Titan to Head ‘Ramona’ Cast

Kayla Contreras

College of the Arts student Kayla Contreras will play the lead in "Ramona." Joseph Valdez, right, will return for a second year as Alessandro.

A woman who has lived most of her life in Hemet will have the titular role in the 2016 “Ramona” play.

Kayla Contreras, a 2014 graduate of Tahquitz High School, will star alongside Joseph Valdez in the long-running play. Valdez returns for a second consecutive year as Alessandro.

“Ramona,” California’s official outdoor play, will return for its 94th season April 16-May 1. Based on a novel by Helen Hunt Jackson about the mistreatment of Indians in late 1800s California, the play has been performed in the Ramona Bowl, south of Hemet, since 1923.

Contreras, 20, is studying musical theater at Cal State Fullerton. She is part Yaqui Indian.

She said she saw “Ramona” when she was about 12 and told her mother that she would one day portray Ramona.

“It feels so surreal and unbelievable to be living this childhood dream of mine,” she said.

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