Anita Deely lands three roles in one Lifeline play
‘The Woman in White’
at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago
7:30 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays; 4 and 8 p.m., Saturdays; and 4 p.m., Sundays; Sept. 20 - Oct. 28. Previews at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 14 and 8 p.m., Sept. 15
$20 - $40
(773) 761-4477, www.lifelinetheatre.com
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:42PM
Anita Deely has always been impressed by Lifeline Theatre’s work. That’s why the Westchester native agreed to take on three roles in their production of “The Woman in White.”
“This is my first show at Lifeline but, of course, like every other actor in the city, I’ve been going to their shows for years,” Deely said. “I’ve always admired their work because actors get to show some range and do a lot of different things.”
“The Woman in White” is an original adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ 1859 mystery novel by Lifeline ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric. It is the tale of Laura, an unhappily married young heiress, who is in love with a starving artist. A shadow hangs over Laura because of her resemblance to a mysterious woman, who always wears white. The artist tries to rescue her, with the help of her sister, but manipulative men stand in his way.
Deely plays Mrs. Clements, “an older kind woman,” the actor said. “She is the caretaker for Anne Catherick, who is the woman in white. Anne needs a lot of care so it’s a busy job.”
She also plays Eleanor Fosco, the wife of devious Count Fosco. “She’s a lot of fun,” Deely said. “She is kind of conniving with her husband, who is the main villain.”
Her third role is as a secretary who primarily hands props to the main character.
Deely is enjoying the fact that she gets to use two different accents in this play—Hampshire for Mrs. Clements and standard British for Eleanor Fosco. “It’s a lot of fun to be able to flex like that—to kind of show your range and your training,” Deely declared.
Using different actions onstage is not a problem for the busy actor. “Chicago is a place that likes to do a lot of Irish and English plays,” she explained. “You have to have a good accent if you want to be considered.” In addition, Deely has served as a dialect coach on productions for Strawdog Theatre Company, where she is an ensemble member, as well as Steep Theatre Company and A Red Orchid Theatre.
Although she’s a Chicago resident now, the Nazareth Academy graduate said, because her mother lives in Westchester, “I still think of it as my hometown.”
Deely performed in plays at Nazareth and also appeared in shows at Circle Theatre in Forest Park during her years in high school and at Illinois State University, where she earned a theater degree. “That’s where I got my start,” she said.
After college, Deely moved into the city, joining Strawdog’s ensemble in 2001. In addition, she has performed with A Red Orchid, BackStage and Noble Fool theaters.
Although she appeared in musicals while in high school and college, Deely focuses her professional career on straight plays. “There’s actually real singers in Chicago,” she joked.
Deely admitted that she wasn’t familiar with “The Woman in White” before she accepted the role. “But it has a huge following,” she said. “It’s the first real detective story. A lot of our detective stories are based on it.”
She reported that, a couple of years ago, Lifeline had a huge hit with “The Moonstone,” another Wilkie Collins mystery, also adapted by Robert Kauzlaric. “And this is the more popular title from Wilkie Collins,” Deely said. “It’s really exciting to do something that is so highly regarded and had such an influence.”~