PASADENA PLAYHOUSE Announces New Board Leadership Team

Leadership change including the addition of new trustees Alfred Molina, Bonnie Wongtrakool, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, and Bernhard von Thaden caps off a year of Board growth

PHOTO: Jeff Lorch | The South Pasadenan | Pasadena Playhouse - The State Theater of California | TONY AWARDS
PHOTO: Jeff Lorch | The South Pasadenan | Pasadena Playhouse - The State Theater of California

Media Release

September 5, 2023, Pasadena, CA |  Pasadena Playhouse is thrilled to announce a new slate of Board officers:  Erin Baker (Chair), Julie Gutierrez (Vice Chair), Leigh T. Olivar (Secretary), and Bonnie Wongtrakool (Treasurer). This is a new executive slate for Pasadena Playhouse. Erin Baker, who Co-Chaired the Board with Dennis Cornell for the past season, will now be taking over as sole Chair.

Chair Erin Baker’s affiliations include The Fitzberg Foundation, Trader Joe’s, and Huntington Hospital. Vice Chair Julie Gutierrez’s affiliations include the City of Pasadena. Secretary Leigh T. Olivar is the Owner and General Manager of Bella Adorna, LLC, and Treasurer Bonnie Wongtrakool is the Global Head of ESG Investments for Western Assets.

- Advertisement -

Additionally, over the past season Alfred Molina, Bonnie Wongtrakool, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, and Bernhard von Thaden have joined its Board of Trustees. The eclectic backgrounds of this accomplished, multigenerational group of individuals include expertise in the arts, finance, tech, equity and diversity, all sure to strengthen the Playhouse’s commitment to making theater for everyone.

“After 4 years as Chair of the board navigating the Playhouse, from one of its most challenging periods in our history to our recent Tony-Award success, it is with great pride that I hand the reins over to our co-Chair, Erin Baker.” Dennis Cornell, immediate past chair said. “I’m confident that Erin and our new officers will lead our extraordinary Board of Trustees to new heights as we continue to support the Playhouse as one of the top theaters in the country.”

Alfred (Fred) Molina was born in Paddington, London to a Spanish immigrant father and an Italian immigrant mother who moved to Britain after WWII. A seasoned theater and film actor, Molina has been featured in an extensive range of plays and films, from Oklahoma! in the West End (which earned him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination) to Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Alfred made his Broadway debut in Yasmina Reza’s Art in 1998 and subsequently performed on Broadway as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Mark Rothko in Red. Alfred has been nominated for three BAFTA awards, two Emmy Awards, one Golden Globe Award, one Grammy Award, five SAG Awards, three Tony Awards, and two Olivier Awards over the course of his career. He currently resides in La Cañada Flintridge with his wife, director Jenniffer Lee.


Bonnie Wongtrakool is the Global Head of ESG Investments and a Portfolio Manager at Western Asset, a fixed-income investment firm in Pasadena with $400 billion in assets under management. She leads Western’s ESG research and engagement, and manages its sustainable investment portfolios. Wongtrakool is a regular commentator in the financial media as well as a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder. In addition, she is the CEO and an executive member of the Board of Directors for Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation, an externally managed, diversified mortgage REIT. Wongtrakool holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Juris Doctorate, both from Harvard University. She also serves on the Investment Committee for the Pasadena Community Foundation. Bonnie and her husband Beong live in Pasadena with their two children.


Y-Vonne Hutchinson is the CEO and founder of ReadySet, a nationally-recognized DEI consulting firm that has worked with clients as diverse as Google, Amazon, Airbnb, A24, the San Francisco Giants and the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Prior to launching ReadySet, she worked as an international labor and human rights lawyer and has worked with foreign national governments, the US Department of State, and the UN. Y-Vonne is a member of Harvard Law’s Institute for Global Law and Policy network and an expert on labor relations and diversity in the workplace. She has presented on diversity, inclusion and labor issues at Harvard Law, MIT Sloan, and UC Berkeley, as well as conferences around the globe. She holds a JD from Harvard Law School and, before becoming a lawyer, graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a BFA in theater. She recently moved to San Marino with her husband Justin and their three-year-old daughter.


Bernhard von Thaden is a senior partner at KMPG’s Economic and Valuation Services practice. His main focus is transfer pricing, intangible valuation, and tax technology in the context of tax planning, compliance, and tax disputes. In his more than 25 years of experience, Bernhard has advised public and private FORTUNE 500 companies with a focus on life science (medical devices, biotech, dental), media and the entertainment industry (his clients include Disney), technology, and automotive and materials industries. Von Thaden previously served on the board of Foothill Family Services. He lives in South Pasadena with his wife Nicole, their two daughters, and son.


The full Board of Trustees for Pasadena Playhouse include Chair Erin Baker, Vice Chair Julie A. Gutierrez, Treasurer Bonnie Wongtrakool, Secretary Leigh T. Olivar,  and Trustees Sheri Ball, MaryLou Boone, Dennis Cornell, Brandon Dickerson, Peggy Ebright, Danny Feldman, Beth Fernandez, Cristina Hernandez, Melanie Holden, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Jane Kaczmarek, Brad King, Harmon Kong, Brandon Levin, Jim McCarthy, Ken McCormick, Alfred Molina, Bingo Roncelli, Jeff Smith, Lilah Stangeland, Ann Sunshine, Patricia Barajas Tavera and Bernhard von Thaden.



Pasadena Playhouse, the official State Theater of California and recipient of the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is one of the most prolific theaters in the country. The Playhouse has staged thousands of original productions since its founding in 1917 including premieres of works by Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, Suzan Lori Parks and hundreds more. For decades, its pioneering School for Theater Arts was a training ground for actors and theatermakers who went on to make significant contributions to the entertainment industry. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman since 2016,  Pasadena Playhouse’s productions and community programs are centered on its founding idea of being a living force in its community, making theater for everyone.