Stars of the classic film “Stand and Deliver” have a message for the Pasco teens bringing the inspiring story to their school’s stage later this week: break a leg.
“We hear that you’re doing a production of the movie — the play version. We just wanted to wish you all good luck,” Patrick Baca said in a special video message.
He was joined by Lydia Nicole, Daniel Villarreal and Will Gotay, who appeared alongside him in the beloved 1988 film.
They’ve remained close in the 30 years since the movie’s release, and wanted to send words of encouragement when they learned of Pasco High’s upcoming production. Opening night is Thursday.
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“You better do good!” Nicole jokes in the video.
If not, “we’ll come get you,” teases Villarreal.
Gotay urges the teens to “have a great time.”
“Stand and Deliver” tells the story of real-life teacher Jaime Escalante, who developed an Advanced Placement calculus program at an East Los Angeles high school — to stunning results.
Baca was 20 when he took on the role of class know-it-all Javier. Nicole, Villarreal and Gotay portray fellow students.
Edward James Olmos played Escalante in the film, earning an Academy Award nomination. Lou Diamond Phillips also stars, playing troubled yet gifted teen Angel Guzman.
Pasco High’s production runs this weekend and next in the school’s auditorium. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and March 23. A 2 p.m. matinee is planned March 24.
Well-known Tri-City actor Sergio Bueno plays Escalante. More than 40 Pasco High students are involved in the show, on stage or behind the scenes.
Baca now works as a casting director in L.A. He learned about Pasco High’s production from a Tri-City Herald story.
The show’s poster — featuring students standing in front of a chalkboard — reminded him of a publicity photo from the film.
“It charmed me,” he said.
He already had a gathering with his old castmates planned. “I thought, ‘This is good timing,’” he said.
For him, “Stand and Deliver” was a memorable experience — from observing the real Escalante in the classroom before filming, to the movie’s positive reception, to its continued inspiration.
“The film became something much bigger than any of us had anticipated,” he said, noting it’s often shown in schools, even decades later. “It’s really had incredible staying power.”
Along with words of encouragement for the young Pasco actors, Baca also had some words of wisdom: “Don’t be afraid to dream big. Dream creatively and dream boldly,” he said. “Be prepared to invest time and effort to realize your dreams — and create a band of friends that share your goals, so you can keep each other encouraged along the way.”
Tickets for the Pasco High show are $7 for adults and $5 for students in advance or $8 for adults and $6 for students at the door.
The Thursday performance is “Student Night,” with all Pasco High students getting in for free with a student ID.