A Wrinkle in Time

EXTENDED through April 23, 2017!
Thu & Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 4pm & 8pm, Sun at 4pm
(No 4pm performance April 15)

“Ambitious and exciting adaptation… Directed with imagination and vivacity… This latest offering by the prestigious Lifeline Theatre is another example of why their productions not only entertain audiences of all ages, but continue to inspire reading and the enjoyment of books.”  –Chicago Theatre Review

“Family-friendly and keenly directed… Lifeline does as remarkable a job in creating a futuristic world full of color and space age lighting as they do in creatively staging special effects.”  –Buzz News Chicago

Ever since her father vanished under mysterious circumstances, Meg Murry’s life has been spiraling out of control. But one dark and stormy night, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which appear and promise to help rescue him from the monstrous darkness that threatens the universe. Join Meg, her extraordinary brother Charles Wallace, their pal Calvin, and a host of extraterrestrial friends and foes as they journey into the heart of a terrible evil in the hope of reuniting a fragmented family. A heartwarming adventure across the stars, in a newly-revised adaptation of the beloved 1963 favorite by Madeleine L’Engle, not seen on the Lifeline stage since 1999.

Based on the novel by Madeleine L’Engle 
Adapted by James Sie 
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric

Produced by special arrangement with Stage Partners (www.yourstagepartners.com).
A Wrinkle in Time ©1962 Crosswicks, Ltd.

Special Performances
Audio Description and Touch Tour
Saturday, March 4
   Touch tour: 2:30pm
   Performance: 4:00pm

Open Captioning
Saturday, March 11 at 4:00pm
Thursday, April 13 at 7:30pm

Visit our Accessibility page for more information.

Highlights from A Wrinkle in Time

  • Jamie Cahill (Meg Murry)

    Jamie is delighted to be working with Lifeline Theatre on another fantastic show. She was last seen at Lifeline as the Velveteen Rabbit in The Velveteen Rabbit, which was one of her favorite roles thus far. Her most recent credit is Ruth Greenberg in The Burmingham Children’s March(Civil Rights Arts Project), where she traveled to schools across Illinois, Indiana, and St. Louis to perform. Jamie received a BFA in Musical Theatre from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

  • Trent Davis (Charles Wallace Murry)

    Trent is very excited to play Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time. Trent made his national acting debut playing the younger version of actor and rapper Nick Cannon in the Spike Lee movie Chi-raq, where he worked with Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Jennifer Hudson, and others. Trent’s other credits include playing a student in an untitled drama series recently picked up by Showtime, produced by Oscar-winning rapper and actor Common. Trent is represented Gray Talent Group.

  • Javier Ferreira (Mrs. Who and Ensemble)

    Javier is thrilled to be returning to Lifeline after appearing in Northanger Abbey. Other Chicago credits: Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop); Another Word for Beauty (u/s – Goodman Theatre); Sweeney Todd(Porchlight Music Theatre); Babes in Arms (Porchlight); La Cage Aux Folles (Marriott); Julius Caesar (Chicago Shakespeare); Lysistrata JonesRipper, and Amadeus (Roosevelt’s Theatre Conservatory). Favorite regional credits: CarouselCatch Me If You CanAvenue QRent (Wagon Wheel Theatre, IN); Sweeney Todd and Titanic (Second Stage Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN). Javier graduated from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts with a Musical Theatre BFA. Love and thanks to Mom. Sui Generis!

  • Marsha Harman (Happy Medium and Ensemble)

    Marsha is delighted to return to Lifeline Theatre after appearing in The City & The City on the MainStage and The Stinky Cheese Man in the KidSeries. Other Chicago credits include Georgie in The Full Monty(Kokandy Productions), The Anyway Cabaret (TUTA Theatre), and Hannah in Arcardia (New Leaf Theatre). Regional credits include Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Cassius in Julius Caesar, and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bakerloo Theatre Project, NY). Marsha earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Drew University and an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from Catholic University.

  • Naïma Hebrail Kidjo (Red Eyes and Ensemble)

    Naïma is a Franco-Beninese actress who grew up in Paris and in Brooklyn. This is her first time working with Lifeline Theatre! Previous Chicago credits include: Rutherford’s Travels (Pegasus Theatre Company); You On The Moors Now (U/S, The Hypocrites); A Big, Big Knowing (Jackalope Living Newspaper Festival); Milkwhite (The Kinematics); The Whole World is Watching (Dog and Pony), and Solo Crowd performances. Regional: How To Be Alone! (Dixon Place, NYC), The Tempest (Yale University), Dracula (Williamstown Theatre Festival). In 2015 she received a BA in Theatre Studies from Yale University.

  • Michael McKeogh (Father and Ensemble)

    Michael is thrilled to be returning to Lifeline Theatre, where he previously appeared as Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in The Killer Angels. Other Chicago credits include: Eddie in Pocatello (Griffin Theatre); Frankie Wild in The White Road (Irish Theatre of Chicago); Hamlet in Hamlet (Oak Park Festival Theatre); Dmitri in Concerning Strange Devices From the Distant West (TimeLine Theatre); Dr. Greenberg in Freshly Fallen Snow (Chicago Dramatists), and in 2014 Michael co-hosted The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s holiday show Welcome Yule! Other regional credits include: Mr. Brown in The 20th Century Way (The Know Theatre, Cincinnati). Michael is represented by Paonessa Talent.

  • Carmen Molina (Mrs. Which and Ensemble)

    Carmen is extremely excited to make her Lifeline Theatre debut. Favorite Chicago credits include: World Builders (First Floor Theatre), Design for Living and Kill Your Boyfriends (Pride Films and Plays), A Doll’s House(Definition Theatre), Heat Wave (Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Heist Play(The Ruckus), and The Skriker (Red Tape Theatre). She is a proud company member of Pride Films and Plays.

  • Glenn Obrero (Calvin O'Keefe)

    Glenn is super hyped to be making his Lifeline Theatre debut. Credits: How We Got On (Haven Theatre, performing u/s); Unto These Hills(Mountainside Theatre); Romeo & JulietColumbinus (SCAD). He is represented by Gray Talent Group and is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design.

  • Madeline Pell (Mrs. Whatsit and Ensemble)

    Madeline is thrilled to be a part of the cast of A Wrinkle In Time for her Lifeline Theatre debut. A recent graduate of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, some of Madeline’s Chicago credits include: Twelfth Night (Three Brothers Theatre), Followspot (The Bridge), and The 39 Steps (CCPA). Regional credits include: Titanic the Musical(Union Colony Dinner Theatre, CO) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Stampede Theatre, CO).

  • James Romney (Chris Henderson and Ensemble)

    James is very happy to be making his Lifeline debut in A Wrinkle in Time. Other Chicago credits include Fly By Night (Theo Ubique), The Merry Widow and Carousel (The Lyric Opera of Chicago), The Distance (Haven Theatre), The ForgetMe_Knot and La Chingada (Inappropriate Theatre Company). Regional credits include A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Man of La Mancha, and Twelfth Night (Texas Shakespeare Festival). James is represented by Shirley Hamilton and is a Graduate of CCPA at Roosevelt University. Thank you to his friends family and to Michaeleen for their continued support.

  • Davu Smith (Charles Wallace Murry)

    Davu is excited to make his Lifeline Theatre debut. He has been actively training in Chicago for five years. Davu caught the acting bug at Provision Theater’s Under the Sea. Some of his other stage performances include Carroll Gardens (16th St. Theater), Mothers and Sons (Northlight Theatre), Harry Potter (House Theatre), and Don Quichotte (Lyric Opera). He was also cast in Lyric’s Porgy and Bess. Outside of acting Davu, is an active Webelo 2 Scout and enjoys playing baseball and golf. His favorite subject in school is History.

  • Vahishta Vafadari (Mother and Ensemble)

    Vahishta is so excited to work with Lifeline after being a fan of their work since moving to Chicago. Recent Chicago productions include: Pygmalion(Remy Bumppo), Bars and Measures (Prop Thtr), Marc Antony in Julius Caesar (Brown Paper Box Co), A Widow of No Importance (Rasaka Theatre Company), and Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oak Park Festival Theatre). Vahishta received her MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University and is represented by Gray Talent.

  • Tyler Brown (Understudy)

    Tyler is privileged to have the opportunity to work with Lifeline Theatre for the first time. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A in Theatre and Dance and minor in Vocal Performance and is now successfully pursuing her career in the Windy City. Credits include Assistant Director for the Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, and Locations for Showtime’s Shameless, as well as performing in Adding Machine (Mrs. Two) and American Idiot with the Hypocrites, ABC’s American Crime, and a solo of the Black National Anthem after President Obama’s Speech in the 2014 Civil Rights Summit. She is thankful to the entire company for bringing her on and trusting her with the task of telling a much-needed story.

  • Anna Civik (Understudy)

    Anna is thrilled be making her Lifeline debut as an understudy in this wonderful cast! Other Chicago credits include Charred (Caroline) at Jackalope Theatre, as well as HairAunt Dan and Lemon, and As You Like It, among others at Northwestern University, where she is a recent graduate of the theatre program.

  • Tom DeFrancisco (Understudy)

    Tom is thrilled that he is involved with A Wrinkle in Time as his first professional acting work out of college! Tom graduated Northwestern University this year with a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a focus in Theatre. After countless hours in student theatre, he is excited to begin his career in Chicago with Lifeline.

  • Whitney Dottery (Understudy)

    Whitney is very excited to be working with everyone here at Lifeline Theatre for the first time! Other Chicago credits include Methe in Watch Me Burn (Idle Muse Theatere), Ruby in Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), Johanna Faustus and American Idiot (The Hypocrites), Open Arms (Collaboraction), and Alexandria in How to Make Love Out of the Unconditional Grey (Gorilla Tango Theatre). Whitney earned her BA in Musical Theatre from Columbia College Chicago.

  • Akua Sarhene (Understudy)

    Akua is excited to be making her Lifeline debut in this wonderful production. Her most recent Chicago credits include Hellcab (Profiles Theatre), Landmark Play Festival (Prologue Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (u/s – Two Pence Theatre Co.), Down the Moonlit Path(Nothing Without a Company), and El Stories (Waltzing Mechanics). She’s also a proud graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign’s Theatre Program.

  • Timothy Sullivan (Understudy)

    Timothy is pleased to work with Lifeline Theatre again. Lifeline credits include: Mycroft Holmes (u/s) and Stamford (u/s) in Miss Holmes. Other Chicago credits include: Arnold Crouch in Not Now, Darling! (Brightside Theatre); Sir Robin in Spamalot (Metropolis); the Duke (u/s) in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oak Park Festival Theatre); Kahless Past in A Klingon Christmas Carol (Commedia Beauregard). Regional credits include: King Arthur in Camelot and Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night (Oxford Shakespeare Festival); Chip in The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee (Red Barn Summer Theatre). He received his BA and BM from Lawrence University and MFA from WIU.

  • James Sie (Adaptor)

    James is an emeritus ensemble member of Lifeline Theatre, where he has written many adaptations, including: Island of the Blue Dolphins (Jeff Citation); Dracula (Jeff Citation nomination); A Wrinkle in Time (Jeff Citation nomination); The Snark-Out Boys and the Avocado of Death; and the original work, The Road to Graceland (After Dark Award). His solo show Talking With My Hands was produced in Los Angeles with The Mark Taper Forum and East West Players. James has also written a novel, Still Life Las Vegas, which was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2015.

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Director)

    Elise has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 2005, where she has directed Northanger AbbeyOne Came HomeA Tale of Two CitiesThe Woman in WhitePride and PrejudiceWuthering HeightsMariette in Ecstasy (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Direction), Arnie the Doughnut, and The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes; adapted The Velveteen Rabbit and Half Magic; and appeared onstage in Miss Buncle’s BookNeverwhereQueen LuciaStrong Poison, and many others. Outside of Lifeline, she directed Irish Theatre of Chicago’s production of Dancing at Lughnasa, has dialect coached numerous shows around Chicago, and appeared onstage at such theatres as the Goodman, Apple Tree, Oak Park Festival, First Folio, and Griffin Theatre, where she received a Non-Equity Jeff Nomination for Supporting Actress for On the Shore of the Wide World.

  • Jennifer Aparicio (Stage Manager)

    Jennifer is excited to be back at Lifeline, and working on her first MainStage production. Previous work with Lifeline has been with the KidSeries, most recently Sparky!. Other stage management credits include work with 16th Street Theater, Teatro Luna, and Steppenwolf Garage. Jennifer also works as a production manager, with credits that include work with Teatro Vista, 16th Street Theater, and Sideshow Theatre Company. She is an artistic associate with Teatro Vista and 16th Street Theater.

  • Eric Backus (Original Music/Sound Designer)

    Eric is delighted to work with Lifeline again after designing last season’s Northanger Abbey. Select sound design and music composition credits include Wolf (Teatro Vista), The Assembled Parties and Red Velvet(Raven Theatre), Apartment 3A (Windy City Playhouse), and Rose(Greenhouse Theater). He has worked with many Chicago theatre companies including Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Steppenwolf. Eric also designed the Off-Broadway and touring productions of SoloChicago Theatre’s Churchill, and the Chicago and LA productions of Thrones! A Musical Parody.

  • Alan Donahue (Co-Scenic Designer)

    Alan has designed numerous Lifeline shows over the last 20+ years. Most recently, he designed scenery and properties for Miss Buncle’s Book for the MainStage and Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters for the KidSeries. He opened a new production of It’s a Wonderful Life in Dollywood in November. In years past, Alan adapted Donald E. Westlake’s Trust Me on This and Adam Langer’s Crossing California for the Lifeline MainStage and Daniel Pinkwater’s Bongo Larry & Two Bad Bears and Eileen Spinelli’s Sophie’s Masterpiece: A Spider’s Tale for the KidSeries. In Spring 2017, he’ll create the environs for Giggle, Giggle, Quack.

  • Kevin D. Gawley (Lighting Designer)

    Kevin’s critical acclaim includes seven Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations and two Jeff Awards for The Island of Dr. Moreau and Jane Eyre, and an After Dark Award for Strong Poison. Kevin’s lighting for CU Ballet’s Nutcracker is showcased on the 2017 Rosebrand Catalog cover. Kevin’s film credits include theatrical lighting design for Were the World Mine. Previous theatrical design collaborators include Lifeline, Bailiwick, Organic, Porchlight, OperaModa, Blindfaith, Theatre on the Lake, Metropolis, Revels Chicago, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Lexington Children’s Theatre, NHSI (Cherubs), UWEC, and Taylor University. Kevin is the Resident Scenic, Projection, and Lighting Designer at University of Louisville.

  • Amanda Herrmann (Properties Designer)

    Amanda is pleased be working at Lifeline again, where she also designed The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! and The Velveteen Rabbit. Other credits include: Mr. and Mrs. PennyworthLife SucksMoby Dick(Lookingglass Theater); The HollowTin Woman (Peninsula Players); Pirandello’s Henry IVFallen Angels (Remy Bumppo); Miss Bennet(Northlight); Naperville (Theater Wit); Balm in Gilead (Griffin Theatre); The Sweeter Option (Strawdog); and The Apple Family Plays (TimeLine Theatre). Amanda is a graduate of Ripon College with a BA in Theater and Art.

  • Andrew Hildner (Co-Scenic Designer)

    Andrew is thrilled to debut with Lifeline Theatre. Previous design credits include: Chicago Folks Operetta, Stage Left Theatre, Mary-Arrchie, Shattered Globe, Oak Park Festival, Cock & Bull, and Georgetown University. Andrew received his MFA from Northern Illinois University, a BA from Carthage College, and studied scenography at the Moscow Art Theatre.

  • Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer)

    Previously at Lifeline, Izumi designed The City & The CityMiss Buncle’s BookLions In IllyriaMr. Popper’s Penguins, and Thumbelina. Recent Chicago credits include: The House That Will Not Stand and A Wonder In My Soul (Victory Gardens), Learning Curve 3.0 (Albany Park Theater Project), Comedical Tragedy For Mister Punch and Diamond Dogs (The House), and You On The Moors Now (The Hypocrites). She enjoys the collaboration and appreciates the opportunities to work on new plays. M.F.A. in Stage Design, Northwestern University.

  • Justine B. Palmisano (Assistant Stage Manager)

    Justine is thrilled to join Lifeline for the first time. She is a freelance stage manager, member of The Hypocrites Ensemble, and member of The Ruffians Collective. Previous work includes Adding Machine: A MusicalAll Our TragicEndgameInto the Woods12 NightsIvywildPirates of Penzance/The MikadoThe Fall of the House of UsherRomeo JulietSix Characters in Search of an AuthorSophocles Seven Sicknesses (The Hypocrites); Ivywild, and Burning Bluebeard (The Ruffians) for the past four holiday seasons. By day she is a Physical Instructor for the Chicago Park District.

  • Dan Plehal (Movement Director)

    Dan is ecstatic to be back at LifeLine after choreographing Thumbelinalast Fall. Locally, Dan was the Movement Director/AD for Urinetown(Boho Theatre), Circus Director for Titus Andronicus (The Home for Wayward Artists), and an understudy for The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare). Regional: Walnut St Theatre, Pig Iron, The Arden, Devon Theatre, Plays & Players, and Theatre Horizon. Television: The Mysteries of Laura (NBC). Dan is Co-Artistic Director of Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre, which tours nationally. He trained at the FLIC Squola di Circo in Torino, the Accademia dell-Arte in Arezzo, and the College of William & Mary.

  • Julia Santha (Movement Director)

    Dan is ecstatic to be back at LifeLine after choreographing Thumbelinalast Fall. Locally, Dan was the Movement Director/AD for Urinetown(Boho Theatre), Circus Director for Titus Andronicus (The Home for Wayward Artists), and an understudy for The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare). Regional: Walnut St Theatre, Pig Iron, The Arden, Devon Theatre, Plays & Players, and Theatre Horizon. Television: The Mysteries of Laura (NBC). Dan is Co-Artistic Director of Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre, which tours nationally. He trained at the FLIC Squola di Circo in Torino, the Accademia dell-Arte in Arezzo, and the College of William & Mary.

, http://footlights.com/media/1598011/lifelinetheatre_wrinkleintime.pdf,

From Chicago Theatre Review

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night… 
March 2, 2017 
By Colin Douglas

Specializing in presenting exciting dramatic adaptations of notable literature for all ages, or “Big Stories, Up Close,” this is one of the many marvelous productions that put Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre on the map. Adapted by Jeff Award-winning playwright James Sie, this newly-revised version of the play that Sie wrote twenty-six years ago, is based upon the much-loved 1963 Newbery Award-winner. This science fiction/fantasy for young adults was written by author Madeleine L’Engle. The book is considered a classic and has inspired an opera, two films (including a new Disney version rumored to open next year), as well as several other theatrical adaptations.

In this new production, directed with imagination and vivacity by ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric, the play opens in the same manner as L’Engle’s story. “It was a dark and stormy night” when 13-year-old Meg Murray is awakened by the tempest of wind, thunder and lightning crashing around her home. She’s not only worried that their century-old farmhouse might not weather the storm, Meg’s understandably tormented by the mysterious disappearance of her father, Dr. Alex Murray, a renowned physicist. Not even the government knows his whereabouts, but he vanished after researching the continuum of time and space in a means of interplanetary travel via something called “the tesseract.” Frustrated by her scientist mother’s seeming lack of concern about her husband’s safety and a school filled with insensitive teachers and students, Meg suddenly finds herself joining forces with her new friend, Calvin, and her sweet, gifted younger brother named Charles Wallace to rescue Dr. Murray from the menacing Black Thing.

A dozen cast members, some portraying several different roles, recreate L’Engle’s stirring story of the battle between good versus evil. Meg Murray is played with spunk and trepidation by Jamie Cahill. In her quest to save her father she’s aided by her wise-beyond-his-years little brother Charles Wallace, played on opening night by a magnificent young actor named Trent Davis (Davu Smith plays this role at certain other performances). This talented little guy is sharp, funny and capable of holding the audience in the palm of his hand throughout this two-hour play. Calvin O’Keefe, Meg’s new, teenage buddy, is enthusiastically played by Glenn Obrero. Meg’s parents are nicely portrayed by Vahishta Vafadari and Michael McKeogh, while bully teenager Chris Henderson, and several other ensemble roles, are played with skill by James Romney.

Several alien characters either help or challenge the children in their quest. Mrs. Whatsit, the youngest of three supernatural ladies, whose lives have spanned centuries and galaxies, is played with humor and intelligence by Madeline Pell. The bespectacled Mrs. Who, who can only communicate through quotations by brilliant minds like Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, Cervantes, and others, is played with swagger and a touch of arrogance by Javier Ferreira. Providing the necessary clues for the children to rescue both Dr. Murray and Charles Wallace is Mrs. Which. She’s played with ardor and authority by Carmen Molina. The jovial Happy Medium, portrayed with comic finesse by Marsha Harman, helps the kids see The Black Thing through her crystal ball and ultimately understand the force they’ll be up against during their intergalactic rescue mission. Naima Hebrail Kidjo turns into the menacing Person With Red Eyes, through whom the malevolent It communicates.

While some of the minor characters and plot elements of Madeleine L’Engle’s young adult science fiction/fantasy have wisely been eliminated, James Sie’s ambitious and exciting adaptation provides enough of the book to dramatize this tale of good versus evil. This latest offering by the prestigious Lifeline Theatre is another example of why their productions not only entertain audiences of all ages, but continue to inspire reading and the enjoyment of books. Enhanced by a versatile, futuristic setting by co-scenic designers Alan Donahue and Andrew Hildner, lit with imagination by Kevin D. Gawley and flavored by Eric Backus’ original music and sound design, younger theatergoers will be on the edge of their seats as this exhilarating saga unfolds before their eyes. A dark and stormy night has never seemed so scary, yet promised such an exciting story of love and hope.

From Newcity

Making the Galaxy Great Again 
March 3, 2017 
By Hugh Iglarsh

Lifeline loops back in time with this “Wrinkle,” which the company first mounted way back in 1990. It’s disturbingly clear why they’re reviving James Sie’s faithful, absorbing adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 Newbery Medal-winning science fiction novel. Her classic tale of encroaching darkness and the need to take sides in the struggle against it could have been written yesterday.

“Wrinkle” blends the religion-tinged moralism of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” with Cold War anxieties about technology and social control. These are embodied in the CENTRAL Central Intelligence agency on Camazotz, a blandly evil, planet-scale Levittown where every child skips rope to the same beat. Pitted against the creepy conformity are the oddball young siblings Meg and Charles Wallace Murry and their outwardly more conventional friend, Calvin O’Keefe. Their goal is to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace’s father—a government physicist whose space-warping experiments have landed him in extraterrestrial prison—and to combat a nameless, shadowy enemy that threatens to blot out the stars, suck the love and joy out of existence and presumably make America great again.

Along the way, viewers of all ages meet the fussy but kindhearted Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, three updated Weird Sisters who support the heroes in their epic quest. We also learn about tesseracts, fifth-dimensional shortcuts that make traversing the galaxy as easy as crossing the street. Among the tale’s myriad mind-blowing places and creatures are some evergreen lessons, e.g., that one’s perceived flaws may be hidden strengths and that liberation is “a most exhilarating experience.”

As is this show, thanks to the taut, energized direction of Elise Kauzlaric; the sets of Alan Donahue and Andrew Hildner, whose scrims and projections turn the small stage into a panoply of exotic worlds; and the costumes of Izumi Inaba, which range from gray flannel suit uniformity to spectacular angelic and demonic manifestations. Not all the performances quite hit the mark (Jamie Cahill could profitably turn it down a notch or two as Meg) but overall this is a tight and well-balanced ensemble, which nails the novel’s tone of cosmic melodrama. Naïma Hebrail Kidjo shines darkly as the contemptuously superior spokes-alien for Camazotz’s deranged, torture-loving maximum leader. Good thing regimes like that exist only on other planets.

From Around the Town Chicago

March 7, 2017 
By Carol Moore


The biggest problem with adapting a classic book like “A Wrinkle in Time” is that people have actually read the book – so they know what should/must be included. I think I read “A Wrinkle in Time” for the first time when I was about ten, so I had expectations. I’m happy to say that Lifeline Theatre’s family friendly production of “A Wrinkle in Time” hit every marker. Fantastical, colorful, a little bit scary, heart-warming, and I loved it!

Lifeline Theatre, a small (99 seats) venue in Rogers Park, is one of my favorite places. If you’ve never been there, you’re missing something really special. They’re unique because every play they do – for adults and for children – is their own literary adaptation.

Over the years, I’ve seen adaptations of many of my favorite books at Lifeline. Historical swashbucklers: “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”; Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”; Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre”; Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”; Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Northanger Abbey”.

They’ve also done adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayres’ Lord Peter Whimsey mysteries, and a brilliant twist on the Sherlock Holmes legend, “Miss Holmes”. Recently, they’ve adapted young adult novels like Amy Timberlake’s historical, “One Came Home”; and “Monstrous Regiment”, set in Terry Pratchett’s Disc World; Austin Grossman’s comic-book style, “Soon I Will Be Invincible”; and my favorite, Neil Gaiman’s fantasy set in London Below, “Neverwhere”.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a delightful fantastical adventure story about a girl named Meg Murry (Jamie Cahill), her uncanny little brother Charles Wallace (Davu Smith or Trent Davis) and their friend, Calvin O’Keefe (Glenn Obrero).

Meg is a misfit who doesn’t have any friends. She’s very smart, but doesn’t do well in school. People think Charles Wallace isn’t all there. Their father has been missing for more than a year and people tell her Mother (Vahishta Vafadari) to move on.

The story starts with that infamous quote, “It was a dark and stormy night.” A hurricane is raging outside, and Meg is afraid her attic bedroom will blow away. When she goes downstairs, she finds Charles sitting in the kitchen drinking cocoa. When Mother comes into the kitchen, Charles’ new friend, Mrs. Whatsit (Madeline Pell), wearing a cloak made out of multiple sweaters, joins them in the kitchen.

Mrs. Whatsit and her friends, Mrs. Who (Javier Ferreira) and Mrs. Which (Carmen Molina), tell the children of a great and evil darkness. They take the children to a planet called Uriel to see the “Happy Medium (Marsha Harmon) who shows them Earth partly covered by a dark cloud.

Then they take the children to Camazotz, where their father is imprisoned. Everyone Camazotz does exactly the same thing at exactly the same time – even the children bounce balls or jump rope in sync. Central Intelligence, which turns out to be an evil brain with Red Eyes (Naima Hebrail Kidjo), controlling everyone on the planet.

The upper half of Lifeline’s stage area is covered by a large random-shaped grid. There are two platforms behind the grid where Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Red Eyes stand. Different sized crates and a few boulders become everything from a table and chairs to stumps in the forest and mountains on another planet.

The children on are on stage for the entire story. Everyone else is part of the black-clad Ensemble when they aren’t playing a specific part. The Ensemble become whatever is needed to move the story – for example, when the children are ‘tessered’, they pick them up and ‘toss’ them through space.

Kudos to Costume Designer, Izumi Inaba, for bringing the book’s descriptions to life. Mrs. Whatsit needs to transform, the Ensemble peels off her cloak made of multiple sweaters revealing an entirely different creature. Off earth, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which wear brightly colored robes, trimmed with gold braid, and funky hats. The people on Camazotz all wear shades of black, white and gray. Red Eyes, the evil brain, wears all white with a vaguely brain-like. red light-up headdress. On another planet, the sightless, faceless creatures are white, shapeless shroud with two or three people inside. One large ‘monster’ which heals Meg she calls “Aunt Beast’.

From Time Out Chicago

Lifeline delivers a thrilling adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved YA fantasy 
March 3, 2017 
By Alex Huntsberger


Actress Jamie Cahill burns with the fury of an exploding star in James Sie’s newly revised 1989 adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel, A Wrinkle in Time. She plays Meg Murry, a young girl with a stubbornness matched only by her temper, who gets tasked by a group of interdimensional beings with rescuing her scientist father (Michael McKeough, worth saving) from a distant planet, Camazotz, that’s under the sway of a great and pervasive evil. Meg is stubborn and quick-tempered to a fault—so much so that these “faults” of hers end up becoming her greatest strength. With Cahill’s performance, you intuitively understand that, more often than not, this is what a hero looks like—angry, rebellious and always ready to fight.

Meg is roped into the mission by her genius (and possibly psychic) younger brother, Charles Wallace (Trent Davis, who alternates the role with Davu Smith), after he befriends the eccentric Mrs. Whatsit (Madeline Pell, great), her quote-spouting friend, Mrs. Who (Javier Ferreira, also great) and the somewhat invisible Mrs. Which (Carmen Molina, completing the trifecta of greatness). Along with Calvin O’Keefe (Glenn Obrero), a popular boy from her school, Meg and Charles Wallace end up as warriors in a great cosmic battle against “The Darkness” — a battle that Mrs. Whatsit, Who and Which — the aforementioned interdimensional beings — have been fighting for many millennia. The cast is unfussily and wonderfully diverse, a welcome sight for a story that screams “universality.”

For the most part, Director Elise Kauzlaric wrangles the story’s fast-moving plot into place and brings its many alien locales to life. An ensemble of black-clad Noh-style performers provide many real-life special effects, which blend well with the visual touches of lighting designer Kevin D. Gawley, costume designer Izumi Inaba, and sound and music designer Eric Backus. The backdrop of the set is a curving plane that instantly captures A Wrinkle in Time’s exhilarating mix of science, religion and fantasy — even if some of the staging that occurs behind it gets lost. The show gets off to a rough start, though, as the actors blow through the play’s early scenes. It’s as though the production is trying to get to all the cool, sci-fi fantasy stuff as quickly as possible. Yet the true pleasures in L’Engle’s story lie in the tight bonds between her characters; the fantasy stuff is nice, but it’s not what has kept generations of kids coming back.

From Buzz News Chicago

Lifeline Breathes Magical Life into Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time 
March 1, 2017 
By Ken Payne

Lifeline Theatre is currently bringing to life the 1963 Madeleine L’Engle award-winning, sci-fi novel for young adults, A Wrinkle in Time. It is the first in a series of five books that follow the escapades of Meg Murry, a thirteen-year-old student whom her teachers see as stubborn and difficult. The story follows Meg’s adventure as she and her younger brother, Charles Wallace (a prodigy child genius), search through space and time for their missing scientist father who has vanished after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract. It is during this pursuit that Meg and Charles Wallace, along with along with school friend, Calvin O’Keefe, run into a myriad of characters that get stranger and stranger along the way.

Before long they find out their true enemy is a bodiless brain called IT, who controls the planet Camazotz and communicates through The Man with Red Eyes. IT’s mission is to robotize everyone by removing their free will. At the same time, another evil force lurks throughout the universe that is only known as The Black Thing. A tall order for the trio of children to conquer on their own, help comes to them in the form of the three Mrs. W’s – Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which – each of whom offers a special power, or insight, in their fight to save their father. It is an exploit where the impossible becomes possible and courage and love proves to be the strongest force of all.

Lifeline brought this classic story to the stage first in 1990 based on the adaptation of James Sie. It returned in 1998 and is back today, nineteen years later. Probably not the easiest story to adapt for the stage, Lifeline does a remarkable job in creating a futuristic world full of color and space age lighting as they do in creatively staging special effects such as flying through time. The set is skillfully designed to give us the appearance of being lost in the dark vastness when needed, or to find ourselves light years away on a strange planet in a strange universe. Finely-crafted original costumes and hi-tech sound effects sprinkle the final touches in fashioning this ultramodern world we are thrust into for two hours.

Meg Murry needs an exterior that is defiant and bold, though underneath she is smart, confident and caring. Jamie Cahill is able to capture these qualities to give us a believable Meg, for without the play does not work. Cahill is bratty when called for, rebelliously shouting to get her way, she is appropriately emotional as she longs for her father and she is convincing as a teen who would be curious and astonished as a journey such as hers unfolds.

Trent Davis took on the role of Charles Wallace for the play’s opener, taking turns during its run with Davu Smith also cast for the role. Davis exhibits some mature acting chops for such a young man, impressing the audience with his fitting facial expressions, natural line delivery and comic timing. Rounding out the well-cast triad of adventurous kids is Glenn Obrero as Calvin O’Keefe, who is fun to watch as the eldest of the three, kind of taking on a big brother role.

Though his role wasn’t as expanded as many others in this production, Michael McKeogh still leaves an impression as Meg and Charles Wallace’s father, persuasively revealing the father-like qualities any kid would want to have in their own parents. Each of the three Mrs. W’s adds their own spark whether by oddities in their own character or in humorous musings with each other or the children – Mrs. Whatsit (Madeline Pell), Mrs. Who (Javier Ferreira) and Mrs. Which (Carmen Molina). Slightly changing from the novel, The Man with Red Eyes becomes known simply as Red Eyes, and is fiercely played by Naima Hebrail who towers over the stage and crowd with her commanding voice and tremendous presence.

If unfamiliar with Madeline L’Engle’s novel, the stage version is easy enough to follow and enjoy as a new adventure. However, this production might be a bit more special for those who have read the book as we get to see an imaginative recreation of a story many of us have held so close to our hearts as young readers opened up to a new world.

Family-friendly and keenly directed by Elise Kauzlaric, A Wrinkle in Time is a true time traveling quest for some of us to fondly reminisce and for some of us to experience its magic for the first time.

From the Chicago Tribune

March 1, 2017 
By Chris Jones

“As played by talented youngsters Jamie Cahill and Trent Davis, those adventurous siblings — who must undergo all kinds of tests of their character and fortitude — are the highlight of director Elise Kauzlaric’s ambitious new production of a James Sie adaptation that Lifeline first produced in its North Side home in 1990 (back then, the kids were played by adults). For some, perhaps, the tale has achieved a new relevance as enlightened kids tackle the great Orwellian forces of darkness — the so-called Central Central Intelligence where a kind of placid uniformity has been imposed, sanding off the edges of despair and happiness. Meg and Charles are smart enough to figure out that this will not do at all.”

From PerformInk

March 1, 2017 
By Simone Nabicht

“The source material is quite involved, but Sie has cut it down while still capturing the emotion and light humor of the novel. Directed by Elise Kauzlaric, and with a runtime of two hours, this adaptation has enough time to cover the story without leaving many holes… Mrs. Whatsit’s metamorphosis into a character with long, colorful wings was a particularly effective moment… The production is well illustrated by Kevin D. Gawley’s lighting design, culminating in a beautiful final moment for this beautiful story of good against evil.”

, http://boxoffice.printtixusa.com/lifelinetheatre/eventcalendar,
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, http://lifelinetheatre.com/pdf/study_guides/AWrinkleinTime_study_guide.pdf,