Lifeline Theatre: “The Emperor’s New Threads”

Lifeline Theatre’s new production, “The Emperor’s New Threads: A Fashion Statement” is a fun outing for the whole family.

The story, based on the folktale by Hans Christian Anderson, has a decidedly 60s flair with colorful costumes, toe-tapping songs and fun dance routines. The play was adapted for stage by ensemble member Frances Limoncelli, who also directed the production. The witty lyrics and catchy music were written by George Howe, whose past credits include several other Lifeline Theatre KidSeries productions including “Click Clack Moo” and “Duck for President.”

The play features Mike Ooi as the eccentric Emperor who is obsessed with keeping up with his “fashionista” persona. Kacy Ann Smith is delightful as the charismatic “kid” who is determined to help the Emperor see his foolish ways. The scoundrel of the story (because all folktales need a scoundrel) is gleefully portrayed by Anthony Kayer, who along with Amanda Roeder, play a multitude of supporting roles that highlight their diverse talents and skills.

While my 7-year-old was smitten with the groovy emperor and his silly clothes, I was delighted with all the performances, especially Roeder’s hysterical send-up of Joan and Melissa Rivers.

“The Emperor’s New Threads” is light, fun and frothy, but the story also provides an excellent springboard for talking to your kids about appearances and what can happen when you get too caught up in what other people think.


The Emperor’s New Threads: A Fashion Statement” runs through April 28th at the Lifeline Theatre, located at 6912 Glenwood Ave. in Chicago. Be sure to ask about Lifeline’s special “Stories Come Alive” events, which take place at noon throughout the run of the show. 

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