Lifeline’s Crossing California

From June ’07 Spotlight: Lifeline Theatre Company’s new adaptation of Adam Langer’s novel Crossing California is a promising work-in-progress. The talented cast vividly portrays the coming-of-age of Jewish teenagers living in Chicago in the late ‘70s. Many of the novel’s best-loved scenes are well-captured on stage (auditioning for the youth radio show, pelting Munchkins at passing cars, interviewing Peachy Moskowitz), and Katie McLean is a stand-out as precocious “Michelle Wasserstrom,” a high school musical comedy star acting the role of a bad girl.

Unfortunately Lifeline’s small stage and limited resources can’t quite capture the novel’s rich socio-economic tableaux. The title Crossing California describes a demarcation line between comfy bungalows and cramped apartments, but Lifeline’s production never convinced me.

Crossing California runs through June 24. For tickets, visit www.lifelinetheatre.com or call 773-761-4477.

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