Interesting San Diego-related panoramic photograph showing the cast of "Heart's Desire" a "mammoth civic play" that was produced in San Diego from the 1930s into the 1940s.
The play was a historical romance set against the backdrop of California's early pioneer days. Consequently, there are some actors dressed in redface, intending to represent early California Indians, evidenced by a woman holding a woven basket at the far left. Other actors are dressed in romantic and exotic costumes representing Spanish or Mexican settlers and missionaries.
This photo appears to show the play after it had undergone some improvements following the initial production in 1930. These are outlined in an article in the Escondido Times-Advocate from 1931:
CHANGE IN SCRIPT OF HEART'S DESIRE, CALLING FOR MANY MUSICAL NUMBERS TO CONSTRUCT SOUND BOARD
With a greatly increased cast of players and new songs by leading California composers, "Heart's Desire," mammoth civic play to be presented at the municipal bowl in San Diego, August 21 to 29, is now in full rehearsal for its second annual production.
Last year's presentation of "Heart's Desire," while prepared in the inadequate time of three weeks, was remarkably successful. During the nine. successive nights it was enacted, over 40,000 people witnessed the romance. Careful check showed that around 5,000 of this number were people from outside cities who had made the trip. to San Diego especially to see the play.
Not content with the splendid record of the premiere showing, producers are bending every effort to make it a bigger and finer production this year.
New musical numbers have been composed for the play by Charles Wakefield Cadman, noted California composer; Nino Marcelli, conductor of the San Diego Symphonic orchestra, and Royal Brown, popular concert organist. Wallace Moody will direct the choral singing.
The script of the play has been gone. over thoroughly by the co-authors, Jack T. Millan and Pauline P. Austin. While still retaining the original plot. they have rewritten many scenes and strengthened the whole fiber of the play. Authorities who have read the new script announce it greatly improved.
To eliminate all possibility of poor hearing conditions, the entire setting of the play will be placed about forty feet nearer the audience than it was last year. Specially constructed soundboards are being prepared to improve acoustics.