The 95th “Ramona” Outdoor Play coming this spring will be featuring the same last year’s leads and many of the returning actors and actresses that brought the Helen Hunt Jackson novel to life in 2016.
The “Ramona” Outdoor Play, considered California’s only official outdoor play, will be presented the weekends of April 22-23, April 29-30 and May 6-7 at the Ramona Bowl in Hemet.
It didn’t take long for the “Ramona” Play casting team to choose actress Kayla Contreras for the role of “Ramona” and Joseph Valdez as “Alessandro.” It will be Contreras’s second year playing the lovelorn Ramona. Valdez is portraying Alessandro for his third year in the outdoor pageant. The pair will act out the novel’s story of a tragic love between a half Indian, half Scot daughter of a Spanish land matriarch and a Mission Indian youth that became a part of the American West’s disenfranchisement of the Indians in California during the 1870s.
For the 94 years that the play has entertained audiences from throughout the world it never ceases to remain a strong memory in the minds of those attending. There have been a few scripting modifications made by writer Stephen Savage in the past three years that have been successful in captivating the crowds at the Ramona Bowl and this year it will be no exception.
Many of the actors who have played their lead roles in the play for years promise to improve their already outstanding performances. Coming back in this year’s “Ramona” play cast will be three previous Ramonas. They include Cesaria Hernandez who will play Marda, Monica Reichi as Aunt Ri and Kathi Anderson who will portray Senora Moreno. Daniel Martinez will reprise the role as Juan Canito. Dan Ferguson will play the nasty gunman Jim Ferrar. The gentle priest in the play Padre Salvedirerra will be played by returning actor Robert Leibovich. Randy Dawkins will join him playing Padre Gaspara.
The character Joe will be played by Rafael Wave Hernandez-Minard while Emilia Skye Hernandez-Minard will join him as Dolores.
Providing some of the music and chants in play will be the Indian soloist Frank Jaramillo. The novelist Helen Hunt Jackson will be portrayed by Linda Greilich.
The other lead cast members for the 2017 will include:
Juan: Daniel Martinez
Felipe: Bret Cherland
Margarita; Paola Cifuentes
Luigo: Pablo Cifuentes
Mara: Teresa Seaton
Jefferson Hyer: Gregg Wilder
Kit Carson/Jake: Mike Thomas
Capt. Merrill: Eric Cervantes
Curly: Steve Silkotch, Jr.
Hyton: Chris Summers
Jose: Jesse Nechochea
Yank: Rick Hodson
Sergeant: J.R. Hall
Capt. Hernandez: Ray Munoz
Lt. Sandoval: David Ssndoval
Ned: Steve Hoadley
Wagon Master: Danny Sullivan
Tickets for the play will be $18 to $44 will be on sale at the Ramona Bowl Museum, 27400 Ramona Bowl Road, Hemet. Online at ramonabowl.com or etix.com or other ticket outlets. They will also be on sale at the performances. Playgoers are urged to take blankets or pillows to sit on in the cement seats in the amphitheater on performance days. Shows begin at 3:30 p.m.