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RAMONA Bowl Amphitheatre
 
RAMONA Bowl Amphitheatre
Hemet, California, USA
Late April
Description
The outdoor play Ramona,is a unique outdoor pageant that portrays the lives of the Southern California Mission-era Indians and Hispanics. The play was adopted from Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel, "Ramona." 2004 dates:Apr10, 17-18,24-25 & May 1-2

As the Official California State Outdoor Play, the Ramona Outdoor Play is one of Southern California's great traditions. A journey back into early California history, this grand outdoor drama, set in late 1800s California, tells the story of the star-crossed lovers, Ramona and Alessandro.

The show is based on Helen Hunt Jackson's classic 1884 novel, Ramona, which was written in an attempt to change public opinion towards the American Indian. The harsh treatment of the Indians portrayed in the novel was based on actual events taking place in Southern California at the end of the 19th century.

Ramona was a best seller, but most readers ignored the message of social reform. Instead, the book helped begin Southern California's first great tourist rush. People across the country came to visit the place they had read about in Jackson's compelling love story. Tourists flocked to the Rancho Camulos in Ventura County, which was dubbed "The Home of Ramona" or to Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego for "Ramona's Marriage Place."

The tourists were still coming in 1923, when the Hemet - San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce presented the first Ramona Pageant. California's leading outdoor dramatist, Garnet Holme, adapted Ramona for the stage and directed the show until his death in 1929.

The Ramona Outdoor Play is presented in a natural amphitheatre in the foothills in Hemet, California.

There is no stage in the traditional sense; instead, the action takes place in the canyon and on the hillsides, which are dotted with Indian huts. A full-size replica of an adobe hacienda (built 1936, see right) serves as a backdrop for the first act. In the early years, audiences sat on a rocky hillside. Today, there is permanent seating for more than 6,600 people.

While technology has brought the Outdoor Play into the 21st century with microphones and speakers, many traditions still stand. All of the music and singing during the play is performed live on the spot, just as it was in the 1920s.

Another unique aspect of the Ramona Outdoor Play is the cast -- nearly 400 volunteers of all ages gather yearly to make the Outdoor Play a reality. Some individuals have been involved with the show for 30, 40 -- even 50 years!

Many local families have participated in the Outdoor Play for three to four generations now. Several famous Hollywood actors have appeared in the Ramona Outdoor Play. Longtime character actor Victor Jory was associated with the show for more than 40 years. In 1959, Raquel Welch played Ramona. A decade later, in 1969, Anne Archer won the title role of Ramona.

"The Ramona Outdoor Play is a great way to learn about California's heritage told through the ficti

Performers
Cast of over 400 including 200 children, live animals. Auditions in January 2004 for leads Ramona and Alessandro, all speaking parts.
Venue
Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre
Directions
70 miles from San Diego, 85 miles from LA, 60 miles from Palm Springs. Located in Hemet Ca between Hwy 10 and 215.
Times
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm.
Admission & Parking
Show Tickets ($29.50 - $49.00) Meal Tickets ($12)
Website
http://www.ramonabowl.com/
Infophone
909--658-3111 or 800-645-4465
Email
ramona@ramonabowl.com
 


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