Don Bender (Mr. Geary, Ashil)
Don was last seen as Frederick Fairlie in Lifeline’s production of The Woman in White. Previously at Lifeline, he appeared in Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Mark of Zorro. Other recent credits include Frost/Nixon (TimeLine Theatre), Dancing at Lughnasa (Seanachaí Theatre Company), The Little Foxes(Shattered Globe Theatre), Our Enemies (Silk Road Rising), One Fine Day(Stage Left Theatre), and The Night Season (Vitalist Theatre). He received a Joseph Jefferson Nomination for his performance in City Lit’s production of Old Times. Over the course of the last 25 years he has worked with such companies as Writers Theatre, Next Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Circle Theatre, The Hypocrites, and many others.
Patrick Blashill (Shukman, Syedr, Bowden)
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 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 that spanned 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 Days Journey into Night), Theatre Mir (The Sea), Backstage Theatre Company (A Number), Filament Theatre (Eurydice), Griffin Theatre (Journey’s End), and Reverie Theatre (Emma).
Bryson Engelen (Jaris, Yorjavic, Samun)
Bryson is pleased to be working with Lifeline for the fifth time. Previous Lifeline work includes Watership Down, Crossing California, A Room With A View, and Johnny Tremain. This past fall he worked with WildClaw Theatre on Life of Death at the DCA Theater. The fall before that he was at the DCA as well in the title role of Peer Gynt with Polarity Ensemble. He was part of the Non-Equity Jeff Award-winning ensemble of 12 Angry Men at Raven, and has worked with Shattered Globe in The Little Foxes and A Taste of Honey. Other roles include Paul in Signal Ensemble’s Six Degrees of Separation, Kitchin in the side project’s Faster, and Damon in Theater Wit’s Men of Steel. Other Chicago theaters he has worked with include Silk Road Rising, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, About Face, Eclipse, Oracle, Collaboraction, Strawdog, Piven, and the Free Associates. Bryson is a graduate of the University of Chicago.
Chris Hainsworth (Dhatt)
A Lifeline Ensemble member since 2010, Chris was last seen on the Lifeline stage as Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. He also adapted last season’s winter MainStage production of Hunger. Previous Lifeline credits include Oliver in Talking It Over, Israel Hands in Treasure Island, and The Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere. Other roles around town include Frank in Faith Healer with Uma Productions, Robbie in Scenes From the Big Picture with Seanachaí Theatre and many roles at Strawdog where he is an Ensemble Emeritus. His next appearance will be as Athos in Lifeline’s The Three Musketeersin Spring of 2013.
Marsha Harman (Corwi)
Marsha is delighted to make her first appearance on the Lifeline MainStage, having understudied for The Woman in White last fall, and performed in The Stinky Cheese Man as part of the KidSeries in 2006. As a company member with New Leaf Theatre, she appeared in Arcadia, Burying Miss America, Six Years, and the Jeff-nominated ensembles of As it is in Heaven, The Permanent Way, and The Dining Room. She has also performed with the Plagiarists and WNEP and told stories at SKALD, The Moth StorySlams, and This Much Is True.
Jonathan Helvey (Drodin, Aikam, Unif Boy)
Jonathan is thrilled to be back at Lifeline, where he was last seen in The 13 Clocks and The Mark of Zorro. His past credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night); Timeline Theatre (Wasteland); MPAACT Theatre (Ghosts of Atwood); Red Tape Theatre (Prom Night); Rogers Park Theatre (The Shape of Things); Point of Contention’s Chaos Festival, Chicago Dramatists, Pride Film and Plays, Transit 5 Cincinnati (Is There Life After High School, Cloud Tectonics); and Clear Stage Cincinnati (Rumpelstiltskin). Film credits include (Delusion) By Larry Cohen. Jonathan has his BFA in acting from Chicago College of Performing Arts; Roosevelt University.
Millicent Hurley (Mrs. Geary, Nancy)
Millie is delighted to be back at Lifeline after having played the role of Mrs. Ruddle in Busman’s Honeymoon. She was last seen as Officer Randy Osteen in Superior Donuts at Mary-Arrchie Theater. She played Gram/Mrs. Partridge in Adventure Stage’s Walk Two Moons, Agnes in A Delicate Balance, and Lettice (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination for Principle Actress) in Lettice and Lovage at Redtwist Theatre. At Raven Theatre, her role as Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa garnered her a Non-Equity Jeff Award and After Dark Award for Best Supporting Actress. Millie is an artistic associate of Erasing the Distance Theatre Company and pursues voice over, commercial and film work.
Volen Iliev (Naustin, Buric)
Volen is thrilled to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the first time. He most recently appeared in WAFF Theatre’s The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It or The Train Play. Other Chicago credits include: understudying In Darfur (TimeLine Theatre), The Trojan Women Project(Rivendell Theatre), Fresh Eyes Project (Red Tape Theatre), North Star(Chemically Imbalanced Theatre), and Let X (Nothing Special Productions). He was also the lead of the short film Dispatch, which has been selected to screen at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Volen received his BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois.
Steve Schine (Borlu)
Steve makes his Lifeline Theater debut with The City & The City. He is an Artistic Associate with A Red Orchid Theater, where he appeared in the Midwest premiere of Louis Slotin Sonata, the American premiere of Gagarin Way, the world premiere of Brett Neveu’s The Earl, and Hunger and Thirst, directed by Michael Shannon. Other Chicago credits include: King Lear, featuring Stacy Keach (Goodman); The Cider House Rules, A Going Concern, and Hellcab (Famous Door); Three Sisters (Strawdog); It’s a Wonderful Life(ATC); Othello (Journeymen); and Mad Forrest and Rosa Lublin (Piven), among others. Regional: Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, and Julius Caesar(Lakeside Shakespeare) and It’s a Wonderful Life (Clarence Brown Theater). Steve’s voice can be heard on many radio and tv advertisements. He is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.
Megan M. Storti (Yolanda, Unif Girl, Raina)
Megan is delighted to be returning to Lifeline this season, having just understudied The Woman in White. Chicago credits include understudy tracks in As You Like It at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, as well as performances in A Christmas Carol (Metropolis PAC), Marat/Sade (The Right Brain Project), Romeo & Juliet, (Glass Onion Theater), and Titus Andronicus (DreamLogic Theaterworks). Regional credits include: Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Phoenix Theatre and Putnam County Playhouse.
Eduardo Garcia (Understudy)
Eddie is thrilled to be working with Lifeline on this amazing project. This is his 4th show with Lifeline Theatre and 2nd time understudying. Other credits include The Mark of Zorro, Treasure Island, and Watership Down. Eddie is also a teaching artist in Lifeline’s Education Program.
Graeme Scott (Understudy)
Graeme is currently an intern at Lifeline Theatre and this will be his first appearance on our stage. His previous appearances have been with the Trinity Theater, where he played Lopakin in The Cherry Orchard, Chris in All my Sons, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Horace in The Little Foxes.
Hilary Williams (Understudy)
Hilary is so grateful to be back with Lifeline after a long time away. Her stage credits include work with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (The Walls and These Shining Lives), LiveWire Chicago (Hideous Progeny and The Mistakes Madeline Made), Shattered Globe (Romeo and Juliet), and New Leaf Theatre (Arcadia). She is a proud company member of LiveWire Chicago Theatre, and can also be seen in the novelty folk band, Gretchen & Regina.
Christopher M. Walsh (Adaptor)
Christopher has been a proud member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 2010. The City & The City is his second adaptation. His first, The Count of Monte Cristo, recently opened in Calgary, Alberta. Christopher was a finalist for Deathscribe 2012: The Fifth Annual International Festival of Horror Radio Plays for his one-act, Comparing Notes at the End of the World. He has appeared onstage at Lifeline seven times, most recently as Count Fosco in The Woman in White. Other recent acting credits include The Duchess of Malfi(Strawdog Theatre) and Louis Slotin Sonata (A Red Orchid Theatre). He also performs Shakespeare for student audiences with A Crew of Patches. Christopher will next be seen in Lifeline’s production of The Three Musketeers.
Dorothy Milne (Director)
Dorothy is a Lifeline ensemble member and its artistic director. She has directed more than 20 productions here, receiving a Non-Equity Jeff Award (Director-Play) for Around the World in 80 Days and nominations for Pistols for Two, Jane Eyre, Strong Poison, and Gaudy Night. Dorothy also directs for Griffin Theatre and is involved in the Chicago storytelling scene as a writer/performer and director.
Becky Bishop (Stage Manager)
This is Becky’s first show with Lifeline, though she has always admired them from afar. She has been a freelance stage manager in Chicago since 2006. She has stage managed productions with the Griffin Theatre such as Kin, Stage Door, and Robber Bridegroom, among others. She’s also worked with the Strange Tree Group (Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play), Steep Theatre (Under the Blue Sky), Caffeine Theatre (Under Milk Wood), as well as Dog & Pony Theatre and The Gift Theatre.
Leah Cox (Dramaturg)
Leah graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This is her first production with Lifeline and she couldn’t be more excited. Leah has worked at various theatres throughout Chicago. She also performs with The Lifeline Storytelling Project.
Benjamin W. Dawson (Production Manager)
Ben received his MFA in Technical Design & Production Management from Florida State University. He served as the Production Safety Coordinator with The Santa Fe Opera and as Art Director for several television series with networks like Discovery, PBS, MTV and VH1. In Chicago, Ben has served, among other things, as Production Manager for Zombies Attack Chicago; as Technical Director for Remarcable Theatre’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart; and as the Scene Shop Foreman at Goodman Theatre. He is also currently a Company Member and the Production Manager for Sideshow Theatre Company and the Technical Director for American Theater Company.
Jesse Gaffney (Properties Designer)
Jesse has been working in the Chicago area for over three years and is a proud to be back at Lifeline after working on Pride and Prejudice and Hunger. Elsewhere in the Chicago area she has worked with Silk Road Rising (Resident Designer), Immediate Family, 16th Street (Artistic Associate), Congo Square, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Apple Tree, and Notre Dame Shakespeare Company, among others. Outside of Chicago Jesse worked for Allenberry Playhouse in Pennsylvania, Stages St. Louis, and The Arrow Rock Lyceum.
Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer)
Izumi is thrilled to be working with Dorothy and Lifeline Theatre for the first time. Her design credits include The Kid Thing (Chicago Dramatists and About Face); Stage Door, Spring Awakening, Burnt Part Boys, and Flare Path (Griffin); Woyzeck (The Hypocrites); Moby Dick (Building Stage); Homecoming (Mary-Arrchie); The New Electric Ballroom (A Red Orchid); and The Fantasticks (Porchlight). She is an ensemble member at Red Tape, where she has recently designed Elephant’s Graveyard, Skriker, and Stadium Devildare. She has also worked with Theo Ubique and Chicago Dramatists as a makeup designer and was honored with a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Makeup Design for Cats (Theo Ubique). Izumi received her MFA in stage design from Northwestern University.
Christopher Kriz (Original Music & Sound Designer)
Christopher works nationally as a composer and sound designer. Previous Lifeline designs include The Woman in White, Pride and Prejudice, and The Count Of Monte Cristo (for which he received two Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations for Original Music and Sound Design). In Chicago, Chris has designed for companies including Writers Theatre, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Victory Gardens, and Timeline. Recent Chicago credits include The Whipping Man (Northlight Theatre), The Letters (Writers Theatre), I Am Going To Change The World (Chicago Dramatists), After The Revolution (Next Theatre), and Purple Heart(Redtwist Theatre). Recent regional credits include The Nerd (Peninsula Players), Fall Of The House (Theatre Squared), and the national tour of America Amerique (Jena Company). Chris has received five Jeff nominations and two awards, most recently the Equity Jeff Award for Turn Of The Screw (First Folio). Chris is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
Amanda Link (Movement Designer/Assistant Director)
Amanda is excited to return to Lifeline after assistant directing Pride and Prejudice and appearing in Duck for President, How To Survive a Fairy Tale, Dooby Dooby Moo, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Half Magic. Next up she will choreograph The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes. She is also a proud member of The Lifeline Storytelling Project. Other Chicago credits include work with Griffin Theatre, the side project, The Mill, The Anatomy Collective, Inconceivable Theatre, and Sandbox Theatre Project. A graduate of the Conservatory Program at Second City, she has also performed in many sketch shows at Donny’s Skybox.
Jason Nykiel (Assistant Stage Manager)
Jason has worked all over Chicago on run crews, set crews, and as an actor. He is a recent graduate from Roosevelt University. Past theatres include Northwestern, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Stage 773, Lookingglass Theatre, and ATC among others.
Greg Poljacik (Violence Designer)
Greg has 12 years as teacher and choreographer for stage and screen with over 100 production credits to date. A utility stunt man specializing in all forms of combat, he is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, AGMA, and Asylum Stunts. He has also developed and perfected blood effects for use in several film productions. Additionally, Greg is an Acting/Improvisation coach and teaches at The Second City Training Center in Chicago.
Joe Schermoly (Scenic Designer & Technical Director)
Joe is a set designer, technical director and painter. His design work has been seen around Chicago at Lifeline Theatre (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Mystery of the Pirate Ghost), Griffin Theatre (Flare Path, Punk Rock, No More Dead Dogs, Port, Constant Wife), Strawdog Theatre (Duchess of Malfi, Master and Margarita, Richard III), Sideshow Theatre (Idomeneus, The Ugly One), Eclipse (Beyond the Horizon, Trestle at Pope Lick Creek), and more. He has also designed and built shows in London for The Finborough, Bush and Gate theatres among others. Joe studied set design at Northwestern University and is the Technical Director at Lifeline Theatre and a Griffin Theatre company member.
Phil Timberlake (Dialect Coach)
Phil appeared on the Lifeline stage as Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, the Angel Islington in Neverwhere, Bunter in Busman’s Honeymoon (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Supporting Actor-Play), Prendick in The Island of Dr. Moreau (Non-Equity Jeff Award: Best Production), the Guru/Peppino in Queen Lucia (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Supporting Actor-Musical) and as Gollum/Legolas in The Two Towers. He also coached dialects for Treasure Island, Strong Poison, Gaudy Night, Talking It Over, and A Room With a View. He is an Associate Professor of Voice and Speech at the Theatre School, DePaul University. Phil joined the ensemble in 2006.
Brandon Wardell (Lighting Designer)
This is Brandon’s fourth design at Lifeline, following The Count of Monte Cristo, The Moonstone, and Mrs. Caliban. Brandon is an Artistic Ensemble member with Adventure Stage Chicago and is an Artistic Associate at Steep Theatre. Recent lighting designs include Three Days of Rain (BSTC), Love and Money (Steep), And A Child Shall Lead (ASC), Aunt Dan and Lemon (BSTC), and the US premiere of Harper Regan (Steep). Scenic designs include Six Stories Tall and Holes (ASC), Baal and The Fulton Street Sessions (TUTA), In Arabia We’d All Be Kings (Steep), and Dracula (Building Stage). Brandon earned his MFA from Northwestern University and is on the Faculty at Northern Illinois University.