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Staff and Board Members

Emily Lynn Cornelius portrait

Emily Lynn Cornelius

Executive Director

Emily graduated from El Molino High School and got her start in community theater at Santa Rosa Players performing in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and then choreographing and stage managing “Brigadoon” and “Carousel.”

Emily’s 20+ successful years in the professional performing arts industry is founded on her strong, accessible communication and ability to synergize different perspectives and ideas. Her skills as a leader include creating space to explore and unite these different perspectives towards a common artistic goal. Theater, and each individual production can only triumph when all participants, onstage and off, know they are safe, respected, and essential to the team. Her long-term vision is to be a prominent voice in Sonoma County Theater by engaging audiences, forming public and private partnerships, and supporting all artists through compassion, respect, and coherent leadership of a vibrant institution.

Emily spent over 14 years with The Metropolitan Opera in New York City as manager of Artist Relations and Rehearsal Department manager. She served as first point of contact for up to 600 principal artists, directors and creative staff in a repertory season averaging 26 opera productions and over 300 performances annually. She left her mark in New York, directing and producing numerous productions with acclaimed groups such as The Village Light Opera Group and Victor Herbert Renaissance Project, LIVE! Her expertise extends to managing touring productions and Off-Broadway performances for The Flying Karamazov Brothers. As a producer, Emily is well-versed in budget management, collaboration facilitation, and cultivating a harmonious working environment.

During her tenure as artistic administrator at the San Diego Repertory Theater, Emily’s exceptional grant-writing skills ensured the success of bilingual outreach and educational initiatives. She played an instrumental role in strategic real estate transactions and community engagement efforts at The Village Light Opera Group. Emily’s artistic vision focuses on building meaningful social service partnerships, enhancing theatre accessibility, and delivering impactful performances.

Emily is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing and her passion lies in uniting artists, audiences, and communities through compassionate leadership. Her commitment aligns perfectly with 6th Street Playhouse’s dedication to providing a transformative, live performing arts experience.


Emily Lynn Cornelius – Executive Director

Jonathan Blue – Director of Education & Community Engagement

Christine Vondralee-Sternhill – Production Manager

Martin Gilbertson – Technical Director

Ben Roots – Sound Engineer

Ben Harper – Props Manager

Mae Matos – Wardrobe Head & Costume Designer

Shanna Kennedy-Chrestensen – Bookkeeper & Box Office Manager

Jeanne Galloway – Front of House Manager

Monica McKenzie – House Manager

Kira Catanzaro – Marketing & Communications Manager

Executive Committee

Dorothy Beattie – President

Lynnea Mackey – Vice President & Education Chair

A relative newcomer to Sonoma County, Lynnea is a passionate and dedicated member of the community. Motivated by her desire to create a thriving children’s theater, she joined the board of 6th Street Playhouse with a vision to establish a space where her young daughter and her friends could come together and showcase their talents on a “Big Stage,” igniting their passion for the performing arts.

When COVID-19 shut the program down, Lynnea stepped up to the challenge and played a pivotal role in rebuilding the program. Her efforts enabled the Playhouse to become one of the first theaters to reopen for live youth performances, effectively helping children move past a yearlong shutdown and rediscover the joy of the stage. Under her guidance, the program has experienced remarkable growth. What began with a modest 27 students in the Spring of ’21 has since blossomed into a thriving community that now serves over 400 children each year.

Lynnea’s own journey in theater started during her childhood, where she actively participated in various productions. Notably, she was among the first to perform at the esteemed Children’s Musical Theater San Jose, an institution that now celebrates its impressive 55th year. Her own experiences as a young performer have provided her with invaluable insights into the world of children’s theater and the transformative power it holds for aspiring artists.

Lynnea’s background in high-tech marketing and her experience as a small business owner have equipped her with a diverse skill set that greatly benefits 6th Street Studio. Her commitment to nurturing young talent and providing opportunities for artistic expression continue to inspire and uplift aspiring performers. By creating a welcoming and inclusive space for young artists to thrive, Lynnea leaves an indelible mark on the theater landscape, enriching the lives of countless children and their families.

Joel Feldman – Treasurer

Susane Byrne – Secretary

Jeff Coté – Advisor

Board Membership

Dorothy Beattie
Sue Byrne
Jeff Coté
Joel Feldman
Rodney Fierce
Kathy Horan
Lynnea Mackey

Mae Heagerty-Matos
Stephen Olson
Marty Pistone

Carolyn Cole-Schweizer
Sudha Schlesinger
Patrick Varner


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