Latin Band, Youth Theater Group Partner for Show
The Winchester Players Musical Theater Program and musician Rick Arroyo will bring the story of Ritchie Valens and the history and music of Latin rock to the musical theater production, “Ritchie: A Tribute to Ritchie Valens,” in April. For now, the group is seeking youth ages 6 to 17 to bring the story and the music of greats in Latin rock history to life, from Richie Valens to Carlos Santana. Registration is still open for the spring session.
The Winchester Players Musical Theater program is split into age groups and meets from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays for ages 10 to 17 and from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays for ages 6 to 9. Cost is $90 for the younger class and $100 for the older class for the 12-week session. The Winchester Players are the house theater company of the Winchester Cultural Center.
“Ritchie: A Tribute to Ritchie Valens” will feature live music by Rick Arroyo and the Latin Jazz Ensemble and contain the singer’s most famous songs, including “La Bamba” and “Donna,” as well as those by other artists from that era and throughout the history of Latin rock. Arroyo will work with the children throughout the production process to help them understand the genre as well as learn about Valens and his contributions to music history.
Valens, a Mexican-American singer, died in a small plane crash in an Iowa corn field with rock n’ roll heavyweights J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Buddy Holly on Feb. 3, 1959. Although Valens was only 17 years old at the time of his death and spent a short time on the national popular music scene, the impact of his work has been felt for generations. Valens transformed “La Bamba,” a traditional Mexican folk song, into a rock n’ roll classic, making him a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock n’ roll movement.
The brother-and-sister team of Susan and Christopher Swanson direct the show, which features about 40 young singers, dancers and actors. Susan Swanson brings Broadway experience to the troupe from shows such as “No, No Nannette,” “Pajama Game” and “Anything Goes” while Christopher Swanson has performed in “Jubilee!” at Bally’s on the Strip, among others.
Those interested in becoming a member of the Winchester Players can call the Winchester Cultural Center at (702) 455-7340 or visit the Web site at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov/parks. Clark County Parks and Recreation also can be found on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 14th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 42 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The county also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.