Celebrating 15 years of family theatre, Chicago's Lifeline Theatre continues its 1998 season of four unique works plus two shows specifically for children. Finishing its scheduled run this weekend, Mar. 15, is a dance, acrobatic and puppet adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat. The show opened Feb. 4.
Ann Boyd (Weetzie Bat) directs this adaptation by Karen Tarjan, a Jeff Citation-winning choreographer and movement director. "It became clear to me," she said in a statement, "that Gogol's writing is full of movement. Naturally, movement became as much a part of the script as anything else."
Based on an 1842 short story, The Overcoat tells of a lowly clerk robbed of his new, warm and beloved jacket. After receiving no help from the authorities, Akakievich dies in misery, but his spirit returns to wreak comic revenge on his oppressors.
Starring in the show are Boyd and Tarjan, alongside veteran Chicago performers Scott Cummins, Matt Kozlowski, Julia Neary and Steve Totland. Designing the show are Geoffrey M. Curley (set/costumes), Gregg Essex (lighting) and Kathy McCullough (puppets).
* Upcoming shows at Lifeline:
The lives of three generations of Native-American women will be examined in Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, adapted by Meryl Friedman, April 3-May 31, opening April 8.
In the comedy Cotillion, (June 17-mid-Aug., opening June 17), Kitty must choose between poverty and marrying one of her cousins. While enjoying the temporary high life, will she fall in love? Christina Calvit adapts Georgette Heyer's book.
The first show in Lifeline's KidSeries series is a play by Virginia Lee Burton, musically adapted by Eric Lane Barnes, that tells of "the triumphs and adventures of Mike Mulligan and his loyal steam shovel, MaryAnn." Appropriately enough, the show is called Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel. (Jan. 15-Mar. 22, opening Jan. 17).
Lois Lowery's Anastasia Krupnik follows, Apr. 23-June 28, opening Apr. 25. Ten year old Anastasia is confused; not only must she deal with teachers and boys, her parents are about to have a new baby.
For tickets and information on shows at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 North Glenwood Ave., call (773) 761-4477.
-- By David Lefkowitz