‘Ramona’ cast party held at historic Massacre Canyon Inn

Photo courtesy of Golden Era Productions
Samantha Stilwell representing State Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Riverside County Sheriff Chief Ray Wood, Riverside County Sheriff Capt. Leonard Purvis, Heather Perry representing State Senator Mike Morrell, and Hemet Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful. Front row: Hemet Mayor Linda Krupa, awardee Theresa Seaton, and San Jacinto Councilwoman Crystal Ruiz.

Theresa Seaton receives honors for her work in Helen Hunt Jackson’s historic play

Ending the 94th season of the Ramona Pageant on a high note, Golden Era Productions hosted a cast party at historical Massacre Canyon Inn, built in 1962 as part of the old Gilman Springs Resort.
The San Jacinto Valley has a rich history which is kept alive through the Ramona Pageant and its dedicated volunteers and cast. To acknowledge this 94th season and the longest running outdoor play in American history, the community came together April 29 to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of Ramona Pageant volunteers and cast members.
Representatives from state and local leadership presented special proclamations to Theresa Seaton, an elder from the Soboba Reservation, who first appeared in “Ramona” in 1940. The proclamations were from Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36), State Senator Mike Morrell (R-23), Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-42), Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-67), Riverside County supervisors, the City of Hemet and the City of San Jacinto.
Born into the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians as Theresa Silvas, she is a 1949 graduate of Hemet High School. Theresa first appeared in “Ramona” as a sheep-shearing child in 1940 at the tender age of seven.
During the 1940s, Spanish dancers were recruited from the local high schools and Theresa served as a “boy” dancer in her sophomore and junior year and in her senior year was dancing as a Spanish girl. After graduation, she became an Indian Maiden and backup dancer to the famous Arias Troubadours.

Photo by Golden Era Productions
Red Tailed Spirit Dancers perform for the cast and volunteers who work hard to make “Ramona” happen.

After 50 years away from the valley, Theresa rejoined Ramona as an Indian Woman from 1998 to 2008. Since 2014 she has played the role of the Ancient Mara in the Elder’s Blessing. With her rich voice and stage presence, her blessing of Alessandro and Ramona’s baby is one of the most beautiful moments in the play. It is people like Theresa who continue the legacy of Helen Hunt Jackson and Garnet Holmes’ vision for 94 years. In fact, Theresa plans on continuing to perform as the Ancient Mara until the 100th anniversary.
Golden Era Productions has hosted this cast appreciation bash for the last 18 years, which is made possible by sponsorships and contributions from groups such as Grocery Outlet, the Hemet Elks, the MSJC Ladies basketball team, Grandfathers For Golf and Golden Era Productions.

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