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Added performance! Saturday, 6/23 at 2pm

The Fantasticks

book and lyrics by Tom Jones
music by Harvey Schmidt
Music Direction by Mary Chun
Stage Direction by Elly Lichenstein

$38/$45 at the door  General admission
$35/$40 at the door  Seniors 62 and over
$30/$35 at the door  Under 30 & Military
$25/$30 at the door  Youth under 18

There’s always time to remember this romantic fable about a boy, a girl, their two fathers and a love that grows with each season. Since its premiere in 1960, this romantic charmer has been enchanting audiences everywhere. At the heart of the longest-running musical in the world is a timeless fable of love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time.

The Fantasticks is produced in loving memory of Stephen Walsh, (1956-2018):
Shimmering baritone, beloved stage colleague, Fella’s Tony, Fiddler’s Tevye

Read the article on our production in the Argus Courier!

Funding provided by Sponsors Circle Members Sandra O'Brien and Frank Schomer - Remembering Mary Lou. Additional support provided by Buffington Clay-Miller


The Narrator/El Gallo

Sergey Khalikulov

Luisa Bellomy

Carolyn Bacon

Matt Hucklebee

Lucas Brandt

Mr. Bellomy

Michael Van Why

Mrs. Hucklebee

Krista Wigle

Henry, the old actor

James Pelican

Mortimer, the man who dies

Brandon Wilson

The Mute

Brandon Wilson



Marja Mutru


Wendy Tamis


Kevin Neuhoff


Rod Verette


Music Director

Mary Chun

Stage Director

Elly Lichenstein

Stage Manager

Ingrid Emming

Scenic Designer

Ronald Krempetz

Costume Designer

Lisa Eldredge

Lighting Designer

Wayne Hovey


Bacon copyBased in San Francisco, Carolyn Bacon (Luisa) is known for her imagination, intelligence, and versatility as an opera and musical theater performer. She was recently seen at Cinnabar Theater in the sold out run of My Way, a tribute to Frank Sinatra’s career with jazz trio. She also sings jazz at San Francisco’s premier jazz club, Black Cat. Recognizing her dramatic skills as a singer in multiple genres, Carolyn was a 2017 semi-finalist in the Kurt Weill Institute’s Lotte Lenya Competition in New York. Recent Bay Area performances have brought Carolyn to Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera, TheatreWorks, Pacific Coast Repertory Theater, Pocket Opera, Opera Parallèle, Foothill Music Theater, and others. She also recently made her professional German debut in Freiburg, singing Adele (Die Fledermaus) with the Markgräfler Symphonie Orchester. The Badische Zeitung writes, “Carolyn Bacon was a bitingly fresh, cheeky Adele…Her high notes were divinely effortless and powerful.” Carolyn holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory and a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience from Pomona College, where she originally prepared for a career in medicine. Visit

Lucas Brandt (Matt) is thrilled to be making his Cinnabar debut.  Recent credits include Tom in Beneath the Tall Tree (TheatreFirst), Malvolio in Twelfth Night (SF Shakespeare Festival) and Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls (Jewel Theatre). A bay area local, Lucas has also had the pleasure of working with California Shakespeare Theatre, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, Boxcar Theatre, and Shotgun Players, among others.

KhalikulovSergey Khalikulov (El Gallo) was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  In 1990, his family immigrated to the United States, where he grew up in San Francisco and attended the San Francisco School of the Arts (Vocal Department). While at SOTA, his participation in many musical productions (including Fiddler on the Roof, City of Angels, Follies, The Apple Tree, and Jekyll and Hyde) solidified his passion for the performing arts and arts education. His studies led him to the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where he earned his B.A in music while studying voice with Vladimir Chernov. Some favorite appearances with Opera UCLA include Menotti’s The Medium (Mr. Gobineau), Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Antonio), Handel’s Agrippina (Pallante), and West Coast premieres of Cavalli’s Giasone (Hercules) and Jonathan Dove’s Flight (Immigration Officer). After graduating from UCLA, Sergey moved back to San Francisco, where he acquired his master’s degree and post graduate diploma studying with Cesar Ulloa at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  There he continued his development as a versatile performer and appeared in numerous productions with the Musical Theater Program, Opera Department and Baroque Opera Program, such as Sondheim’s Into the Woods (Narrator/Mysterious Man), Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti (Sam), Adamo’s Little Women (Friedrich Bhaer), Britten’s Albert Herring (Superintendent Budd), Handel’s Serse (Ariodate), Argento’s Postcard from Morocco (Man with the Cornet Case)–a co-production with Portland Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the title role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and L’elisir d’amore (Dr. Dulcamara), which traveled to Washington, D.C. for a performance at the Kennedy Center. He has participated in Artist Training Programs including the  Tanglewood InstituteHawaii Performing Arts Festival, the inaugural seasons of IVAAP (formerly Summer in Payerbach)the Mosher Studio Artist program with Opera Santa Barbara, and most recently the Apprentice Artist program with Sarasota Opera. Sergey has appeared in productions with a variety of companies and institutions throughout the Bay Area, including include the title role in Don Giovanni with Waffle OperaLa Serva Padrona (Uberto) with Livermore Valley Opera and Waffle OperaThe Merry Wives of Windsor (Mr. Page) with Pocket Opera,  Opera Parallele’World Premiere of My Head is Full of Colors (Father), The Woman in the Wall (Fortitude) with Overtone IndustriesMy Fair Lady (Freddy) with Broadway by the BayThe Most Happy Fella (Joey) with Cinnabar TheaterFoothill Music Theater’s productions of South Pacific (Lt. Cable), for which he was nominated by BATCC for best principle actor in a musical 2014, and the title role in Sunday in the Park with George. Additionally, Sergey participated on a special Los Angeles workshop of Emma, a new musical by Meghan Brown and Sarah Taylor Ellisworking with Apples and Oranges Studios Accelerator. Currently, he is a regular performer with the San Francisco opera troupe Opera on the Spot, with whom he puts on “pop-up” opera performances at non-traditional locations all over San Francisco! Sergey has received numerous awards and prizes, including: scholarships from Opera Buffs, Inc., Pacific Musical Society, the Bev Sellers Memorial Scholarship for Singers (for which sang on a concert that was live-stremed internationally from the Honolulu Convention Center), East Bay Opera League (Prize Winner), Sarlo Émigré Youth Scholarship, Fritz and Maria Altmann Scholarship,  James H. Schwabacher, Jr. Scholarship, and the Wise Iphegenia Scholarship (which provided a full merit scholarship to attend SFCM’s Post Graduate Diploma program). In addition to his work as a performer, Sergey has served as an Assistant Director with Opera San Luis Obispo, and currently with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he has worked on numerous productions. He also maintains a voice studio with students of all ages in San Francisco.  More information can be found on his website,

Pelican1James Pelican (Henry) was most recently on stage at Cinnabar in Pagliacci as Clown.  He assistant directed the production and his clown troop, Clowns On A Stick, performed Rhapsody of Fools, which was commissioned as a companion piece for Pagliacci.  Other roles at Cinnabar include Neil in The Quality of Life and Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles.  He also assistant directed this year’s season opener, Man of La Mancha, and will be filling a similar roll in the upcoming season’s production of Cabaret. Other Clowns On A Stick productions include Tasty Bites (2015) and To Bury A Cat (2012). James is also the producer of the Chautauqua Revue, now in its 16th year at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.

Van WhyMichael van Why (Bellomy) holds a B.A. in music from SSU where he studied Vocal Performance. He is a professional entertainer specializing in twentieth century popular French, Italian, Neapolitan and American Cabaret/Café music ( He has offered lecture concerts on the subjects of chanson and canzone at colleges, universities and cultural organizations throughout the bay area. Michael is always grateful to return “home” to Cinnabar. His theatrical work here includes: So Nice to Come Home To, La cage aux folles, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Beneath Paris SkiesThe Most Happy Fella, and most recently the role of Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha.

WigleKrista Wigle (Hucklebee) Krista Wigle is thrilled to be returning to Cinnabar after previously performing as A Player in Tomfoolery, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, The Third Lady in The Magic Flute, and Cleo in The Most Happy Fella (SFBATCC Nomination) in past seasons. Ms. Wigle, having been called a “major find” by Opera News, has performed in the opera and musical theater genres with such companies as: Opera Parallele, Woodminster Amphitheater, Guggenheim Entertainment, Festival Opera, Brava Opera, Golden Gate Opera, Opera on Tap, Livermore Opera, Sonoma City Opera, Pocket Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, West Bay Opera, North Bay Opera, and San Francisco Lyric Opera. Recent roles include Chayesel/Dobrisch (The People in the Picture, West Coast
Prem.), Soprano/Jazz Trio (Trouble in Tahiti), Rosie (Mamma Mia!), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), Musette (La Bohème), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Jenny (The Three Penny Opera), Clorinda (La Cenerentola), and Carlotta (The Phantom of the Opera/the San Francisco and Las Vegas productions). Krista is absolutely honored to perform this role in tribute to Stephen Walsh, who was one of the most loving, funny, warm, and talented human beings she has ever known.

Brandon Wilson (Mortimer; the Mute) is excited to be performing in their first role at Cinnabar. A locally grown artist with their certificate in theatre from the SRJC, Brandon went on to receive a second certificate in physical theatre from Dell’Arte International in Humboldt. You may have seen Brandon over the last few summers acting for Shakespeare in the Cannery or performing as Be the Clown at the North Bay Cabaret.


MutruMarja Mutru (Keyboard) received her master’s degree in piano performance from the Sibelius Academy in her native Finland. After settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marja became the keyboard player for the Paul Dresher Ensemble and has since played with various local ensembles, including the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, California Symphony, and Ballet San Jose. She has also performed and recorded numerous new chamber operas and solo piano repertoire by various local composers. Marja completes her fifth season as Cinnabar’s go-to pianist and keyboard player.

NeuhoffA versatile musician, Kevin Neuhoff (Percussion) brings out the best from renaissance to razzmatazz! A member of the Carmel Bach Festival, SF Opera Center, Marin, Berkeley, and Fremont Symphonies, he appears with or has recorded with Philharmonia Baroque, Earplay, Opera Parallele, Oakland, California, Santa Rosa, Silicon Valley, Lamplighters, and San Francisco Symphonies. He also records for electronic media with Skywalker Symphony. Kevin has been Cinnabar’s percussionist for 6 seasons. Oh…and his barbequed salmon is not to be missed!

TamisWendy Tamis (Harp) holds the post of principal harpist with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra. She was principal harpist with the Bear Valley Music Festival for 15 years and the acting principal harpist with the Boise Philharmonic in Idaho for over 10 years. Ms. Tamis performs regularly with several Bay Area orchestras including California Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, West Bay Opera, Santa Rosa Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, and Merola Opera.  She has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet orchestras and the Western Opera Theater, the touring company of the San Francisco Opera. Ms. Tamis played in the Castleton Opera’s “The Britten Project” performing The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring with Lorin Maazel conducting.  She has also performed in the Matthew Bourne production of Swan Lake at the Orpheum Theatre and the Mark Morris production of The Hard Nut. Ms. Tamis has performed with the Bolshoi, Kirov and Royal Danish Ballet companies.  Her chamber music experience includes performances with The Other Minds Festival, The Gold Coast Chamber Players, The Aurica Ensemble, and The Muir Trio. Ms. Tamis has played Evita, A Little Night Music and King and I in San Francisco, Amelie with Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Fantasticks, Gypsy, My Fair Lady and Ragtime with theater companies throughout the Bay Area.

VeretteRod Verette (Bass) first played bass for Camelot in 1976, and he’s been hooked on musical theater ever since. He’s also performed with many classical, jazz, pop, opera and ballet companies during his over 40 years as a musician. Currently, Rod plays with the Vallejo and Solano symphonies, as well as the Symphony Orchestra for Northern California plus several other groups from big dance bands to string quartets. Rod lives in Brentwood with his wife, Joyce.


ChunMary Chun (Music Director, Conductor) “One cannot resist the charm, energy, and allégresse that was displayed on the podium by Mary Chun.” 
– Le Figaro, Paris. A fierce advocate of new work and equally passionate about reviving classics by the masters, Maestro Chun conducts opera and musical theater in the Bay Area and beyond. In 2014 she made her Chinese debut as Music Director for the premiere of Avenue Q in Beijing where the two-month run was met with sold-out success and won the distinction of Best Musical Production in the Large Theater Category. Invited to return the next year for the Chinese premiere of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Mary music directed both the Beijing and Shanghai productions of this Pulitzer-prize winning musical. Completing her 7th season as resident music director at Cinnabar and 17th season as principal conductor for Earplay, Mary has conducted operas new and old in Europe and the US and worked with notable composers such as John Adams, Libby Larsen, and Tan Dun, to name a few. Nominated by the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle for her work with recent Cinnabar productions Fiddler, The Marriage of Figaro, The Most Happy Fella and Man of La Mancha, Mary received the Best Music Direction Award in Small Theater Category for The Marriage of Figaro. Mary’s most recent Cinnabar productions were Pagliacci last June, as well as The Most Happy Fella, The Magic Flute and Falstaff. Mary was recently named Music Director for the Beijing/Shanghai-based Seven Ages Investment Company which produces major Broadway musical hits in Mandarin translation.

LichensteinElly Lichenstein (Stage Director) joined Cinnabar in 1975 after a short career as a cellist in Belgium. Studying voice with Cinnabar’s founder Marvin Klebe, drama with Fred Curchack and Richard Blake, and movement with Ann Woodhead, she sang at least 50 roles with the company until retiring from the operatic stage in 1999. A passionate proponent of intimate theater and opera, she serves as Cinnabar’s artistic director, directs opera (including last season’s Pagliacci) and musicals (including this season’s Man of La Mancha). She also recently appeared onstage as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, and as Jeannette in Jane Anderson’s The Quality of Life. She returns to the stage next season to reprise her role in A Perfect Ganesh. Elly may occasionally be seen at Mainstage West in Sebastopol.

Eldredge LisaLisa Eldredge (Costume Designer) Costume designer for numerous operas at Cinnabar Theater and the Bay Area, Ms. Eldredge occasionally seizes the opportunity to costume an irresistible play. Among her Cinnabar favorites are Enchanted April, Private Lives, Born Yesterday, Shirley Valentine, Driving Miss Daisy and the opera centric Quartet. Her numerous operatic designs for Cinnabar include The Marriage of Figaro, Pagliacci, Cosi fan tutti, and many more.

Ingrid Emming (Stage Manager) began stage managing in 2007, most recently for A Little Night Music at 6th Street Playhouse. She has also worked on productions with Raven Performing Arts Theater, Pegasus Theater, Main Stage West, and Narrow Way Stage Company. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University’s Department of Design and Merchandising, and 2017 marks her 19th year of private professional practice specializing in architectural and interior design. She is delighted to be working again with Cinnabar Theater.

HoveyWayne Hovey (Scenic Designer) has been working in the technical side of theater for more than 40 years, doing everything from backstage work to set, sound and lighting design and stage management. He has provided set design for Cinnabar’s Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, The Marriage of Figaro, Bad Dates, Mahalia Jackson, The Most Happy Fella, and this season’s opener, Man of La Mancha and cabaret musical My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. He’s provided light design for more than 15 shows at Cinnabar, including The Magic Flute, as well as last season’s The Odd Couple, Pagliacci, and the world premiere of Trevor Allen’s One Stone (Einstein). Wayne serves as Cinnabar’s Technical Director.

KrempetzRonald E. Krempetz (Scenic Designer) is happy and honored to have this opportunity to design for the Cinnabar Theater. Ron has been the Resident Set Designer and Adjunct Instructor of Scenic Design and Technical Theatre at the College of Marin in Kentfield for 40 years.  Since 1967, he has worked on over 386 productions throughout the Bay Area and California. He has worked with professional, educational, and amateur theatre companies including The Mountain Play, San Francisco Ballet, Fresno Music Theatre, San Joaquim Delta College, Marin Theatre Company, Porchlight Theatre Company, Ross Valley Players, Sixth Street Playhouse, Napa Valley Community College, Novato Theatre Company and numerous independent Bay Area theatre productions. Throughout his lengthy career, Ron has earned many awards for both his industrial and theatre scenic design projects. This last season he has designed 39 Steps, The Little Prince, Government Inspector, The Death of a Salesman, David Copperfield, Romeo & Juliet and The Tin Woman. Ron resides in Petaluma with his wife, Diane.  He is the proud Pop-Pops of eight perfect grandchildren who continue to inspire his inner child.


…the excellent cast did a fine performance of The Fantasticks at Cinnabar Theater. So much to admire, in the energy and skill of the actors, the quality of the small orchestra, the clever set and staging.
Tom Jones (no, not the singer, or Fielding’s title character, but a different Jones of Broadway and Off-Broadway renown) teamed up with Harvey Schmidt to create a parable for their time—that would be 1960, when it first premiered. Jones wrote the book and lyrics for this small-cast musical, borrowing themes and ideas liberally from half a dozen other works. In many ways he captured the idealism and activism of the early ’60s, with tropes of independence, anti-authority, and facing down the ills of the world with sober optimism. The show went on to run for over 40,000 performances, and has been performed the world over countless times.
Schmidt’s music and the simple but poetic lyrics have made the songs staples in the cabaret canon, sung by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Kristin Chenoweth, and countless others. Hearing the songs again is like rediscovering familiar old friends.
The fine cast is led by Sergey Khalikulov as El Gallo, or the Narrator. He exhibits just the right mix of upbeat commentary with world-weary resignation, given the god-like task of disillusioning the young lovers. One of those, Luisa, is given a beautiful, stellar rendition by Carolyn Bacon, whose angelic voice and superb acting are a true delight. Lucas Brandt, as her erstwhile partner Matt, does well with the transition from bright-eyed youth to beaten-down hero.
In what has become acceptable alternative casting, Krista Wigle plays Hucklebee, now re-imagined as a mother rather than father. She and Michael Van Why as Bellomy make an engaging duo, with first-rate vocals and expert comic skills. Turning them into a happy couple creates a decidedly different choice however, reminiscent of Shakespearean comedy.
James Pelican delivers a tour de force performance as Henry the Old Actor, wheedling and cajoling and terrifically funny throughout. He does have his winsome moments, but has us in stitches with his fractured Shakespeare and artful posing. His “troupe,” namely Mortimer, is amply fulfilled by Brandon Wilson, whose wide-eyed naivety is matched by his skillful dying. These two threaten to steal the show from the more serious themes, and have so much infectious fun providing memorable moments of hilarity. Wilson also fills in for the missing character of The Mute; a directorial choice to eliminate a character seen as unnecessary, but there have been stagings where The Mute helps carry the play’s overall message.
Stage director Elly Lichenstein and music director Mary Chun construct an engaging production, with a versatile set by Ronald Krempetz and nimble, lovely lighting by Wayne Hovey. Lisa Eldredge’s costume design deserves mention for perfect matchup with characters, perhaps most happily so with the clowns, Henry and Mortimer.
Is it possible for such an admirable production to overcome the play’s datedness? The performances are certainly wonderful. If you’ve never seen the musical, then see it and decide for yourself. If you’ve seen it before and loved it, this is a staging worthy of a re-visit.

–Jeanie K. Smith, Talkin’ Broadway

Carolyn Bacon (Luisa), Sergey Khalikulov (El Gallo) and Lucas Brandt (Matt)

Michael Van Why (Bellomy) and Krista Wigle (Hucklebee)

Sergey Khalikulov (The Narrator/El Gallo)

Carolyn Bacon as Luisa

Lucas Brandt (Matt) and Sergey Khalikulov (El Gallo)

Carolyn Bacon (Luisa) and Lucas Brandt (Matt)

James Pelican (Henry), Lucas Brandt (Matt) and Brandon Wilson (Mortimer)

Carolyn Bacon (Luisa) and Sergey Khalikulov (El Gallo)

Photos by Victoria Von Thal