set contribute to the show’s success.
A Barnyard of Talent
October 28, 2009
By Robert Andersen
Lifeline Theatre scores another hit with their whimsical barnyard talent show!
That crazy duck over at Farmer Brown’s Barn is at it again. Last year Duck wanted to be President of the barn. This year Duck wants to win a talent show at the State Fair to get himself a trampoline. Once again James E. Grote has done a wonderful job of adapting Doreen Cronin’s charming books to the stage. The original music and lyrics by George Howe highlight the characters of this entertaining story and the talents of this gifted cast. Heather Currie, as Cow, and Amanda Link, as Ewe, deliver exceptional performances.
Director Shole Milos has brought together many of the original team members that created the previous Lifeline KidSeries hit Duck for President!, both on the stage and behind it. Some of the costumes have changed. The one that I miss is Duck’s, but Costume Designer Jana Anderson has visually realized beautiful costumes that according to my 11-year-old daughter, “looked like they were fun to wear.” The book’s illustrator, Betsy Lewin, has done masterful work bringing the story to life on paper and Scenic Designer Alan Donahue captures that same essence on stage. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted more.
If there is a down side to this production it is that they have so little space to use. But don’t misunderstand my intention gentle reader, this production is absolutely delightful! It is somewhat overshadowed, in my opinion, by the ominous set of the main stage production of Treasure Island. To Duck’s defense now rush my two daughters, the aforementioned 11-year-old Emma, and my 4-year-old Evelyn: “what do you mean there was a ship on stage?” and “I want to go play on the farm!” They were completely oblivious. Well, actually Emma was the one who hit the nail on the head, “I knew that what was back there wasn’t a barn but the show was so good I didn’t care.” There you have it, what better testament to the quality of a performance than that? Enough said.
Lifeline proves themselves the perfect theatrical playmates with their completely engaging Dooby Dooby Moo. Reward your kids and yourself this weekend with this brilliantly boisterous barnyard bash!