Get to know our talented staff by clicking on each name below…
Artistic Director Elly Lichenstein joined Cinnabar Theater in 1975 after serving as principal cellist for the Antwerp Chamber Orchestra in Belgium. At Cinnabar, she studied voice with founder Marvin Klebe, movement with Ann Woodhead, and drama with Fred Curchack and Richard Blake. Elly performed more than 50 roles with the company before retiring from the stage in 1999. Behind the scenes, she became Cinnabar’s general manager in 1979 and its executive director in 1997. When Marvin passed away in 1999, she assumed the role of artistic director as well.
Over the years, Elly has made it her duty to assure that Cinnabar continues to offer its artists a home where they are honored and safe, and can come together to collaborate, learn and create. She also helped to create and maintain an extensive youth program.
Elly has directed dozens of operas and musicals for Cinnabar and other theaters, including rarely-performed musicals and 20th century and rarely-performed operas. Under her leadership, Cinnabar has continued to present performances in a daring range of genres and upheld its commitment to develop bold new work. In the last decade alone, Cinnabar has presented six West Coast premieres and launched 15 world premieres – including nine plays, three musicals, an opera, an operetta, and a docudrama that proved so popular it went on to play off Broadway.
In 2013, when Cinnabar hired a new executive director, Elly retained her duties as artistic director while gladly passing her executive responsibilities on. In 2014, she received the Jerry Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area Critics Circle, which recognizes a leader “who has furthered the creativity and growth of theater in the Bay Area throughout his or her career.”
Dragone brings to Cinnabar a wealth of knowledge and experience in business, along with an undying passion for the arts. As a long time Bay Area arts entrepreneur and presenter she is an avid advocate for the Arts and the vital role they play in our culture.
Diane began her career in the arts when she started from scratch and built a chain of retail record/CD stores. Her last store, Star Classics, in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley was a landmark favorite both nationally and internationally, specializing in classical, jazz and musical theatre. In addition to selling CDs, she created within the store an intimate 100 seat recital hall, where Diane produced weekly concerts of local artists that were free to the public. The multi-faceted series became known as SF’s treasure box of untapped talent and people loved it because of the intimacy of the audience to the performers. Dragone closed Star Classics in 2002, but wanting to still stay in the arts, she returned to school and earned a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Dragone comes from an arts family. Her uncle, Carmen Dragon, was, for many years, the conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and won an Oscar in 1944 for his original musical score of the film Cover Girl. His son, Diane’s cousin Daryl Dragon, was the Captain of the pop music duo Captain & Tennille, with award winning TV Show and the chart topping song success Love Will Keep Us Together.
“I am excited and thrilled to be become part of the Cinnabar family and to make Petaluma my home,” says Dragone.
Education Director Nathan Cummings has created, coordinated, and administered theater activities for youth for more than 20 years. He has worked with children as young as 3 years old all the way up to 18-year-old high-school seniors.
In addition to leading classes at Cinnabar, Nathan has coordinated school tours for San Francisco’s New Conservatory and staged shows with more than 200 children in San Jose. He performed and taught on tours to all 48 states in the continental United States, including 60 rural communities in the West with the Hampstead Players, 45 cities in the Midwest and South with the National Touring Theatre, and 75 cities on the East Coast and in the Midwest with TheatreWorks USA.
A graduate of both the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and the Conservatory of Theatre at Webster University in St. Louis, Nathan also has extensive experience as an actor and director in his own right. For Cinnabar’s Young Rep, he has staged The Grapes of Wrath, Little Shop of Horrors, Macbeth, Once on This Island, Rent, Romeo & Juliet, Seussical, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. For Cinnabar’s professional season, he directed City of Angels and Driving Miss Daisy as well as performing in 110 in the Shade, Arcadia, Crimes of the Heart, The Pavilion, She Loves Me, and We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! He also recently appeared in The Full Monty at 6th Street Playhouse.
A native of Northern California, Nathan has lived in New York, Seoul, and Shanghai – but he has made Petaluma his home since 2010. He is the proud papa of Dareia Helena Cummings and Beatrix Io Cummings.
Production Manager Sharlyn Klein has been an invaluable member of Cinnabar’s staff for the last decade. In addition to managing all technical matters at the theater, she is also an accomplished set designer. Her scenic design credits include the world premiere of Ella: The American Dream as well as Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, The Clean House, Gondoliers, I Am My Own Wife, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Midsummer Jersey.
Before joining Cinnabar, Sharlyn worked with several other prominent Bay Area companies including Exit Theatre, Lamplighters Music Theatre, Pocket Opera, and Porchlight Theater. She can still be found at the Exit every September working on the SF Fringe Festival. Sharlyn holds a bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University in communications with an emphasis in technical theater.
Madeleine Ashe became involved with Cinnabar after seeing the incredible impact that its Young Rep had on her daughter’s life. Madeleine volunteered with the Parents Guild before joining the staff in 2007. In 2010, she was named director of finance. Her dedication and attention to detail have been an invaluable part of the theater’s success in recent years.
Madeleine holds a BA in acting from San Diego State University and has performed in San Diego and Los Angeles. Locally, she has been seen in Cinnabar’s productions of Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage aux Folles, and The Price, as well as in The Book of Matthew (Leibowitz) at Spreckels Theatre Company.
With extensive technical expertise and a heart of gold, Aloysha carries forward his father’s vision. He lovingly tends to the needs of a beautiful and finicky building that’s more than 100 years old.
Wayne Hovey 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. A Michigan native, Wayne started his theater “career” assisting his mother with costumes for the local civic theater group. While at the University of Michigan pursuing a Master of Architecture degree, Wayne spent his spare time as stage manager for the university’s student run musical theater group. Since moving to California in 1983, Wayne has worked with many Sonoma County theater groups, including holding the position of Technical Director for the Santa Rosa Players and Actors’ Theater (now 6th Street Playhouse), as well as designing sets, lights and sound for 6th Street Playhouse, Main Stage West, Cinnabar Theater and others.
Wayne has been working with Cinnabar as a designer for over ten years, providing lighting, set and sound design for numerous productions.
“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, Mary Chun conducts opera and musical theater in the Bay Area and beyond. Mary is the resident music director at Cinnabar, as well as the principal conductor of the San Francisco-based new music ensemble Earplay.
Mary collaborates with many noted composers to bring new music to life, conducting international premieres of John Adams’ chamber opera Ceiling/Sky to critical acclaim. She also served as music director for the world premieres of Libby Larsen’s Every Man Jack, Carlo Lucero’s Wuornos, Mort Garson’s Revoco, Guillermo Galindo’s Decreation: Fight Cherries, and Cinnabar’s So Nice To Come Home To.
In 2014, Mary made her Chinese debut as music director for the premiere of Avenue Q in Beijing, where the two-month run won the distinction of Best Musical Production in the Large Theater Category.
Mary toured with the Kosice Opera throughout Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. She has also been invited to conduct at Ballet San Joaquin, Hawaii Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Cleveland, Mendocino Music Festival, Opera Idaho, Pacific Repertory Opera, Texas Shakespeare Festival, West Bay Opera, and West Edge Opera.
As one of the rare professional ondes martenot players in the world, Mary has performed with orchestras in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Sonoma County’s own Santa Rosa Symphony.
For the past several years, Ross Tiffany-Brown has worked behind the scenes at Cinnabar. He spends countless hours as a stage manager for both professional plays and Young Rep performances. Some of his assignments have included Arcadia, Driving Miss Daisy, the world premiere of Edith Piaf: Under Paris Skies, and I Am My Own Wife.
Ross also serves as the special projects coordinator at Cinnabar, supporting our concert series and other guest artists. He is proud to have the love and support of his family and friends in everything he does for the performing arts.
Michael Shahani received a BM from the University of Nebraska in voice and piano, an MA in conducting from the University of California, and a DMA in orchestral conducting from the Hartt School of Music. He has conducted more than 350 performances of more than 65 different operas and musicals, as well as several orchestras in dozens of concerts. He is a faculty member at City College of San Francisco, and has conducted most of the City Summer Opera and CCSF productions since 1989. He founded the Hesperian Ensemble Orchestra and the Moraga Chamber Orchestra in the San Francisco area. He has been musical director for Verismo Opera, VOICES/SF Opera Ensemble, Theater Concord, San Francisco Recreation Symphony, Lyric Theatre of San Jose, and Contra Costa Musical Theater. He has been a guest conductor with the Varna Philharmonic, Pleven Philharmonic, and Rousse Philharmonic orchestras in Bulgaria, the China Film Philharmonic in Beijing, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Londrina in Brazil, and the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra. His teachers include Murry Sidlin, Gunther Schuller, and Harold Farberman.
Cheryl Shafer Moore spent several years teaching a variety of performing arts classes – including piano, voice, choir, drama, musical theater, and dance – at the high school and college levels. As a performer, she has appeared as a soloist in a variety of concert works including Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Bach’s St. John Passion. Favorite stage roles include Prince Orlofski in Die Fledermaus, the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, and the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas. In addition, Cheryl also performs with Vajra Voices, a women’s vocal ensemble specializing in he music of Hildegard von Bingen. She holds a BA in Music from SSU, an MM in Vocal Performance from the University of New Mexico, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in early music performance practice from Case Western Reserve University. In her spare time, she enjoys making Medieval and Renaissance costumes.
Envision. Invest. Inspire. At Cinnabar, these three principles guide our board of directors in its efforts to promote and preserve the excellence of our artistic programs and youth activities.
Our board is an essential part of Cinnabar’s success. It is responsible for governance and fundraising, and its members serve as community ambassadors and professional consultants. Members are selected and elected based upon their belief in Cinnabar’s mission and their commitment to preserving its excellence for future generations.
Click on any name below to find out more about these people who donate their time, talent, and expertise to our cause.
We are always open to inquiries from interested members of the community to join our Board of Directors. Please contact Diane Dragone by email or call 707-981-7646.
Bio coming soon
Raised in Petaluma, Gina holds a BS degree from California State University, Chico in Health Science with a minor in Human Resources, and a masters degree in Human Resources and Organization Development from University of San Francisco. After a short time in health care, Gina has been in Human Resources for more than 20 years. Gina has been the Director of Human Resources for Francis Ford Coppola since 2008, overseeing the Francis Ford Coppola Winery as well as Coppola’s newest winery, Virginia Dare. Past HR roles include Mumm Napa, Medtronic, Oculus, Sony Development, Neiman Marcus and DeAnza college. Gina was a member of the Workforce Investment Board of Sonoma County for three years, co-chair of the HR Roundtable for Women for Winesense, and a board member for the Northern California HR Association. Gina’s daughter has been active at Cinnabar since appearing in Annie in 2012, now performing in both Young Rep and Professional shows.
Jamie was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, where her father was the original editor of Tiger Beat and Teen Magazine. Growing up in the entertainment industry, Jamie entered the on-screen acting world and became a Screen Actors Guild member in 1979 after her first commercial, later studying at Diane Hardin’s Young Actors’ Space. Jamie appeared in several commercials and television shows until she left for Sonoma State University in 1991, and eventually attended law school back in Southern California, graduating in 1999. While Jamie is a licensed, practicing attorney, she continues to remain an active voting member of SAG-AFTRA. In addition to her passion for theater, Jamie recently finished a four year term as Vice President of Sonoma County Women in Law.
Jamie’s first visited Cinnabar Theater during college, and enjoyed a first date there with her now husband of 20 years. After re-locating back to Petaluma in 2011, Jamie’s oldest daughter was cast as Grandpa Joe in the Cinnabar Young Rep production of Willy Wonka. The rest is history as her daughter has performed in more than 18 shows at Cinnabar (both Young Rep and in Professional Season shows) while her younger daughter has participated in the summer camp programs.
Gabby’s a lifelong Petaluma resident and has 20 years of experience in operations and finance for a Sonoma County based construction company with 60+ employees. She served as the Corporate Secretary and Trustee of their qualified plans.
With 10+ years of volunteer and fundraising experience, she has served as the Board Vice President for St. Vincent’s Parent’s & Friends’ Organization and Board Vice President for Acorn Circle Homeowners Association. In addition, she’s volunteered at Cinnabar Theater, The Fabulous Women of Petaluma, St. Vincent’s Elementary and St. Vincent High School.
Gabby is married, and has a daughter and three step-children. Her daughter has participated in 15+ shows in the Cinnabar Young Rep Program and has served as a camp counselor for the Cinnabar summer programs for three summers. She enjoys traveling, reading, cooking and spending time with friends and family.
Lori holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut; she completed postgraduate studies at the Universidad de Sevilla. Lori has more than 20 years of Human Resources management experience in the insurance, banking, telecommunications and manufacturing industries. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Development at Exchange Bank. Lori has served on the Board of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance of North Bay Chambers, The Ceres Community Project HR Committee and the National Association of Independent Insurers HR Forum. Lori spent eight years as Board Vice President/Programs and Workshops for the Professional Association of Sonoma County. She also has been a member of SHRM, NCHRA, the Employment Advisory Council, the HR Banking Roundtable, and the Insurance Personnel Association. Additionally, Lori serves on the Leadership Committee for Petaluma’s annual Relay for Life benefitting the American Cancer Society. Lori resides in Petaluma with her son Joshua, a firefighter with Gold Ridge Fire Department in Sebastopol. Her daughter Rebecca graduated Southern Oregon University with a Master’s in Education and teaches special needs students in Eagle Point, Oregon. Lori’s interests include theater, cooking, travel, sports and family.
As a nonprofit organization, Cinnabar relies on volunteers to fulfill its mission. Hundreds of people donate their time to support our shows and our events every year. We are particularly grateful for the following people who go above and beyond. Thank you for your service!
Nora Lee Pearl
Ticket Window Manager
Young Rep Parents Guild
Although they are no longer with us, these “Cinnabarbarians” made invaluable contributions on stage and behind the scenes. They live on in our memory and in our hearts.
Stephen Walsh (1956-2018) Shimmering baritone, beloved stage colleague, Fella’s Tony, Fiddler’s Tevye
Marcy Telles (1951-2015)
Playwright and lyricist, past board member, chorister, and guiding light
Ray Johnson (1944 – 2013)
Business executive, city planning commissioner, and Cinnabar volunteer
Mary Lou Schomer (1937-2012)
Wife, mother, ace volunteer, and Cinnabar’s first box office manager
René Bonel (1931 – 2011)
House manager, ballroom dancer, and beloved husband of Artistic Director Elly Lichenstein
Blair Fuller (1927 – 2011)
Award-winning writer, editor, professor, and esteemed board member of many major theaters
Nina Shuman (1954 – 2010)
Accomplished pianist, conductor, choir leader, and music director
Stan Case (1959 – 2003)
Bright spirit, deep bass, and Cinnabar’s “Big Angel”
Ron Mortimore (1927 – 2003)
Tenor, forester, gardener, and benefactor of local children
Marvin Klebe (1927 – 1999)
Artist, husband, father, and visionary founder of Cinnabar Theater