DIRECTORS

Throughout Season 58, we will be sampling a vast array of talented artistic and musical directors who have called the Camille Playhouse home. We will continue to post photos, bios and more as our schedule develops.

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 Grande 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. 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.

JOEL LAMAR CRUZ

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.

 

Previously, Sylvia performed in Harlingen at The Country Playhouse where she introduced her two daughters to the arts at a very early age.  She is also an accomplished dancer and singer having traveled with the First United Methodist Choir throughout Europe, the Gloria G. Canales School of Dance to the Carnival de Nice, and the Festival of International Dance in Holland as a featured dancer.  Sylvia has taught ballet at Rio Grande Valley Arts Studio and Ballet Folklorico at St. Anthony Catholic School.  Her teaching skills easily transferred to creating the choreography for shows at the Camille Playhouse, the Harlingen Performing Arts Center, the Moulin Rouge Dinner Theater in El Paso, and Bellarmine Jefferson High School in Burbank, CA.  A SAG/AFTRA member, Sylvia has worked on several films in Los Angeles, CA most notably THE DARK TOURIST opposite Michael Cudlitz and Melanie Griffith.

 

Currently, Sylvia sits on our Camille Board of Directors and the Cameron Willacy County Medical Alliance.  She is a proud member of the Valley Baptist Medical Center Volunteer Auxiliary and the Diane Brumley Choir. NJD. And most recently became a member of the Chorus of the Rio Grande Valley..

Brian J. Warren holds an Ed.D from the University of Houston and is an Associate Professor & the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) specialist in the Theatre Department at UTRGV. He last directed (pre COVID) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for UTRGV’s Mainstage season and The Witches by Roald Dahl for UTRGV’s TYA season. Warren has written 20 TYA plays that have enjoyed 200 different productions. Warren’s book Theatre for Young Audiences: 7 Original Plays with Commentary has recently been published by Kendall Hunt publishing.   Warren is a huge fan of the Camille Theatre (he appeared in South Pacific with the Camille in 2002!) and is proud to be directing Humbug!

BRIAN J. WARREN

BOBBY TORRES

Bobby Torres is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. He has worked with  UNT's Opera Theatre, The Vestige Group, The Vortex Theatre and as a company member of Aztlan Dance Company in Austin, TX.  He has also had the privilege of performing with Denton Community Theatre, Harlingen Community Theatre and many seasons with The Camille Playhouse. Bobby is thrilled to take on the role of guest director for our first two shows of the season.