Bunny’s Book Club

January 11 – February 16, 2020

Saturdays & Sundays at 11:00am & 1:00pm

RECOMMENDED – “Based on Annie Silvestro’s children’s book of the same title, this Lifeline Theatre KidSeries world premiere, adapted by Aly Renee Amidei and directed by Anthony Kayer, is a joyful celebration of reading and its ability to expand imaginations.” – Chicago Reader

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – “This is the perfect reason for the family to leave their comfortable burrow this winter and see a show that stimulates curiosity.” – The Fourth Walsh

Ever since she overheard the librarian reading outside of the library, Bunny has been enamored with books. But upon reflection, she isn’t sure if animals are allowed in the library. With the help of her furry friends, Bunny decides to share her love for reading and start a book club, but how can they get their hands on those books? Celebrate the joy of reading in this world premiere adaptation of Annie Silvestro and Tatjana Mai-Wyss‘ celebrated picture book.

Ensemble members Anthony Kayer (Bunnicula [2018]), and Aly Renee Amidei (Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters) tackle Annie Silvestro’s new book about a group of friends who are inspired by their local library and quench their thirst for knowledge by starting a book club.

Based on the novel by Annie Silvestro
Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Adapted by Aly Renee Amidei
Directed by Anthony Kayer

Recommended for children 5 and up!

An excerpt from Bunny’s Book Club

Special Performances:
Audio Description and Touch Tour
Saturday, January 18
   Touch tour: 10:00am
   Performance: 11:00am

Open Captioning
Sunday, January 19 at 11am & 1pm

Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance
Saturday, February 1 at 3:00pm
Parent Guide | Social Narrative

Visit our Accessibility page for more information.

  • Tyra Bullock (Mole/Librarian)

    Tyra is excited to make her Lifeline debut! Other Chicago credits include Tubman: Road to Freedom (GreatWorks Theatre) and Everleigh Yours (The Edge Theater). Regional credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park), Lord of the Flies (Oklahoma Children’s Theater), Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (Oklahoma Children’s Theater), and Bring it On: the Musical (The Pollard Theater). Tyra is a proud alumna of Oklahoma City University (BFA).

  • Jose Cervantes (Porcupine/Child)

    Jose is very happy to be working at Lifeline for the first time. Jose earned his B.F.A. in Acting from UIC. He is an ensemble member at The Factory Theater. Apart from The Factory, he has also recently worked with great folks at Griffin Theatre, Eclipse Theatre, and Cuckoo’s Theater. He is proudly represented by NV Talent.

  • Whitney Dottery (Bunny)

    Whitney is thrilled to be returning to Lifeline, where she was last seen as Petey in Bunnicula [2018]. Other recent credits include Love and Information (Trap Door Theatre), Wolf Play (The Gift), Aesop’s Fables (Raven Theatre), and others. Whitney is an alum of Columbia College Chicago and is represented by NV Talent. www.whitneydottery.com

  • Dakota Hughes (Raccoon)

    Dakota returns to the Lifeline stage where she has been seen in Neverwhere [2018]. Other Chicago credits include Lizzie (Firebrand), American Idiot (The Hypocrites), [title of show] (Open Door Rep), Thrones! The Parody Musical! (The Apollo Theater) and Magic Treehouse: Showtime with Shakespeare (Emerald City Theater). Dakota is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where she earned a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance. She can next be seen in Paramount’s production of Kinky Boots.

  • Joe Liolos (Bear/Parent)

    Joe is thrilled and grateful to be performing in his first role at Lifeline Theatre where he was most recently seen as an u/s for Mr. Grumps/Mr. Primm in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. A native of Buffalo, NY, Joe has been acting, doing improv/sketch, and causing a ruckus in Chicago for the last four years. Other credits include: Language of Angels and The Water Children (Cuckoo’s Theater), and u/s roles in True WestThe Heavens are Hung in Black, and In the Heat of the Night (Shattered Globe Theatre). He can also be seen in his Irish improv group SPUDS AND STOUTS at various comedy clubs in the city. Joe received his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Niagara University.

  • Sarah Bacinich (u/s Mole/Librarian)

    Sarah is a recent C.C.P.A. grad thrilled to be making her Lifeline debut! Recent credits include Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Strawdog); Donor Class (NoMads); 12 Ophelias (The Martin); and Refraction (The Impostors). Sarah hopes to one day achieve her dream of being a full-time Cher impersonator.

  • Josephine Longo (u/s Raccoon)

    Josephine is excited to be working with Lifeline for her very first time! She is a Chicago-based theatre artist who has performed throughout the Chicagoland area, Northern California, and Toronto. She is an alumnus of the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Young Professionals Conservatory. Favorite roles include: Thomasina in Arcadia, Madeleine Leclerc in Quills, and Nell Gywnn in Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Most recently she was seen onstage in A.M.Pocalypse (Otherworld Theatre). She also puts her mind to creating theatre works that connect people with history on a personal level, which she began with the show Mistresses and intends to continue with several other projects in the works.

  • Gregory Delany Walker (u/s Porcupine & Bear)

    This is Greg’s first time working with Lifeline. Recent credits include: The Tortoise and The Hare and The Play About Play (Improv Playhouse), Shelter (Otherworld Theatre), Rome Sweet Rome (Q Brothers), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (University of Iowa), The Pillowman (Lifelong Productions, Montréal), and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Concordia University, Montréal). He also performs long-form improv every week with Tick Tock Hitchcock (Comedy Clubhouse). Greg is an alumnus of the University of Iowa (MFA) and Concordia University (BFA).

  • LaRose Washington (u/s Bunny)

    LaRose is excited to be working with this fun and creative team at Lifeline for the first time!  Recent credits include: Happy Birthday, Mars Rover (The Passage Theatre), Countess Dracula (Otherworld Theatre), and Prophet$ (The Factory Theater). She received her B.A. in Theatre from the University of Southern California and is a recent arrival to Chicago! She is represented by BMG Talent.

  • Aly Renee Amidei (Adaptor/Costume Designer)

    Aly is pleased to be adapting and designing costumes for the KidSeries again. Previous KidSeries shows include: adapting and designing Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters and doing costumes for Fabel-ous!  She is a proud ensemble member at Lifeline Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company, and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble. Her costume and makeup designs have been seen at Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre, Irish Theater of Chicago, Magick Theatre in San Antonio, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, Stage Left, Artistic Home, House Theater, Piven Workshop, and Vitalist Theater. She is the assistant professor of costume design at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and her research focuses on designing for new works and re-envisioned classics. Upcoming projects include The Cake (Buffalo Theatre Ensemble) and Loki, The End of the World Tour at Lifeline.

  • Anthony Kayer (Director)

    Anthony is absolutely giddy to be working with this incredible group of artists! He joined the Lifeline artistic ensemble in 2017 where, shortly after, he directed Bunnicula [2018]. Lifeline acting credits include: Jane Eyre [2014], Lyle Finds His MotherThe Emperor’s New Threads, and Arnie the Doughnut [2011]. He also had the pleasure of Assistant Directing for Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work-Musical). 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.

  • Kate Reed (Stage Manager)

    Kate is excited to be working with Lifeline again after most recently stage managing Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile [2019]. Her Lifeline credits include several KidSeries productions: We Found A Hat, Bunnicula [2018], You Think It’s Easy Being The Tooth Fairy?, Arnie The Doughnut [2017], Fable-ous!, Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins [2015]. Other Chicago area credits include work with Griffin Theatre Company, Mudlark Theater, The Side Project, and the Northwestern University Theatre and Interpretation Center. She has a degree in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.

  • Sarah Espinoza (Sound Designer)

    Sarah is an award winning Chicago-based sound designer. Other Lifeline credits include: Midnight Cowboy, Thumbelina, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  In 2015 she won the Non-Equity Jeff award for sound design for The Arsonists (Strawdog) and in 2018 she won the ALTA Award for Outstanding Sound Design for The Displaced (Haven). Some of the productions she worked on include: Borealis (The House Theatre), Damascus (Strawdog), Future Echoes (WildClaw), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (First Floor Theatre), Epic Tale of Scale (Chicago Children’s), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Red Theatre), Going to a Place You Already Are (Red Twist), Night In Alachua County (WildClaw), Diamond Dogs (The House Theatre), You On the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Motel 666 (WildClaw), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Two Pence), and The Last Defender (The House).

  • Caitlin McLeod (Scenic Designer)

    Caitlin is excited to once again collaborate with Lifeline, this time as the scenic designer. She is a costume and scenic designer, puppet enthusiast, and craftsperson. Most recent credits include: Whose Body?, The Man Who Was Thursday (Lifeline), Stick Fly (Writer’s Theatre), Knuffle Bunny (Northbrook Theatre), The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show (Chicago Children’s Theatre), The Silence of Harrow House, The Stranger and The Shadow (Rough House), The River (Boho Theatre), and The Ballad of Romeo and Juliet (American Myth Center, NC)). She also is a co-founder of the Chicago based costume crafts business Craftiga. She earned her MFA at Northwestern University. CaitlinMcLeodDesign.com

  • Jessica Neill (Lighting Designer)

    Jessica is excited to be designing her first show with Lifeline Theatre. Recent designs include: Hans Christian Anderson (Northwestern University), Mamma Mia (Actors Training Center), and Admissions (Theatre Wit). She also assisted on The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at Lookingglass Theatre. As a lighting designer, her goal is to create art through the manipulation of light and shadow to tell compelling stories. She is inspired by music, movement, and everyday magic. Jessica received her M.F.A. in lighting and costume design from Northwestern in 2018. Originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky, she earned her B.F.A. in Theatre from Western Kentucky University. www.jessicaneill.com

  • Jenny Pinson (Props Designer)

    This is Jenny’s sixth production with Lifeline having previously served as Props Designer on Fable-ous!, Arnie the Doughnut, You Think it’s Easy Being a Tooth Fairy?, The Man Who Was Thursday, and The Time Warp Trio. She has also designed props at Emerald City, Route 66, Oakton Community College, Drury Lane Oakbrook, American Theater Company, Theater Wit, A New Colony, Steep Theatre, About Face Theatre, Light Opera Works, Remy Bumppo, and A Red Orchid Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, as well as many productions at The University of Chicago where she is the Props Manager for the Theater and Performance Studies department.

Tickets, https://boxoffice.diamondticketing.com/lifelinetheatre/events/Bunny,
, http://lifelinetheatre.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Bunnys-Book-Club-Study-Guide.pdf, _blank

From the Chicago Reader
Bunny’s Book Club Illustrates the Love of a Good Story
January 14, 2020
By Marissa Oberlander

Based on Annie Silvestro’s children’s book of the same title, this Lifeline Theatre KidSeries world premiere, adapted by Aly Renee Amidei and directed by Anthony Kayer, is a joyful celebration of reading and its ability to expand imaginations. Animals interested in reading could be a challenging conceit, but the production is liberal in its anthropomorphism, with modern costumes only hinting at each character’s animal characteristics.

Bunny (Whitney Dottery) realizes she’s the only one among her furry friends without a “calling” or passion; Mole, Porcupine, and Bear are preoccupied with favorite hobbies like digging, eating, and sleeping. One afternoon she comes upon a librarian hosting a story time outside the library. Her guide into this new world of words, books, and stories? Intelligent and street-savvy Raccoon (Dakota Hughes), who is already wise to the world of the library and the immersive allure of books. Hughes steals the show, playing Raccoon like a New York tough with a hidden well of knowledge, humor, and desire to connect. After the pair hear stories about Mount Everest, Treasure Island, and more, Bunny becomes singularly focused on getting into the library, reading up, and starting her own book club.

Recommended for ages five and up, this one-act drew in younger audience members with physical comedy and direct address on the afternoon I attended. Kids were quick to answer even the most rhetorical of questions, and perhaps that storytelling component could be expanded even further to maintain engagement throughout.