Ron Celena (above center) strikes a pose with Lucie Arnaz and her husband, Larry Luckinbill.

As we learn in his official bio, “Ron Celona has produced, directed and choreographed over 60 productions. As an actor, Ron has performed on stage, in Films TV and Commercials. He began his career as an actor, dancer and singer in Philadelphia, PA. Trained in New York at AMDA (American Musical & Dramatic Academy), he worked for several years in New York, Philadelphia and Atlantic City, NJ and moved to California in 1984. He continued his education in theatre at Cal State University Los Angeles. During and after attending school he continued his acting career by adding TV and film credits to his resume.

Broadway legend Carol Channing with Ron Celona

He later became the founder and Producing Artistic Director of the American Musical Theatre Repertory in Los Angeles, CA; a company which produced workshops of new musicals.

Ron moved to the Palm Springs area in 1999 and was the founder and Producing Artistic Director for the Joslyn Center Theater (currently the Arthur Newman Theatre) and Joslyn Players from 1999 through 2007 in Palm Desert, CA. During his tenure he created an award winning Theatre Company and venue that was supported and respected by the community.

Ron and Mrs. Brady, also known as Florence Henderson.

Selected by the McCallum Theatre Insitute, a branch of the Lincoln Center Institute, as a teaching artist, he trained teachers in summer workshops. His goal was to train these educators to teach young boys and girls, grades 3-12 an appreciation of visual and theatre arts. He also taught theatre arts for the Riverside Country Arts Council in CA and was responsible for creating and delivering a theatre curriculum designed for underprivileged children in Indio and Coachella, CA.

Ron Celona (center) with Don Martin and Kaye Ballard.

At present, he is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Coachella Valley Repertory (CVRep), an Equity non-profit educational dramatic and musical theatre. CVRep’s primary goal is to present innovative, first-rate professional theatrical productions and special events for the enrichment and education of the region’s residents and visitors.

Ron Celona with Terrence McNally

Ron is also a proud member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society), Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of TV and Radio.”

Ron says, “PS I love you because…”

  1. Your namesake extends beyond the border of your city, with diverse communities throughout the Palm Springs metropolitan area, like Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio, etc. Each with its own personality has little jewels within it’s boarders that welcome a desert dweller. One just needs to seek them out.
  2. Your creative and passionate people. I am always meeting new and creative people that are attracted to our valley. Whether at a friends home, charity function or just out and about, I end up meeting people who have come here to express themselves in their own special way. Whether they are artists, merchants, medical professionals, restaurateurs, contractors, designers, retired individuals or volunteers. They find creative ways to make a difference in our community.
  3. Your generosity. People throughout the Coachella Valley are perhaps the most generous population of people per square mile in California. One just needs to look at how many non-profit organizations there are in our valley to understand. It takes volunteer hours and deep pockets to make any non-profit successful and our communities make this possible.
  4. Your majestic mountains, sunny days and starlit nights. Perhaps this is the secret to making people happy, creative, generous and productive. Waking up in the morning, opening the shade or curtain and walking out into paradise. OK, I know the summers are trying….but spend a hot humid day in other parts of our country and you won’t mind coming back to our hot and DRY summer.
  5. You make dreams come true….for me personally, I have had the dream of a professional regional theatre for most of my life and after years of working in this profession, I am seeing this dream come to fruition. I believe this would not have been possible if not for living in a community like ours. 

Ron Celona, Marion Ross (of Happy Days fame), and Gavin MacLeod (best known from The Love Boat)

Ron…we're so fortunate to have you and your talents in the desert, and it's an honor to have known you all these years.  I look forward to more thrills and surprises sourced from your creativity and vision.  Thank you!


Nicholas Snow

For more info on CVRep, click here.

Want to be featured in the “PS I love you because…” column?

To be considered, email me (Nicholas Snow, your top five answers (they can be short or long) to the statement, “PS I love you because…” and/or “PS I love you because I enjoy…”, along with two or three biographical paragraphs.  Also, send some photos of things you love about the area including, ideally, you doing something you love in the area. Your submission does not guarantee publication.  Thanks!