Lifeline Theatre actress-director Dorothy Milne will replace Meryl Friedman as the Chicago troupe's artistic director at the end of December 1998, when Friedman becomes executive producer of Garry Marshall's Falcon Theatre in Burbank.
Lifeline board president Randy Snyder made the announcement Nov. 30, after a search for a replacement.
Milne, who has been a Lifeline ensemble member since 1992, directed Georgette Heyer's Cotillion and The Talisman Ting on the Lifeline MainStage, and 101 Dalmatians, a Lifeline KidSeries production. She has also performed in several Lifeline stagings, which tend to target a family audience.
The Chicago company is devoted mostly to adaptations of works not written for the stage. Its current show, the Madeleine L'Engle family fantasy classic, A Wrinkle in Time, opened Oct. 7 following previews Oct. 2-5 and has been extended to Jan. 10, 1999. It was Friedman's final artistic task at the 16-year-old nonprofit theatre.
Milne is a Chicago-area writer, director and performer with "Sweat Girls," a group of eight monologists who have produced six shows since 1993 (when their I'm Sweating Under My Breasts premiered). They performed in the summer of 1998 in the New York International Fringe Festival. Milne's direction for Lee Blessing's Eleemosynary at Interplay Theatre earned her a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination. At the Famous Door Theatre she staged Cooking With Lard and What Cats Know in the Women-at-the-Door series.
Wrinkle, originally a young-adult book, concerns siblings Meg and Charles, who search for their missing father with the help of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit. Adapter James Sie won a Jeff Award nomination for his buoyant adaptation.
The Wrinkle cast includes Laura McKenzie (Meg), Evan Bregman (Charles), John Cabrera (Calvin), Laurie Larson (Mrs. Who), Stephanie Santos (Mrs. Whatsit), Ian Novak (Mrs. Which) and Larry Dahlke, Alex Gualino, Cherise Silvestri and Diana Simonzadeh.
Friedman's planned summer 1999 adaptation, Jane and Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor (from the story by Stephanie Barron), was scrapped because of her departure.
Also on the 1998-99 Lifeline MainStage season:
Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde (from Robert Louis Stevenson) Feb. 26-May 23, 1999. Official opening is March 3, 1999.
Summer production to be announced, June 11-Aug. 29, 1999.
On the 1998-99 KidSeries:
Bunnicula (from James Howe) Jan. 23-May 30, 1999. Opening Jan. 3, 1999.
The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (a folk tale) June 26-Aug. 29, 1999. Opening June 16, 1999.
Lifeline Theatre is at 6912 North Glenwood in Chicago. Tickets are $10 $18.50. Call (773) 761-4477.
-- By Kenneth Jones