Arnie The Doughnut
Oct 21 – Nov 26, 2017 
Saturdays & Sundays at 11am & 1pm

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! An adaptation that truly satisfies… directed with captivating cleverness… a memorable, toe-tapping score… this musical for young audiences is just plain delicious.”  –Chicago Theatre Review

RECOMMENDED! Lifeline’s current production is a delight”  –Chicago Reader

Arnie, a loveable chocolate-frosted, rainbow-sprinkled doughnut, is the happiest pastry in the bakery when he’s chosen to be taken home by a new owner. But when mild-mannered Mr. Bing tries to eat the unsuspecting Arnie, both are in for the surprise of their lives. Man and doughnut are drawn into a sugar-fueled existential crisis as they work to redefine their relationship while trying to outwit the meddlesome President of the Cozy Confines Condo Community. Join Arnie on a zany quest to prove that he’s more than just delicious – and that friends come in all shapes and sizes – in this hit musical adaptation of the 2003 book that kicked off the beloved series by Laurie Keller.

Recommended for kids 5 and up. Children under 2 are not permitted.

Based on the book by Laurie Keller 
Adapted by Frances Limoncelli 
Music & Lyrics by George Howe 
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric 
Performed by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Special Performances
Audio Description and Touch Tour
Saturday, November 4
   Touch tour: 10am
   Performance: 11am

Open Captioning
Saturday, October 28 at 11am and 1pm

Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance
Sunday, November 5 at 3pm
Social Narrative | Parent Guide

Visit our Accessibility page for more information.

Excerpt from Arnie the Doughnut. Music & Lyrics by George Howe

Join us any Saturday or Sunday at noon during the run of Arnie The Doughnut (following the 11am show, or before the 1pm show) for our Stories Come Alive! Hour.An interactive storytelling session with on-your-feet theatre games exploring the book behind the play — all designed to make positive connections between your children and literature that will last a lifetime.Only $5 per child for the workshop! Reservations are recommended (though not required).
Contact the box office at 773-761-4477 for more information.
  • Juanita Andersen (Mrs. Plute/French Cruller)

    Juanita is thrilled to return to Lifeline where she was last seen in Sparky!. Other recent credits include In To America (Griffin Theatre) and Diary of a Worm (Emerald City Theatre). Juanita is also a Barrel of Monkeys company member, in addition to being a Spokane, WA native and Northwestern University graduate.

  • Maddie Dorsey (Powdered Doughnut/Sheila)

    Maddie is so excited to be making her Chicago debut with Lifeline Theatre! She is a recent graduate from Roosevelt University (Chicago College of Performing Arts) with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Some recent credits include Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Legally Blonde (Serena), and Lippa’s Wild Party.

  • David Gordon-Johnson (Mr. Bing)

    David returns to Lifeline where he understudied Giggle, Giggle, Quack. Other Chicago credits include Little Miss Sunshine (Chicago Theatre Workshop); The Most Happy Fella (Theo Ubique); A Christmas CarolOrdinary Days (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre); It’s a Wonderful Life(Metropolis); Tug of War: Civil Strife (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (First Folio Theatre). He has also worked regionally at Indiana Festival Theatre, Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, Cardinal Stage Company, and Cincinnati Opera.

  • Khloe Janel (Jelly Doughnut/Ronnie)

    Khloe is excited to make her Lifeline debut! She is an actor, singer, and award-winning poet. Recent credits include 24 Words: The Musical(Steppenwolf Theatre), A Charlie Brown Christmas (Broadway Playhouse), and El Stories: Heroes (Waltzing Mechanics @ Greenhouse Theater). She recently co-starred on an episode of Empire and will appear as a principal role on the Netflix show Easy in the fall.

  • Jared Rein (Arnie)

    Jared is thrilled to be making his debut at Lifeline as a chocolate-frosted, rainbow-sprinkled doughnut. Past credits include The Polar Express Ridewith Warner Bros Inc, The Bardy Bunch and The Addams Family at The Mercury Theatre, and Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Love to all the amazing doughnuts that fill his life with jelly.

  • Madison Briar (Understudy: Jelly Doughnut/Ronnie)

    Madison recently graduated from CCPA with her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. She has recently appeared in Around the World in 8 Plays with the company Theatre-Hikes. Other favorite credits include Middletown(CCPA), Batboy (Lake City Playhouse), and Into the Woods (Lake City Playhouse). She would like to thank her roommates Jessie and Gia for their continued love and support.

  • Whitney Dottery (Understudy: Powdered Doughnut/Sheila)

    Whitney is happy to be working with Lifeline for the second time. She was last involved in A Wrinkle in Time last season. Other work in Chicago includes Ruby in Chicago Theatre Workshop’s Wicked City and various shows with The Hypocrites. She would love to thank her family for all their love and support and hopes you enjoy the show!

  • Rebecca Marowitz (Understudy: Mrs. Plute/French Cruller)

    Rebecca is so excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre! She just graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. She was recently a company member at the Red Barn Summer Theatre where she did Lend Me a Tenor (Maggie) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Christine Colgate). Other credits include Cabaret(Fraulein Kost), The Baker’s Wife (Denise), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mustardseed). Love to her family and friends!

  • Max Weinberg (Understudy: Mr. Bing)

    Max is excited to be making is Lifeline debut. Recently, Max has been seen in The Rover (BYOT Productions), Roast of Ebenezer Scrooge(Chicago Theatre Works), and Altar Boyz (Cult Camp Productions). Additionally, he has taken part in several Children’s Theatre productions at The Majestic Theatre and New Century Theatre in Western Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in Acting from UIC and continues his studies with David Weber at Stoop Feast Theatre.

  • David Wiesenhahn (Understudy: Arnie)

    David is excited to be a part of his first production with Lifeline. Other credits include Blue Nativity at Quest Ensemble Theatre. He is a graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where he received his musical theatre degree (BFA).

  • Frances Limoncelli (Adaptor)

    Frances has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 1995 and is the adaptor of Mrs. CalibanWhose Body?Strong Poison (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), Gaudy Night (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), and Busman’s Honeymoon (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation). For Lifeline’s KidSeries she adapted Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch and The Emperor’s New Threads with Arnie‘s composer/lyricist George Howe. She directed Lifeline’s Simple Jim And His Four Fabulous FriendsThe Story Of FerdinandMiss BiancaHalf MagicCooking with Lard, and the original musical Queen Lucia. Onstage at Lifeline she is best remembered as Chester the Cat in Bunnicula and the title role in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Frances is the Managing Artistic Director for The Magik Theatre in San Antonio, TX.

  • George Howe (Composer & Lyricist)

    George is an award-winning composer/lyricist and a familiar face at Lifeline Theatre. He composed the score for Lifeline’s recent musical adaptation of Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Award: Best New Work-Musical). George has written the songs for many Kidseries shows, including the five musicals in the Click, Clack, Moo series; as well as Mr. Popper’s PenguinsLyle, Lyle, CrocodileSomebody Loves You, Mr. HatchThe Emperor’s New Threads; and 2011’s hit Arnie the Doughnut, which went on to be performed at the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). His musical Queen Lucia premiered at Lifeline and received a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best New Musical in 2006.

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Director)

    Elise has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 2005, where she has directed A Wrinkle in TimeNorthanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Direction), One Came HomeA Tale of Two CitiesThe Woman in WhitePride and PrejudiceWuthering HeightsMariette in Ecstasy (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Direction), Arnie the Doughnut(2011), and The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes. She adapted The Velveteen Rabbit and Half Magic for Lifeline’s KidSeries and has appeared onstage in Miss Buncle’s BookNeverwhereQueen LuciaStrong PoisonMrs. Piggle WiggleBunnicula, and many others. Elise directs, dialect coaches, and acts around town and is also a member of the adjunct faculty at The Chicago College of Performing Arts.

  • Kate Reed (Stage Manager)

    Kate is excited to be working with Lifeline again after most recently stage managing Her Majesty’s Will for the MainStage and Fable-ous! for the KidSeries. Previously at Lifeline, she has worked on Fillet of Solo 2015 and 2016, Northanger AbbeyLester’s Dreadful SweatersMr. Popper’s PenguinsSoon I Will Be InvincibleOne Came HomeJane Eyre, and Monstrous Regiment. Her other Chicago area credits include work with The Side Project, the Northwestern University Theatre and Interpretation Center, and The Fine Print Theatre Company. She has a degree in Performance Studies from Northwestern.

  • Eric Backus (Sound Designer)

    Eric is excited to return to Lifeline, where previous designs include A Wrinkle in Time (Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination), and Northanger Abbey. Other recent sound design and composition credits include Becky Shaw (Windy City Playhouse), Beauty’s Daughter (American Blues Theater), American Hero (First Floor Theater), The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), and The Assembled Parties and Red Velvet (Raven Theatre). 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. To hear samples of his music, please visit

  • Becca Jeffords (Lighting Designer)

    This is Becca’s third design at Lifeline, where she also worked on Soon I Will Be Invincible and Sparky!. Some Chicago credits include lighting design for Porchlight Music Theatre, Raven Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, About Face Theatre, Chicago Fringe Opera, The New Colony, Steep, and Redmoon. Other credits include Cherry Lane theatre of NYC and the NYC Fringe Festival. Becca received her B.F.A. in Production Design from Columbus State University and her Masters in Lighting Design from Northwestern University. More information about her work can be found at

  • Sarah Lewis (Scenic Designer)

    Sarah is thrilled to return to Lifeline, where she designed Northanger Abbey. Other recent credits include The 39 Steps (Buffalo Theatre Ensemble), Fight City (The Factory Theater), and The Snow Queen(Mudlark Theater). Her work has been seen at Pride Film & Plays, JCC Mayer Kaplan, Pegasus Theatre, Piccolo Theatre, and Emergent Theatre. Recent assistant work includes Grizzly Mama (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble) and It’s a Wonderful Life (Showstreet Palace Theatre, Dollywood, TN). Sarah currently works as the charge scenic artist at Lookingglass Theatre Company and assistant charge scenic artist at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

  • Jenny Pinson (Properties Designer)

    This is Jenny’s second show with Lifeline, having previously served as props designer on Fable-ous!. She has also designed props at Emerald City (Hansel and GretelCinderella); Route 66 (High Fidelity); Drury Lane Oakbrook (Thoroughly Modern MillieHigh School Musical); American Theater Company (Disgraced); Theater Wit (The North Plan); A New Colony (Rewilding Genius); A Red Orchid (Pilgrim’s Progress); Steep (Posh); About Face (After All the Terrible Things I Do); Light Opera Works (Guys and DollsMy Fair Lady); Remy Bumppo (SeascapePygmalion), and many productions at The University of Chicago, where she is the Props Manager for the Theater and Performance Studies department.

  • Rachel Sypniewski (Costume Designer)

    Rachel is thrilled to be returning to Lifeline after previously designing SylvesterMiss Holmes, and Midnight Cowboy. Among her favorite Chicago credits are The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Trap Door, Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Costume Design); London Wall (Griffin, Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Costume Design); Titanic: The Musical (Griffin, Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Costume Design); La Bete (Trap Door, Non-Equity Jeff Award: Costume Design); Ragtime (Griffin); Into the Beautiful Northand Merchild (16th Street); The Woman in Black (WildClaw); Phadre (Trap Door). Rachel is the resident costume designer for Trap Door, an artistic associate with 16th Street Theater, and a company member with the Factory.

  • David Zizic (Music Director)

    David is grateful for the opportunity to work on Arnie, his first show at Lifeline. David is Director of Music & Theatre at Virtuoso Performing Arts. In that capacity, he has had the pleasure of teaching many acting, voice, and musical theatre students through the years, and has administered the music and theatre programs. He also works at Northbrook Theatre as Music Director and as instructor for music & theatre workshops. David is the Music Director at Bethany Union Church of Chicago. Performing credits include shows with Theatre at the Center, Light Opera Works, Imagination Theatre, Bailiwick, and Illinois Theatre Center.

From Chicago Theatre Review

Just Plain Delicious Fun 
October 25, 2017 
By Colin Douglas


Laurie Keller’s deliciously imaginative series of beginning chapter books for young children, delightfully illustrated by the author, herself, is being brought to life in the famous Rogers Park family theatre. Beginning its 35th season, multi Jeff Award-winning ensemble member Frances Limoncelli has written an adaptation that truly satisfies and puts a smile on every face. Capturing all the wit, wisdom and whimsy of this scrumptious, contemporary classic for kids, here’s a wonderful tale of friendship, learning to adapt to change and just being yourself.

Directed with captivating cleverness by Elise Kauzlaric, the 60-minute one-act also features a memorable, toe-tapping score by George Howe. Some of his songs include “Doughnuts Are Made for Eating,” “I Want to Be More Than Delicious,” “Play With Your Food,” “Quite a Bumpy Ride” and the thoroughly infectious ear worm, “Sunshiny Goodness.”

The production features a kid-friendly scenic design, inspired by the book’s expressionistic illustrations, and rendered three-dimensional in Sarah Lewis’ colorful backdrops and adaptable set pieces. Jenny Pinson’s imaginative props add to the fantasy of this story, while Rachel Sypniewski’s extraordinary costumes and puppets are sparkling and mouthwateringly magical. She’s built a fully-baked wardrobe that, among other costumes, creatively replicate four different life-size confectionary, deep-fried treats.

The five member cast, several of whom play multiple roles, is a sweet ensemble of talent. Juanita Andersen masterfully plays both an obnoxiously pompous French Cruller, as well as nasty, antagonistic Mrs. Plute, the overbearing, rule-obsessed President of the condo association. Maddie Dorsey is wonderful as the plucky Powdered Sugar Doughnut, and also the moustachioed Baker and Sheila, a young condo tenant who’s been terrorized by Mrs. Plute. Khloe Janel is kind and endearing as the jolly Jelly Doughnut and optimistic little Ronnie, another condo tenant.

David Gordon-Johnson makes a tastefully titillating Mr. Bing, a shy young man who one morning decides to break with his traditional plain friedcake and purchase a new kind of doughnut for breakfast. Once he recovers from the shock of having bought a talking doughnut, Mr. Bing becomes good friends with his purchase.

But the real star of this musical comedy is Arnie the Doughnut, brought to sparkling life by newcomer Jared Rein. This actor is making his auspiciously delicious debut at Lifeline playing the personable, rainbow-sprinkled, chocolate-frosted treat. Mr. Rein is very likable, easy to understand and very talented, as is the entire cast. Whether singing about the ingredients that result in a great doughnut, making new friends or solving problems, this cast, led by the Jared Rein, wins over their young audience in song and dance. In a word, this musical for young audiences is just plain delicious.

From Chicago Reader

October 25, 2017 
By Aimee Levitt


Can a rainbow-sprinkled doughnut and a rules-loving man find happiness together without one eating the other or without both running afoul of the overzealous condo board president? These are the central questions of Frances Limoncelli’s adaptation of Laurie Keller’s children’s book, and while some of the solutions defy basic logic, who really cares? Doughnuts make everything better! Lifeline’s current production is a delight, from George Howe’s songs to Rachel Sypniewski’s doughnut costumes, and especially Juanita Andersen’s performance as the evil condo board president and the French Cruller.