About Us - Staff

Stephen Sunderlin
Artistic Director 

Linda Ames Key
Education Director

Rennie Matias
Finance Manager

Stephanie Usis
Company Manager

Kathleen Toner
Booking Director

Yoni Agiular
Booking Assistant

Vital Theatre Company's Founding Members:
Stephen Sunderlin, Michael Schloegl, Scott C. Embler, Laura M. Stevens

STEPHEN SUNDERLIN: Producing Artistic Director & Founding Member
Stephen Sunderlin has a wealth of experience running a theatre within budget, putting gifted like-minded artists together and supporting playwrights. He has planned the seasons for the last nine years and helmed the theatre to its current level of excellence. An active director at Vital Theatre Company, Stephen directed the 2005 production of SHAKIN' THE MESS OUTTA MISERY, THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI in 2004 and AMERICA IS MY HOME, the Ellis Island Project in 2003. He directed STRAIGHT JACKET & TIE and WEDDING PICTURES for the 2001/2002 Mainstage season as well as DRAGON RAIN for Vital Children's Theatre. Other credits for Vital include: the OOBR Award-winning SHAKIN' THE MESS OUTTA MISERY, ESCAPE FROM HAPPINESS, FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS; TO FORGIVE, DIVINE; THE PHILADELPHIA; and ANYTHING FOR YOU. During the summer, Stephen also serves as Artistic Director at the venerable summer-stock theatre, Millbrook Playhouse, in Pennsylvania.

Before beginning Vital, as a director, Stephen formed Sun Productions to produce and direct evenings of one acts at Theater 603, Trilogy Theatre, and Theatre On Three. Other directing credits include SHIRLEY VALENTINE; THE WILD DUCK; I HATE HAMLET; DEATH DEFYING ACTS; BAD HABITS and LADIES AT THE ALAMO. As a resident director with The Pioneer Playhouse, one of the country's oldest outdoor summer theatres, credits include: TOM JONES, A FLEA IN HER EAR, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS and ARSENIC AND OLD LACE.

Before becoming a director, Stephen was a working actor for over ten years. As a performer, he worked at Riverside Shakespeare Co. and was a company member with Capitol Repertory in Albany, NY. He has also appeared in a number of other productions both in New York and regionally. Film and television credits include "Ryan's Hope," "One Life to Live," BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, MALCOLM X, and CITY HALL. Stephen has a BA in Theatre from the Bloomberg University of Pennsylvania, trained in the Stanislavski technique with Sonia Moore, studied with Herbert Bergof and completed the two-year Meisner program with William Esper.

Stephen has served as a publicist on Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as Press Associate with Jeffrey Richards Associates. Sun Productions has also branched out into theatrical publicity. Sun Productions has represented many Off-Off-Broadway productions as well as the Off-Broadway production of AN EVENING WITH QUENTIN CRISP.

LINDA AMES KEY: Director of Education
Linda is a director, teacher and producer. She has worked at Vital Theatre Company as the Vital Signs Producer, Producing Director, and as Education Director since 2007, where she has designed and implemented residencies at schools such as Manhattan School for Children, PS 6, PS 24, PS 121, PS 166, PS 199, PS 452 as well as overseen the intensive partnerships Vital has with Fordham High School for the Arts, Bronxdale High School and Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School, where Vital was a founding partner. As a director: NO EXIT at the Pearl Theatre Company, PROJECT RWANDA 2011 & 2013, NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS, Fringe NYC, 365 DAYS, 365 PLAYS, Makor/The Public, BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD, THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Fringe First Winners, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), THE LARAMIE PROJECT, Cochrane Theatre, London, ANTON IN SHOW BUSINESS, TWILIGHT LOS ANGELES, 1992 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, THREE DAYS OF RAIN, BRINK OF LIFE with Dreamcatcher Rep, EMBRACING FREEDOM, REMEMBER THE DREAM for the Ellis Island Foundation, LONE STAR GRACE, RITA FAYE PRUITTE, YOU MISS THEM.... by Suzanne Bradbeer and FLYER by Kate Aspengren for Six Figures Theatre Company, THE RISEN CHRIS, BETHLEHEM, MY WIFE'S COAT and OVERHEAD for Vital Signs, FULL BLOOM for Vital Theatre, THE KLEZMER NUTCRACKER, MY NEW YORK, A (TOOTH) FAIRY TALE, VELMA GRATCH (THE BUTTERFLY GIRL) at Vital Theatre for Vital Children's Theatre, ALISON'S HOUSE and OF SLEEP AND SHADOW at the Mint Theatre Company, CLOWNING THE BARD and CLOWNING THE BIBLE at FringeNYC, DEGAS IN NEW ORLEANS at E.S.T's Oktoberfest. As a producer: Vital Signs 9 and 10, Andria Laurie's THE AWAKENING, Sherry Kramer's WALL OF WATER, Katt Lissard's DARK LANTERN, and five years of producing and directing plays by women as Six Figures' Artistic Director. Education: BS in Performance Studies, Northwestern University, MA in Applied Theatre at CUNY School for Professional Studies, Fulbright Specialist 2012-2017.

RENNIE MATIAS: Finance Director
Rennie came to Vital as Finance Director in 2010. Previously, he worked as an accountant and bookkeeper with Accountemps, Cape Classics Inc and Wartburg Lutheran Services Inc, all in New York, USA and various accounting positions in the Philippines.

Michael Schloegl is a founding member of Vital Theatre Company.  He created the Vital Children’s Theatre Company with his productions of THREE BEARS AND A BABE, THE CHRISMOUSE STORY and HISTORY TIME HENRY.  He also wrote the book for CALLING ALL TOYS and created and performed in the hit holiday comedy, A COOKIE CORQUIE CHRISTMAS.  Michael also handled much of the sets, lights, costumes and other production aspects of early Vital shows.   He has directed and choreographed FOOTLOOSE, THE WIZARD OF OZ and MY WAY for the Millbrook Playhouse. Regional directing credits include: FAME, THE WIZ, ZOMBIE PROM, BYE BYE BIRDIE and IT'S UP IN THE AIR! Michael has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe in productions such as WEST SIDE STORY, OKLAHOMA, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, A CHORUS LINE and a featured dancer in Atlantic City’s Legends in Concert.  A teacher and theatre educator, Michael has worked with Demarest Middle School in Hoboken, NJ, Oyster Bay High School in Osyter Bay, NY and the Interprovincial Music Camp in Ontario, Canada. 

STEPHANIE USIS: Company Manager
Stephanie is a native New Yorker and graduate of Pace University where she studied Technical Theatre and received her BA in Stage Management. Since then she has SMed for talented directors DJ Mendel and Bob Cucuzza, helping create original works and as Assistant to the General Manager at the Helen Hayes Theatre, where she still works Front of House. Stephanie joined the Vital family in 2009 as Assistant to the Artistic Director before growing into her current position as Company Manager.

KATHLEEN TONER: Booking Director
Kathleen's role at Vital Theatre Company combines her dual career paths in theatre and business. She literally grew up in theatre with a dad who has worked in professional theatres for over 50 years. Kathleen began with small acting roles at Live Oak Theatre and Austin Playhouse in Austin, TX continuing to larger roles in high school. She continued her diverse practical theatre education by working at almost every job available. She has successfully trained box office associates for Austin Playhouse for the past 11 years. She planned or co-planned special events for eight years, has been onstage in record-breaking productions, and offstage in every available role - backstage as stage manager, in the office on the phone with subscribers, or in the lobby turning patrons into donors. She pursued an interest in business with a BBA from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS with dual majors in economics and business administration. Her work background with a financial services company, a stock brokerage firm, and as human resources generalist for a large international corporation have given her significant business skills to augment her theatre skills making her a happy fit for the role of Booking Director at Vital Theatre Company.

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