The Graduate Comes to Visalia Stage

Visalia Players present the stage adaptation of the 1967 coming-of-age classic, The Graduate at the Ice House Theatre. The theatrical version premiered in London in 2000 to critical acclaim and was brought to Broadway two years later.

As with many college graduates, Benjamin Braddock is wondering what the future holds. He is not enamored by his father’s plans for his future and is looking for diversions. He doesn’t have to look far. Between his affair with Mrs. Robinson and falling in love with her daughter Elaine, his summer is anything but dull.

The cast includes newcomers to the Ice House Theatre and familiar faces.  Christopher Dorado, who is portraying Benjamin, is debuting at the Ice House, but is no stranger to the stage. Dorado, a theater major, is part of the artistic company at COS.

The Graduate is a staple of American cinema. I was immediately intrigued when I learned the Visalia Players were doing the show,” Dorado said.

Merina Amos (Mrs. Robinson) has been involved in a number of Ice House productions, most recently Side By Side By Sondheim. Amos described Mrs. Robinson as “a disillusioned women with a life of broken dreams and an empty heart.”

“Mr. Robinson is a sexist business leader of the 60s with definite ideas about the roles of men and women,” said actor Clark Hawley.

Returning to the Ice House after several years of travel, Hawley prefers the play’s portrayal of Mr. Robinson “because he is a more interesting character in the stage version.”

In her second show at the Ice House, Marisela Gomez is excited to have been chosen to play Elaine Robinson.

“She is the sunshine of the show, light hearted and sweet, despite the family dynamics that could have made her pessimistic,” she said.

“Mr. Braddock is stereotypical of the 60s” quips Peter Sommers. “I make the money; this is my house; and I’m creating the family around me.”

Jennifer Toledo sees Mrs. Braddock similarly. “She’s a Stepford Wife. She smiles even when everything is not fine. She is mechanical.”

Co-directors Henry Ralston (nee Gonzales) and Sergio Garza are very excited about the play and their cast.

Ralston noted, “I love it. It was one of my favorite movies, and the play is not very different from the movie. It still has the iconic lines that people are going to expect.”

On Sunday June 21 after the matinee, “Back Stage at the Ice House” will be hosted by Sharon DeCoux, a veteran Visalia Player. Audience members will have an opportunity for a behind the scenes look at the show and the opportunity to ask questions and interact with cast/crew.

The Graduate runs for three weekends at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia. Evening performances are at 7:30pm on 6/12, 6/13, 6/19/, 6/20, 6/26, and 6/27 and matinees are at 2pm on 6/14, 6/21, and 6/28. Note: The play includes adult content.

To purchase tickets go to the Visalia Players’ website at www.visaliaplayers.org, their Facebook page “Visalia Community Players”, or call 734-3900.

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