Book and Lyrics by Kayla Friend
Music and Spanish Lyrics by Jaime Lozano
Music and Lyrics by Jessy Tomsko
Music and Additional Lyrics by Andres Maldonado
Published in 1884, Helen Hunt Jackson’s first full-length novel, Ramona, was an instant success. Tales of the old Spanish ranchos, the plight of the Indians, and the whirlwind romance of a young woman of mysterious descent brought new attention to the quickly-shifting political climate of the newly formed state of California. Jackson’s original intent had been to deliver a ‘palatable’ story of the mistreatment of California’s Native Americans in order to evoke sympathy from the public and influence a change in the government policies that handled Indian affairs; however, the novel initially sparked more interest in California tourism than heartfelt political activism. This was, in part, due to Jackson’s romanticization of Spanish Californio society and her sentimental portrayal of Mexican colonial life.
In this new musical adaptation, Ramona follows the story of the original novel with some specific adjustments and additions, told in part by the character of Helen Hunt Jackson herself. Ramona begins at the crossroads of the American West, a collision of the old and the new in California - a land in which Indians are being forced to register with the government and flee their homes, Californios are being driven back to Mexico, and the Americanos are moving westward in search of riches and adventure. The music features the unique styles of traditional Mexican mariachi, Luiseño Indian bird songs, and American folk music; three languages are used during the production: English, Spanish, and Cahuilla, an Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.
2019 Furnace Festival Production