The Ramona Play | Pageantry, Drama, and the Romance of Old California
2022 “Ramona” Performance Dates • April 23rd & 24th • April 31st & May 1st
by Richard Sandoval
I’ve lived in Southern California’s Inland Region since 1988 and I’m embarrassed to say until yesterday I had never been to the Ramona Bowl let alone, watched the Ramona Pageant, play. What a great experience I had. From the moment you see the set, you realize that you are about to experience something very, very different.
My son and I experienced the play on press day, which was combined with a performance for area fourth graders. The seats were a little more than half full, but should have been packed to capacity with children from around Southern California. Just so we’re clear the photos I have posted, as beautiful as they are, in no way completely capture the perfect Southern California day, the artists great performances and probably the most interactive play I have ever experienced. It is no wonder this story has been performed for audiences for the last 99 years.
I won’t give away too much, but the Ramona Pageantry tells the story of California’s history, social struggles amongst the classes and a love story between Ramona and Alessandro.
Remind yourself there is something about experiencing a live performance with a group of people and the shared reaction to many of the scenes is why we go to the theater. Yes, there were many oohs and ahhhs from the audience.
I recommend that you treat you and your family to a live performance at more than a reasonable price. It goes without saying that we need to support the arts. Streaming movies at home is fine, but nothing and I repeat nothing will replace the experience of watching a live performance. Plus it’s in our own back yard. The Ramona Bowl is located in Hemet, California. Our family will be enjoying the performance scheduled for this Sunday.
In our exclusive video interviews with a few of the cast members, you can tell how passionate they are about sharing this story with the community. They clearly understand that their own participation demonstrates how dedicated they are to keeping California’s longest running outdoor play alive.
For many years and I believe the formal title is the “Ramona Pageantry.” Let’s be clear it is much more than your average play performed in a theater. From live horses to gun battles, huge sets. It’s not even fair to say that it’s like a movie experience because no movie screen can capture all the layers of interaction between scenery, acting and the atmosphere of the Ramona play.
From their website
With an artists vision and a writers passion for justice, a rocky hillside tucked away in a remote valley gave birth to RAMONA in 1923. A classic love story of life in early California during the 1850’s, RAMONA authentically depicts the cultural diversity of emerging settlers and native peoples.
Each year, the communities of Hemet/San Jacinto join together to share their love of theatre arts and bring RAMONA back to life. Showcasing art & theatre performance treasures, San Jacinto Valley history, photography and native archaeology!
The Ramona Bowl Museum has been operated since 1953 by the Ramona Pageant Association, which has produced the annual Ramona Pageant since 1923.Each spring, among the splendor of California’s natural beauty, a wonderful thing occurs. Hundreds of people; actors and extras, Spanish dancers and musicians, horses, cowboys, and of course, those who represent the rich heritage of Southern California’s Native Tribes, all come together to create magic. And that magic is “Ramona”, California’s Official Outdoor Play, and America’s longest continuously running drama. Set within the spectacular amphitheatre known as the Ramona Bowl, the play is a wonder to behold. Performed under gorgeous spring skies, “Ramona” has become an international wonder.
Established in 1923, “Ramona” has been thrilling audiences from around the world for over ninety years. Always spectacular, always alive with the spirit of California’s vast history and traditions, “Ramona” is guaranteed to delight and inspire. More than just a love story, its pageantry and grander creates an aura of exuberance that you simply cannot experience anywhere else. This timeless play is something you simply can’t afford to miss. So join us on another adventure into California’s bygone past. A past filled with music, drama, comedy, dance, and romance. Join us and celebrate the magic that is “Ramona”.