Review of ‘The Many Deaths of Danny Rosales’


Photo Courtesy / Martyn Morales

Lona Areola as Berta Rosales and Lalo Delhoyo as Danny Rosales

Josh Haefner, Editor in Chief

Thunder Theater’s first show of the year, ‘The Many Deaths of Danny Rosales’ written by Doctor Carlos Morton, had its first showing the evening of September 7th. There will be another show on September 9th.  

The show did a great job of translating the story to the stage while dealing with the limitations of a high school production. The cast all did an amazing job at making the story feel as authentic as possible, with special mention to Fernanda Arellano, who played Rowena Saldivar, Lalo Delhoyo, who played Danny Rosales, and Sam Gutierrez, who played Sheriff Fred Hall.  

While the play’s overall runtime was cut down significantly, the production still feels complete, and no holes are created within the story. The bulk of what was lost in the process of trimming the story are some of the flashbacks within the story, and while it is a shame they had to be cut, the story still flows well without them. 

The set design is minimalistic but achieves everything it sets out to accomplish. The courtroom is convincing enough, but what really helps it stand out is the scale in the background, symbolizing justice. The lighting is dynamic and dramatic, helping this symbol stand out in the best way possible.  

To summarize the plot of the docudrama play briefly and avoiding as many spoilers as possible: a Mexican American man, Danny Rosales, is killed by the town’s sheriff Fred Hall, who then drags his entire family into a cover up. The play covers the ensuing trial and delivers context in the form of flashbacks.  

The plot of the play is based on the real death of Ricardo Morales, who was killed in much the same manner in the 1970s. Doctor Morton’s play is an excellent dramatization of the events, and Thunder Theater’s own production has certainly done it justice.  

The play covers several issues that remain relevant to the world today, namely those of racism and police brutality. It is not hard to imagine a story similar to that of Danny Rosales happening today, decades after the case that inspired it. There are still very real racial divides throughout the United States, divides that are only worsened by incidents of police brutality toward ethnic minorities.  

If you are interested in attending the play, the next showing is on Friday, September 9th. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the door.