October 22, 1999


"Mariachi Quixote: La Sanchi Learns to Play the Guitarron" Steps Onto the Mayan Hall Stage October 28

Chula Vista, Ca — The School Arts and Communication at Southwestern College will present "Mariachi Quixote: La Sanchi Learns to Play the Guitarron," written by Jose Cruz Gonzalez and directed by Southwestern College Professor William Virchis. Performances run October 28-30, and November 3-6, at 8pm at Mayan Hall located on the College campus.

This production will be the world college premiere, which follows a workshop staged at UCLA in the summer of 1998. The performances will showcase the talents of Southwestern College students. The production will also feature musicians from the newly created Mariachi Program at Southwestern College. Under the musical direction of Dr. Jeff Nevin, this production will be the first in the canon of American Musical Theatre to present a full score of mariachi music, redefining the broadness of this great theatrical genre.

Loosely based upon the original story of Don Quixote and his famed quest for knighthood, Mariachi Qui-xote follows the idealistic hero Don Quezada in his quest for the greatest maria-chi player who has ever lived. The search takes him aboard public transportation through the Hispanic realm of Los Angeles along with his naive and uncultured niece Sanchi.

Along his quest, the old don imparts his cultural understanding to Sanchi who learns the art of mariachi as well as an understanding of her culture.

The opportunity to present this cultural piece to the community was one of the key reasons for producing Mariachi Quixote at SWC. "It not only supports the new Mariachi Program at the College and shows the breath and depth of our curriculum, but it adds to the cultural value of our community," explains Virchis, director of Mariachi Quixote. "And this is just the natural progression in the life of this piece. I was asked to direct the workshop at South Coast Repertory Theatre and was inspired by the script. I wanted to work with Jose Cruse Gonzalez and take the project to the next level and experience the work as a full production. I've done 72 original works in my career and know that the risks of presenting a world premiere are high but so are the potential rewards."

Mariachi Quixote will be Southwestern College's entry in the American College Theatre Festival for this year, which will be held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, February 8-13, 1999. The ACTF is a collegent theatrical competition that provides opportunities for college and university theater departments to showcase their best work and to receive outside assessment. Through state, regional and national festival, ACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. ACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in play-writing, acting, directing and design. SWC has gone to the ACTF an unprecedented seven times in the last 12 years. Past entries include: Who's Tommy, Bandido, Matador, Metropolis, Fantas-ma, Hair, and Pippin.

Choreographing the dancing for Mariachi Quixote will be Yolanda Chacon Beni-ques, a Ballet Folklorico instructor at Palomar College and the Artistic Director and Choreographer of La Fiesta Danzantes de San Diego. Beniques began performing Mexican folkloric dance in 1959. By 1991 she received status as a Maestra from El Superior de Danza Folklorica in Mazochoquim, Centro Cultural Sonora, Mexico. In 1997, she was awarded the Primer Diplomado de Danza Folklorica Mexicana in Baja California.

Tickets for Mariachi Quixote are on sale for $10 general admission, $7 students and seniors. For ticket reservations call (619) 482-6404 or for more information.

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