Twenty-five years ago The University of Texas-Pan American celebrated the opening of its new theatre with an inaugural play of "Man of La Mancha," the first production to grace the new stage. Forward 25 years later, the University Theatre Productions will reintroduce the famous musical to a whole new generation this March and mark the continued growth of the theatre-film-television program at the University.
To commemorate the milestone, a special dinner/theatre reunion for the 1986 cast and production crew, theatre graduates, current students, and longtime UTPA audience aficionados is planned for Saturday, March 5 at 6 p.m. in the UTPA Ballroom. The performance will follow at 8 p.m.
"The program has been having reunions every five years, and we thought this was a great time to hold another," said Dr. Jack R. Stanley, program area head.
Among alumni returning to UTPA for the reunion will be Valente Rodriguez and Sara Kidd Kitto, who were in the 1986 production. Dr. Brian Warren, current UTPA theatre lecturer, who played the young priest in 1986, will now be playing the part of Don Quixote.
Dr. Marian Monta, emerita professor, who directed the 1986 performances, said the faculty was so excited then about the new facility they helped design.
" It was truly our 'Impossible Dream' and we wanted it to be memorable," Monta said.
"Man of La Mancha" is a musical play inspired by the 17th century Spanish Masterpiece, "Don Quixote de La Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes, that recounts the adventures of the "mad" knight, Don Quixote and his rational squire, Sancho Panza.
The musical will run March 2-4 at 8 p.m., March 5 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. A final matinee will be held March 6 at 2 p.m. All performances will be at the Albert L. Jeffers Theatre in the Communication Arts and Sciences Building on the corner of University Drive and Sugar Road.
In addition, the International Women's Board will host a special scholarship fundraiser - a dinner/theatre package - on March 1 to celebrate the program's achievements. For reservations to the scholarship benefit, call Christi Cantu, UTPA Development Office, at (956) 665-3665.
Theatre ticket prices are as follows: Reserve seating, $20; general admission, $15; and non-UTPA students with school ID, $5. UTPA students, faculty and staff receive one free admission with a valid UTPA ID. No children below the third grade will be admitted to the performance.
The box office opens one hour prior to each performance. For reservations or more information, call (956) 665-3581.
If interested in attending the dinner/theatre reunion, tickets are $50 per person. Deadline for guaranteed seating is Wednesday, Feb. 23. For more information on the reunion, e-mail Elva Galvan, Theatre Box Office manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.