Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Team

Mission, Vision, and Values


To guide Lamplighters Music Theatre in the education and support of the evolving struggles of peoples whose lives and contributions have historically been undervalued within our linked communities.


Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion shall be used as a lens to inform decisions across LMT.

We will accomplish the EDI Mission by:

  • Establishing equitable structures (policies, procedures, staffing, etc.,) that uplift and stand with peoples whose lives and contributions have historically been undervalued
  • Maintaining the highest artistic standards through collaboration with new and diverse voices and bodies at every level of production
  • Providing original and transformational interpretations of G&S and other works of comparable wit and musicality


The United States and many other colonized countries were founded on centuries of building anti-Indigenous and anti-Black systems, which both undergird and enroll other oppressions and aggressions (against Asians, Latine, etc.) in the service of perpetuating white supremacy.

All of the activities that the committee undertakes will be guided by the following values:

  1. We will be inclusive.
  2. We will be diverse.
  3. We will act from an equitable lens.
  4. We will be actively pro-Black and pro-Indigenous.
  5. We will uplift, support, and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Latine communities and contributions.
  6. We will be vigilantly proactive in the dismantling of colonial supremacies.
  7. We will be rigorous in our critical self-examination.
  8. We will transform our art to illuminate the realities of our communities.
  9. We will invest in our company, our communities, and our art form.

Contact Us

Have suggestions or questions? We can be reached at:



Here are some highlights of what our team has focused on to-date.

  • Implemented EDI email alias
  • Finalized a Code of Conduct
  • Created an EDI Mission & Values Statement
  • Influenced increased diversity in casting and hiring
  • Established the first implementation of a longitudinal EDI study to assess the impact of our efforts (second implementation coming soon)
  • Reviewed and enforced Board of Trustees term limits 
  • Helped to add three new BIPOC voices to the Board of Trustees 
    • Martin Bell – HR Consultant
    • Brittany Mellerson – EDI Liaison 
    • Terrance Kelly – Board Member
  • Dedicated Giving Tuesday donations to the Parkview Hotel
  • Responded to Living Doc
  • Re-examined The Mikado
  • Board signed the Black Opera Alliance and AAPI Alliance Pledge 
  • Commissioned a new operetta, “By Georges!: A Day in the Life of the Legendary Chevalier de Saint-Georges”


Kristin Avila

(‘15) currently resides in New York City, and is grateful to be able to rejoin the Lamplighters from afar! Kristin has long been passionate about fighting for equity in casting in theatre, and is proud to be the Lamplighters’ EDI Committee Facilitator. In addition, Kristin has been Choreographer and Dance Captain for several Lamplighters productions, is currently a Content Creation Lead for the Lamplighters Virtual 2021 Season, and will be performing in the upcoming Gala. Starting in October, Kristin will be attending Northwestern University’s Professional Development Program to obtain her Professional Certification in Leading Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She is excited to bring those new skills back to Lamplighters, and to continue building a more equitable and inclusive future for the company she loves.

Maria Caycedo

is a versatile performing artist with experience in opera, pop & rock vocals, dance (ballet, hip-hop, Irish step dancing, belly dancing and Latin dancing) and modeling. She works as a User Experience researcher for a major market research company. She is passionate about building community, bringing the musical works of women and Latin American composers to the spotlight, and contributing to inclusion and equity in all spaces.

Abby Gryder (she/her)

(‘18) grew up in Oakland, CA in a family of musicians. She has been playing the flute and other wind instruments for over 20 years, teaching music for over 10 years, and singing opera with LMT since 2018. Abby earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music from UC Davis and a Master’s degree in Music from SF State. When not performing or teaching, she works as the Development Manager for the East Bay SPCA. Abby identifies as LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse and she works to uplift and empower diverse voices and demand bold, progressive change.

Jennifer Kiernan (she/her)

(Gondoliers ‘88) was a Lamplighters audience member as a child in the 1970s, and for the last 30 years (on and off!) has been a company performer and technical artist. She is currently in her third year serving as a member of the Lamplighters Board of Trustees. She identifies as LGBTQ+ and has been a lifelong advocate of LGBTQ equality and other progressive causes. By day she works for a Bay Area pharmaceutical company.

S. Louie (she/her)

(New Mikado ’16) chose “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles for her highest elevation impromptu solo performance (around 19,100 feet) on Mt. Kilimanjaro’s crater rim, to celebrate the sunrise warmth, the view, and the fact that she hadn’t tripped and fallen in. She is enthusiastic about continuously and humbly cultivating higher standards, specifically for her singing, and generally for rectifying inequitable power asymmetries.

Brittany Mellerson

(Lighting & Sound Designer) is an East coast native and a graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory Program, with a BFA in Theatrical Lighting & Sound Design. Brittany is the Resident Lighting designer for Lamplighters Music Theatre, SF PlayGround, and the Telluride Film Festival. Recent credits include lighting design for Princess Ida, A Little Night Music and Pirates of Penzance. As well as, the revival of Roger Grunwald’s The Obligation, the PlayGround Festival of New Works, and Graveyard Shift with SF Playhouse’s Sandbox Series. Other design experiences include – EVERYBODY at Stanford University, SF PlayGround’s ZoomFest, and Lady Scribblers with Custom Made Theatre.

Jonathan Potter (he/him)

(’20) got his start on the stage creating and performing satires of children’s movies with a group of friends to raise money for The Women’s Building and SF Women’s Centers. He teaches computer science at City College of San Francisco. He aspires to help amplify diverse voices in technical and artistic fields.

Paul Sinasohn

Hi. I’m Paul. I’ve been a member of Lamplighters since 1981. Until the accident that left me paraplegic, I was an active singer/performer. I started singing in the San Francisco Boys Chorus at age 6 – and didn’t stop for 50 years. Besides Lamplighters, I sang in several a cappella groups in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 2000s, I performed at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. I also build large displays out of LEGO. I grew up in San Francisco, and learned early to embrace multiculturalism and respect the traditions of other societies. My focus with the EDI committee will be representing patrons and company members who are differently abled.

Arie Singer

(Pirates ‘02) joined Lamplighters shortly after moving to San Francisco in 2001. With the company, she has performed in canon and non-Gilbert and Sullivan productions and many Galas. From 2002-2012, she did hair design for many productions. Arie was a founding member of the Lamplighters Guild, organizing Hidden Treasures events, Gala auctions, and many other fundraiser opportunities. She has an educational and professional background in social psychology, specializing in stereotyping and prejudice. She runs her own survey research consulting firm, and is an admin for a Facebook group devoted to talking to other white people about race in the USA.

Kristen Tansey

received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from UC Santa Barbara. She has performed with the UC Santa Barbara Opera, the Music Academy of the West, and with Lamplighters Music Theatre since 2015. Proud to be a member of the Lamplighters EDI committee, it is her mission to be a part of the movement rather than the moment. By day, she works at the streaming service, Hulu.

Cheryl Blalock

(’82) A passionate leader in the performing arts, Cheryl is Executive and Artistic Director of Lamplighters Music Theatre in San Francisco. Previously she was the Executive Director of Masterworks Chorale in San Mateo. Cheryl served on the board of directors for Lyric Theatre and the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition. She spent many years in high tech leading large teams and projects, and she is pleased to apply those skills in arts management.

Cheryl has performed over 40 lead soprano roles with Lamplighters, West Bay, Livermore, Oakland, Marin and Inland Opera Companies, and Lyric Theatre. She has directed operettas and musicals for Lyric Theatre and Masterworks and served as a faculty member at the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Cheryl maintains a private voice studio in San Mateo.

Phil Lowery (he/him)

(’94) has been working with Lamplighters regularly since 2000, as stage director, stage manager, production manager, erstwhile performer and is on staff as production coordinator. He is also a teaching artist and former middle school teacher, a role that included organizing affinity groups and leading identity-exploration activities. As a freelance director and general theatre practitioner, he is refocusing his work, looking at texts, casting and directorial choices through an EDI lens, and is excited to be doing the same with Lamplighters.