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Lifeline Theatre plans Midnight Cowboy, musical Northanger Abbey for 2015–16 season

Written by
Kris Vire

Rogers Park's Lifeline Theatre, which specializes in original literary adaptations, today announced its next batch of main stage and KidSeries shows.

The main stage offerings begin with Miss Buncle's Book (September 11–November 1), based on a 1934 comic novel by Scottish author D.E. Stevenson about a small-town spinster (in her 30s and unmarried!) who publishes a novel under a pen name, drawing inspiration from her neighbors, and must deal with the fallout when it becomes a bestseller and the town's residents start to recognize themselves. Christina Calvit adapts Stevenson's work, with direction by Dorothy Milne.

Christopher Hainsworth will adapt James Leo Herlihy's 1965 novel Midnight Cowboy (February 19–April 10), about a Texan would-be hustler on the streets of New York; it was the basis of the 1969 movie of the same name, which became the only X-rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. No director is yet attached. 

Closing the main stage slate is a new musical adaptation of Jane Austen's comedy of manners Northanger Abbey (May 27–July 17), with a book by Robert Kauzlaric and score by George Howe; Elise Kauzlaric will direct.

On the all-musical kids' side, Kauzlaric and Howe will again team for an adaptation of Mr. Popper's Penguins (October 24–November 29), the 1938 book by Richard and Florence Atwater, to be staged by Paul S. Holmquist. Sparky! (January 16–February 21), with a book by Jessica Wright Buha and score by Laura McKenzie, is adapted from the 2014 picture book about a girl with a sloth for a pet by Jenny Offill and illustrator Chris Appelhans; Amanda Link will direct. And in Lester's Dreadful Sweaters (March 19–April 24), the titular child is cursed with a Cousin Clara who has a penchant for knitting; Aly Renee Amidei and Scott Tallarida adapt the 2012 book by K.G. Campbell.

Also on tap are the annual Fillet of Solo Festival (January 15–31) and a series of concert readings of past Lifeline scripts.

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