Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Alums Bring Lifeline’s ‘Middle Passage’ to the Stage April 15-June 5

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alums are in the cast and creative team of Middle Passage, running April 15 through June 5 at Lifeline Theatre, located at 6912 N. Glenwood in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.

Ilesa Duncan

Columbia College alum Ilesa Duncan, Lifeline’s artistic director, directed this adaptation of the epic tale by Evanston-bred author Charles Johnson. Duncan also wrote the adaptation in collaboration with David Barr III.

Kellen Robinson

Shelby Lynn Bias

The show’s cast includes Columbia College alums Kellen Robinson ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Stage Combat, and Shelby Lynn Bias ’18, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting.

For tickets, click here.

In Middle Passage, Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed Illinois slave eking out a living in 1830 New Orleans, stows away aboard The Republic, an outbound rigger, to evade debtors enforcing marriage. But his clever escape backfires as the clipper turns out to be a slave ship bound for Africa. Calhoun must choose between a fanatical captain, a mutinous crew, and the Africans seeking escape. Building on a tradition of African American storytelling, this tale challenges perceptions of American identity using a Black aesthetic.