The Time Warp Trio

Mar 16 – Apr 20, 2019
Saturdays & Sundays at 11am & 1pm

When Joe receives a magical book for his birthday, he and his pals are unexpectedly hurled across time and space. They first arrive in Camelot, a land menaced by an evil knight, a terrible giant, and a fire-breathing dragon. With quick thinking and a dash of courage the newly formed “Time Warp Trio” manages to survive, but the mysterious Book soon thrusts them into further adventures – each more challenging than the last! Save the day with wit and bravery in this adaptation of stories from Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Time Warp Trioseries.

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

Adapted by Frances Limoncelli
Directed by Heather Currie
Based on the book series by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
Print book originally published by Puffin Books

Special Performances
Audio Description and Touch Tour
Saturday, April 13
   Touch tour: 10am
   Performance: 11am

Open Captioning
Saturday, March 23 at 11am and 1pm

Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance
Sunday, April 14 at 3pm

Visit our Accessibility page for more information.

Excerpt from The Time Warp Trio adapted by Frances Limoncelli from Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s book series. Directed by Heather Currie.

Join us any Saturday or Sunday at noon during the run of The Time Warp Trio (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.
  • Jennifer Betancourt (Ensemble)

    This is Jennifer’s first performance with Lifeline and she is thrilled to be making her debut here! Other Chicago credits include: Xmas WarCaptain Steve’s Caring KingdomFight City and Born Ready at Factory Theater, as well as Innovation Nation Live! and Frindle with Griffin Theatre.

  • Delvin James (Joe)

    Delvin is beyond excited to be making his Chicago debut at Lifeline Theatre. A San Antonio native, Delvin has performed all over Texas with the Magik Children’s Theater. Some of his favorite roles include; Marty the Zebra (Madagascar – A Musical Adventure), Snoopy (A Charlie Brown Christmas), and Rikki-Tikki (Rikki-Tikki-Tavi).

  • Drew Johnson (Ensemble)

    Drew is making his Lifeline debut. Chicago credits include: Love Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Flamingo & Decatur (Block St Theatre Co); Turtle (Redtwist Theatre); The Gilded Age (City Lit Theater Company); Crimes of the Heart (Step Up Productions); 25 Saints (Pine Box Theatre Company); The Revenants (WildClaw Theatre); Spark(Adventure Stage Chicago); Richard III (Oak Park Festival Theatre); Henry V (Promethean Theatre Ensemble); Kitchen (Knife & Fork). Regional credits include work with Theater at Monmouth and TheatreSquared. Drew has appeared on Chicago Fire (NBC) and numerous television commercials. He earned an MFA in acting at the University of Arkansas and a BA in dramatic arts from the University of South Alabama, and is represented by Big Mouth Talent. You can listen to his comedy podcast You Simply Must at or wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Darian Tene (Freddie)

    Darian is so excited to be back on the Lifeline stage. Recent credits include: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Writers Theater), Southern Gothic(Windy City Playhouse), You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?(Lifeline Theatre), Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Pegasus Theatre), The Wiz (Kokandy Productions), Give It All Back (Sideshow Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theater), and A Charlie Brown Christmas(Emerald City Theater). She is from Chicago, Illinois and a University of Alabama graduate. She is represented by Gray Talent Group.

  • Brian Tochterman Jr. (Sam)

    Brian is so happy to be warping back onto the Lifeline stage where he’s been seen most recently in You Think It’s Easy Being The Tooth Fairy?Fableous!, and Giggle, Giggle, Quack. In May, he will be appearing in a family-friendly adaptation of Candide at Mudlark Theater where he works as a director and teaching artist. You can also catch him performing occasionally with his improv team, LL Cool Beans.

  • RJ Cecott (u/s Joe)

    RJ is an award-winning actor and proud graduate of Illinois State University (’17) with a B.S. in Acting. Favorite credits include Eric Harris in columbinus (ISU), Leo Joseph-Connell in 4,000 Miles (Steel Beam Theatre), Romeo in Romeo & Juliet (Albright Theatre), Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (HPCP), Prior Walter in Angels in America, Ash in Evil Dead: The Musical (Moraine Valley Community College) and Justin Hammond in After Ashley (Irene Ryan Nomination). Film and Television credits include Blood Moon River and Chicago Med (NBC). Next up: Equus(Albright Theatre).

  • Kayla Cole (u/s Ensemble)

    This is Kayla’s first time working with Lifeline and she is thrilled to be a part of the show! Favorite recent credits include: Bloody Bathory (The Barrens Theatre Co), Much Ado About Nothing (Honest Theatre), Lady Faustus (The Public House Theatre), El Stories: Holiday Train (Waltzing Mechanics), and Trust Falls: A Sketch Revue (The Second City TC). She also performs regularly with her improv team Stable Manners.

  • Anthony Kayer (u/s Ensemble)

    Anthony is a member of the Lifeline artistic ensemble and thrilled to be working on The Time Warp Trio! At Lifeline, he most recently directed Bunnicula, and served as Assistant Director for Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work-Musical). Lifeline acting credits include: Jane Eyre (2014), Lyle Finds His MotherThe Emperor’s New Threads, and Arnie the Doughnut (2011). Other performing credits include work with The Fly Honey Show, Griffin Theatre, The House Theatre, inappropriate theatre co., Lookingglass/Chicago Children’s Choir, Next Theatre, Chicago Shakes, and Steppenwolf. Anthony is an alumnus of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

  • Samantha Behen (u/s Freddie and Sam)

    This is Sam’s first time with Lifeline and she is so happy to work with such an adventurous group of storytellers! Recent credits include: Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s You Never Can Tell (Gloria), Theatre Three’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Cécile), Theatre Three’s She Kills Monsters, Dallas Shakespeare’s Quixote, Metropolis’ A Christmas Carol, Casa Mañana’s Joseph and the Amazing…Dreamcoat and Lyric Stage’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Sam is a proud graduate of Oklahoma City University. Instagram: @samanthasb

  • 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 YouMr. HatchThe Emperor’s New Threads, and Arnie the Doughnut. She directed Lifeline’s The Emperor’s New Threads [2013], 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.

  • Heather Currie (Director)

    Heather has been a proud Lifeline ensemble member since 2013, having most recently directed and co-adapted the musical You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? Other Lifeline directing credits include: Fableous!and Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters. Lifeline Theatre acting credits include: Jane Eyre (2014), One Came HomeDuck for President (2008 & 2012), How to Survive a Fairy TaleClick Clack BOO! A Tricky Treat, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Recent Chicago acting credits include: The Wicked Witch, WOZ: A Rock Cabaret (Victory Gardens); and Lady Montague, BCC: Romeo & Juliet (Along The Way Productions). Recent directing credits: Don Quixote (Mudlark Theater), Madagascar – A Musical Adventure and Junie B. Jones: The Musical (Magik Theatre, San Antonio), and Steel Magnolias (Big Noise Theatre). Heather has been teaching screenwriting in the department of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago since 2004.

  • Tristan Chiruvolu (Stage Manager)

    As a time traveler himself, Tristan often finds himself confused, underdressed, and socially isolated in our present, but Lifeline and the Time Warp Trio team have made him feel right at home. He has previously worked with The Hypocrites, The House Theatre of Chicago, and (re)discover theatre. He also serves as the Production Manager of Potluck Variety Hour, a bimonthly variety hour of new works connecting the personal to the communal. Tristan is a graduate of Northwestern University and was born and raised in Toronto, Canada.

  • Mark Blashford (Puppet Designer)

    Mark is a Chicago-based actor, puppeteer, and musician. He specializes in traditional puppet performance, including: marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, he has studied in Germany, Iceland, the Czech Republic, and the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts Program. He is currently touring his one-man show, Jack & Jill. Instagram: @lankyyankeepuppetco

  • Joe Griffin (Sound Designer)

    Diane is excited to be back at Lifeline where she is a member of the artistic ensemble. Previous Lifeline credits include: You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?Anna KareninaFable-ous!Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, and Northanger Abbey. Regional credits: City Theatre, 1st Stage Springhill, and Boise Contemporary Theatre. Chicago credits: Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista, Rivendell, Citadel, Wheaton College, UIC, and Sideshow.

  • Angela McIlvain (Scenic Designer)

    Angela is thrilled to work with Lifeline Theatre for the first time. Recent theatre collaborators include: Emerald City Theatre, Broadway in Chicago, Piven Theatre Workshop, Cloudgate Theatre, Free Street Theatre, The Theatre School, and Chicago Dramatists. In addition to scenic design, Angela is a scenic painter, designs and fabricates puppets and props, and contributes to art departments for film. She holds a BFA in Scenic Design from The Theatre School at DePaul.

  • Hannah Rodgers (Assistant Stage Manager)

    Hannah is excited to join Lifeline Theatre’s production of The Time Warp Trio for her first professional production! Hannah has been part of many productions at Trinity Christian College including: SeedsThe Actor’s NightmareThe Comedy of ErrorsThe Dear DepartedEmperor of the MoonThe Long Christmas DinnerOur Town, and Andorra.

  • Jenny Pinson (Props Designer)

    This is Jenny’s fifth production with Lifeline having previously served as Props Designer on Fable-ous!Arnie the Doughnut (2017), You Think it’s Easy Being a Tooth Fairy?, and The Man Who Was Thursday. She has also designed props at Emerald City (Hansel and GretelDr. DoolittleCinderellaPeter Pan), Route 66 (High Fidelity: The Musical), Oakton Community College (A Flea in Her Ear,M. Butterfly, and Harvest), Drury Lane Oakbrook (Thoroughly Modern MillieHigh School Musical), American Theater Company (Disgraced), Theater Wit (The North Plan), A New Colony (Rewilding Genius), Steep Theatre (PoshBirdland), About Face Theatre (After All the Terrible Things I DoThe Secretaries), Light Opera Works (Guys and DollsMy Fair Lady), Remy Bumppo (SeascapePygmalion), and A Red Orchid Theatre (Pilgrim’s ProgressSmall Mouth Sounds) as well as many productions at The University of Chicago where she is the Props Manager for the Theater and Performance Studies department.

  • Brenda Winstead (Costume Designer)

    Brenda is excited to be working at Lifeline once again after designing costumes for You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? Her Chicago-area design credits include a Jeff Nominated design for Nice Work if You Can Get It at Theatre at the Center, where she has designed over 50 shows. She has also designed at Light Opera Works, Stage Left, Shattered Globe, Chicago Folks Operetta, Theatre Seven, and Chicago Opera Theatre. Regional design credits include: Peninsula Players, Forestburgh Playhouse, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Black Hills Playhouse and Sierra Repertory Theatre. Brenda is an ensemble member with Stage Left Theatre and has an M.F.A. from the University of Connecticut.


From Chicago Theatre Review

The Past, Present and Future Merge
March 18, 2019
By Colin Douglas


Joe, Fred and Sam are three kids who find they suddenly have the power to travel through time and space to the past, present and even the future. The magical talisman that enables them to accomplish this feat is a birthday gift, given to Joe by his magician uncle, simply called “The Book.” The adventures these three friends enjoy together also provides the added benefit of teaching facts about each era and locale to which they travel. They’re able to learn firsthand from all kinds of famous men and women from history, people who inspire their daily lives.

This new stage adaptation is by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member, Frances Limoncelli. A Jeff Award-winning playwright, she based this world premiere upon the popular series by prolific children’s writer, Jon Scieszka. With illustrations by Lane Smith, Scieszka is the author of hundreds of other award-winning picture books and chapter fiction, such as The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, The Frog Prince and Math Curse, among so many others.

In his Time Warp Trio series, the author once again writes for the reluctant male reader. The books are short, filled with cartoon-like illustrations, and the protagonists are three second grade boys. However, in Ms. Limoncelli’s play, she’s wisely turned Fred into Frederica, nicknamed by the other two boys. With over a dozen titles available, the playwright chose to use episodes from Scieszka’s Knights of the Kitchen Table, Your Mother Was a Neanderthal and the futuristic,  2095 for her adaptation. If the young theatergoer is motivated to relive this story at home, Jon Scieszka’s Time Warp Trio book is conveniently available for purchase in the theatre lobby.

Angela McIlvain has designed a simple, colorful and flexible set that allows Diane Fairchild’s special effects lighting and Joe Griffin’s magical sound effects to produce the illusion of time travel. Puppet designer Mark Blashford has created some imaginative, eye-popping creatures, particularly a flying, flame-breathing dragon; and the many quick-change costumes, designed and built by Brenda Winstead, complete the spellbinding visual effect of the production.

The kids in this play are portrayed by a trio of dynamic, talented young actors. Making his Lifeline debut, Delvin James is a bundle of energy overflowing with charisma, as Joe. His character’s positive self-image and strong resolve contrasts with the young man’s forgetfulness and inability to hang onto the magical Book. He’s a continually engaging actor who humorously accepts the challenges his character faces.

As Fred, Darian Tene returns to the Lifeline stage, after her memorable performance as Dew Drop in “You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?” Here she plays a spunky little girl who’s every inch the equal of her male buddies. She makes a great role model for the little girls in the audience, never playing Fred as a helpless victim, but a go-getter. Ms. Tene has proven, over and over, to be a competent young actress whose appearance in any production promises a powerful performance.

And Brian Tochterman Jr., another veteran of several Lifeline Theatre family productions, is again sensational, this time as the bold and brainy Sam. Remembered for his hilarious performance in “You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy,” Brian plays an impressively intelligent student of science and math, making him another role model for young audience members.

Although the program calls Jennifer Betancourt and Drew Johnson simply the “ensemble,” these two actors are the unsung heroes of this production. They are the hardest-working members of the company, morphing into a multitude of characters, often within seconds. The speed with which they exit, change costumes and wigs, and re-enter again as a new personage is astounding. Both actors become every ally, villain and creature that the children encounter. Ms. Betancourt’s portrayal of a feisty Queen Guinevere, completely decked out in armor, makes the Round Table a female-centric governing body; and Mr. Johnson makes a very funny, if repulsively flatulent, caveman.

Frances Limoncelli’s latest adaption is entertaining, but it lacks some of the sparkle and cohesiveness of her previous children’s plays and musicals. The opening afternoon audience of little ones particularly enjoyed the broad, slapstick performances, as well as the charismatic characters created by this talented cast. Some of the rationale of the kids’ futuristic time travel episode is a bit difficult to follow, but eventually the theatergoer learns to just go with the flow. The topnotch  performances, directed by veteran director Heather Currie, are spirited and filled with fun. The greatest compliment for this production is that it’s true to the spirit of Jon Scieszka’s wonky writing, while inventively providing the wit and whimsy of his time travel sci-fi fantasies.


From ChiIL Mama

April 20, 2019
By Kimberly Robb Baker

This is my second time attending a KidSeries show at Lifeline, and so far they really can’t be beat in terms of creating enriching entertainment that is relevant for my three kids, from toddler to tween.

It was a pleasure to experience the company’s take on The Time Warp Trio, a series of books by Jon Scieszka, artfully adapted for Lifeline by ensemble member heather Currie.

The story begins when Joe gets a book for his birthday from his namesake uncle, a mysterious magician. The book is just as mysterious as the giver, for Joe and his two friends Sam and Freddie (yay for adding some gender diversity where the original story had three boys) find that the book transports them to three very different eras in time.

As if birthday parties weren’t enchanting enough for the young audience, they get to spend some time in King Arthur’s court, with pre-historic humans and woolly mammoths, and a hundred years into the future where the very intimidating robots have a surprising purpose.

My 10-year-old’s favorite part was the prehistoric era—perhaps because the plot centered around a very lax hygiene routine?

We all loved the puppets and costumes throughout—especially a very convincing giant (the farting sound effects were a big plus here), an absolutely gorgeous dragon puppet, and some smaller puppets in the future scene that gave us the “pulled back” view we could otherwise only have in a movie theatre.

The trio, played with full enthusiasm by Delvin James, Brian Tochterman Jr., and Darian Tene, were smart and proactive. There were fun riddles, audience interactions, and plenty of learning opportunities (Did dinosaurs and humans exist at the same time? What is a fulcrum? How can you convince Merlin you’re a great magician?)

My 8-year-old daughter loved the ending best of all. Let’s just say there’s more to mom than meets the eye. Oh, and the book was available for sale in the lobby. The kids were already reading aloud to each other in the car, so score one for the book lovers’ team.