Lifeline Theatre -- Big Stories, Up Close
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The Fellowship of the Ring
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Artistic Ensemble
Board of Directors
Production History

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ILesa Duncan ILesa Duncan Artistic Director
ILesa became Lifeline's artistic director and joined the ensemble in January 2019, where she directed Neverwhere (Jeff Recommended 2018), and Blue Shadow (2010 KidSeries Premiere). A producer, director, writer, educator and theater-maker, ILesa is an avid collaborator on new work. Other directing credits include Eclipsed (Jeff Recommended), Shakin' The Mess Outta Misery (Jeff Nominated), Rutherford's Travels (Jeff Nominated, co-adapter), The Green Book, For Her as a Piano, and Blacula: Young, Black & Undead at Pegasus Theatre; Broken Fences at 16th Street Theater; The Nativity (Congo Square; Jeff nominated); and the Jeff Award-winning Jar the Floor at ETA Creative Arts. ILesa has also worked with The Goodman, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Stage Left, and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio), The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC), and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). As an educator, ILesa has led youth development and arts education programs in Chicago for over thirteen years. She is a past awardee of an NEA/TCG Directing fellowship and a 3 Arts Ragdale's Fellowship. She is member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Director's Lab and the Chicago Director's Lab, and is an associate artist with Chicago Dramatists (where she previously served as education and community engagement director).
Allison Cain Allison Cain Managing Director
Allison was the Executive Director of The Factory Theater from 2001-2008, and the Artistic Director of Studio 108 from 1991-1998. She received her training at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and Columbia College in Chicago and has worked almost exclusively on new work since 1990, in Los Angeles, Connecticut, Scotland and Chicago. Also an actor, Lifeline audiences will recognize Allison from her performances in Johnny Tremain, Crossing California, The Mark of Zorro, Mariette in Ecstasy, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, The One and Only Ivan, and Sparky. She has also been seen in numerous productions with The Factory Theater, Mary-Arrchie, the side project, Griffin, Live Wire, and other fine theaters throughout the Chicagoland area over the past 24 years.
Katie Cassidy Katie Cassidy Development Manager
Katie is thrilled to join the Lifeline staff after moving to Chicago in August 2016 to work with the Publicity team at Goodman Theatre. Previously, she served as the Managing Director of Endstation Theatre Company (located in central Virginia) for two seasons. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Public Relations from Florida State University and has worked at theatres in Orlando and Tallahassee.
Andrés Enriquez Andrés Enriquez Casting Director
Andrés is proud to have been on both the MainStage and the KidSeries stage for Lifeline, having understudied The Velveteen Rabbit and Soon I Will Be Invincible, then appearing in Sparky!, Northanger Abbey, and most recently, Sylvester. Other notable productions in the Chicagoland area include Forever Plaid (Fox Valley Repertory), The Life and Death Of Madame Barker (Red Tape Theatre), Love and Information (Remy Bumppo), The Adding Machine (The Hypocrites), and In The Heights (Porchlight Music Theater). He has also worked with such great Chicago companies as Underscore Theater Company, Strawdog Theatre, 16th Street Theater, and Theater at the Center in Munster, IN. Andrés received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Iowa in 2012. Andrés is also the Music Director of No Big Deal, a Chicago a cappella quartet, and a proud company member of Barrel of Monkeys.
Erica Foster Erica Foster Operations Director & Accessibility Coordinator
As Lifeline's Operations Director, Erica is in charge of all audience services and oversees the entire front-of-house staff. Erica has stage managed numerous MainStage productions at Lifeline, including Watership Down, Neverwhere, Treasure Island, The Mark of Zorro (both the original production and the remount at Theatre Building Chicago), Queen Lucia: A Musical Romp (which she also assistant directed), Johnny Tremain, The Talisman Ring (2005), The Sirens of Titan, The Killer Angels, The Shadow, Around the World in 80 Days, Cat's Cradle and Cooking with Lard. For the KidSeries, she has stage managed Snowflake Tim's Big Holiday Adventure, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, and The Rescuers.
Julie Ganey Julie Ganey Education Director
Julie comes to the Education Director position after teaching in Lifeline’s residency program for 6 years. She served as Director of Education at 2nd Story from 2009–2015, and Outreach Director at Next Theatre from 2007–2011, and she continues to work with students of many ages through the GeNarrations program at the Goodman Theatre. Julie has spent two decades as an artistic associate at Wavelength, an award-winning comedy ensemble that provides professional development for educators nationwide. She has created and led workshops for teachers all over the country on communication skills, using improvisation in the classroom, and professional learning communities. Julie’s bullying prevention program, Stand Up on the Schoolyard, has been presented to students and educators within the Chicago Public School system and across the country. In addition, she has performed in numerous Chicago theatre productions, including her original solo shows, The Half-Life of Magic and Love Thy Neighbor... till it hurts.
Anthony Kayer Anthony Kayer Marketing Director
Anthony first worked with Lifeline while he was pursuing his B.F.A. in Acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, starring as Mr. Bing in Arnie the Doughnut as part of Lifeline's KidSeries. Before graduating, he was also fortunate to work with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival (The Three Musketeers, Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It), Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (Elizabeth Rex), and Steppenwolf Theatre (The March). Since graduating in 2012, he has acted in the Lifeline productions of The Emperor's New Threads, Lyle Finds His Mother, and Jane Eyre (2014); he also joined Lifeline for Monstrous Regiment (understudy) and Soon I Will Be Invincible (understudy), and served as Assistant Director for Northanger Abbey (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work-Musical). Other Chicago credits include work with Next Theatre (Iphigenia 2.0), Lookingglass/Chicago Children's Choir (Sita Ram) – where he utilized his circus training as Circus Captain, Inappropriate Theatre Company (R&J: a techno ballet, (the)Forget_Me\Knot), and The House Theatre of Chicago (The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, understudy). He also had the pleasure of Assistant Directing with Lookingglass/Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Adventures with Aladdin).
Jennifer McClendon Jennifer McClendon Production Manager
Jennifer is a native Chicago theatre artist who received her BFA in Stage Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A former Steppenwolf Multicultural Fellow and Production Management Apprentice, Jennifer has worked as a freelance Production Manager and Stage Manager in Chicago since 2012. She has worked with companies such as Steppenwolf, Remy Bumppo, Theatre Seven, The Hypocrites, Mary Arrchie, and Definition Theatre. Recently, she served as the Managing Director of Prologue Theatre Company during their seventh and final season. She is both grateful and overjoyed to have found a new theatre home with Lifeline.
Joe Schermoly Joe Schermoly Technical Director
Joe has been Technical Director at Lifeline since 2012 and designed sets for A Tale of Two Cities, Midnight Cowboy, Lions in Illyria, The One and Only Ivan, and more. Other Chicago credits include Yasmina's Necklace (Goodman Theatre); Constellations (Steppenwolf Theatre); Hand to God, Samsara (Victory Gardens); Puff: Believe it or Not, Pirandello's Henry IV, Travesties (Remy Bumppo); Naperville, The Watson Intelligence, Mr. Burns, Seven Homeless Mammoths, Completeness (Theatre Wit); Birdland, Linda, Lela & Co. (Steep Theatre); American Idiot (The Hypocrites); Pocatello, Titanic, Spelling Bee, Flare Path, Punk Rock, Port, Constant Wife (Griffin); Stupid Fucking Bird, Idomeneus, The Ugly One (Sideshow); The Seafarer, Lay Me Down Softly (Irish Theatre of Chicago). Joe studied scenic design at Northwestern University, has received one Equity Jeff Award, two After Dark Awards and five Jeff Nominations.
Jonah White Jonah White Master Electrician/AV Supervisor
Jonah is excited to join the Lifeline staff. Recent lighting credits include My Home is Far Away (Piven Theatre Workshop), Into the Woods (Moody Bible Institute), and Shrew'd (First Folio). He is a graduate of Wheaton College, IL.
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6912 N Glenwood Ave, Chicago, IL, 60626
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