FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT Natalia Garza is thrilled to be portraying Catrina at this year’s Catrina Experience Fundraiser. She has been performing on the Camille Playhouse stage since she was 11 years old, making her debut performance as Hodel in the summer youth workshop production of Fiddler on the Roof. Two years later, she became a summer youth workshop director and continued to direct for 6 consecutive years. Natalia has appeared on Camille’s main stage in various roles such as Glinda in the Wizard of Oz, June in Gypsy, and Ginette/Gayle/Waitress in Almost Maine. Her most recent performance was at the Mary Moody Northern Theatre, portraying Wendla in Spring Awakening. Natalia enjoys spending quality time with her family, taking her cat out for walks, and teaching cycling classes. She would like to thank the board of directors for giving her the opportunity to be Catrina once again and in person! José Villarreal is a Professional Musician/Guitarist and Teacher based in South Texas. He began playing guitar at the age of 14 and at 16, he received his first salary as a musician when he began offering private guitar lessons to other classmates in his school. Previously, José has worked with many different live bands and projects including a concert with the Grammy-Winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the world premiere of “Austin Pictures” with the Miro String Quartet at Austin City Limits, and performing a two-night, sold-out concert with Los Enanitos Verdes in McAllen, Texas. He has been very fortunate to take master classes with various artists including LAGQ member William Kanengiser and Guitar Wizard Steve Vai. He graduated from The University of Texas at Brownsville with a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Guitar Education and a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Music Performancefrom Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain. In 2015, José transcribed the album En Vivo by the Argentinean Rock Band Los Enanitos Verdes and is currently working closely with the band to have it published. As of today, José is teaching privately in Brownsville, TX as well as performing live throughout the valley with various bands and artists. Sylvia Lester Originally from El Paso, Texas, Sylvia Lester moved to Harlingen in 1989 and has been an active member of the Rio Grande Valley Arts Community ever since. Her time at the Camille Playhouse spans about 20 years and includes such notable roles as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Roxy Hart in Chicago, Barbara Weston in August Osage County, and Dotsie Mae in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Joel LaMar Cruz was Camille Lightner’s Cameo Appearance Artist for nearly a decade, appearing in 7 mainstage productions, while also serving as stage manager, director, musical director, vocal coach, conductor and choreographer for at least 10 other productions. After a 10 year absence, Joel returned to Camille to support the theatre with several virtual performances and followed that up by conceiving and directing 56 SEASONS OF SONG and made an appearance in the season opener this fall, adding to his list of cameos. Other credits over the last 25 years, include collaborations with the Harlingen Performing Arts Theatre, the Tower Theatre, the University Theatre and Westfield Theatre. After studying dance at Rio Grand Valley Arts Studio, and earning a BA in Design for Theatre/Television/Film, Joel stumbled upon a career in Choral Music Education, leading award winning choirs and conducting “world class concerts” across the state for nearly 20 years. A performer at heart, Joel has extensive experience as a member of and soloist, appearing with the Arlington Choral Society, the Turtle Creek Chorale, Schola Cantorum, the South Texas Mass Choir, the Note Vole Singers, and most notably with the South Texas Chorale and currently with the Dianne Brumley Chorale and the Comfort Singers. He is also the founder and director of The Studio Chorale, a touring youth chorus providing educational choral activities and performances for youth throughout South Texas. The Studio Chorale has performed The Great Russian Nutcracker with the renowned Moscow Ballet and staged concerts of Theodore Dubois’ The Seven Last Words of Christ, Joseph Martin’s The Winter Rose, and musical theatre productions of Annie, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Joel recently founded and is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Chorus of the Rio Grande Valley, who make their debut in concert this December (follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @ChorusRGV). He continues to serve the Performing Arts Communities across the state as a Guest Artist, Consultant, Clinician, Presenter, Adjudicator and Educator.
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