Rigo Jimenez is part of my series of interviews of young, upcoming artists in the Rogue Valley who are making a name for themselves. Most recently featured in "Spamalot!" he was also a strong musical presence in Camelot Theatre's production of "The Day the Music Died," in which he played singer-songwriter Ritchie Valens. I spent a little time with Jimenez to discuss his past, present and future.

JG: Rigo, what led you to become a stage actor?

RJ: I did a school play in elementary school in Willows, California, with no thought process whatsoever that this was gonna change my life, then in sixth (grade) I was so surprised to see some of my friends performing in front of other students and teachers that I had to join and really get in depth with acting. It sparked a fire that's still going after 10 years and going strong, that becoming an actor was something worth doing, because I truly love doing it.

JG: What have been your creative influences — friends, film actors, etc.?

RJ: The word "influence" is a word that I grab onto a bit more because, though life may not be on my side, I'm grateful to have all the wonderful people in my life that have been there and supported me growing as an actor and a human being and they know who they are. And of course there's movies and TV shows that bring an edge, yet can smooth things out with a look or a phrase or in any way that changes the atmosphere, and Denzel Washington became the first on my list, so I want to give thanks to that amazing influence from his biggest fan since he was 5 years old.

JG: What is your dream scenario for your creative life?

RJ: A dream scenario would be getting a phone call informing me that this dream, this life that I'm fighting for day in and day out, is becoming a reality and is making big changes in my life. Until now, it's just reading as many books as I can, performing nonstop, listening to music to get me through the day and always letting myself known why I am doing this.

JG: What are your upcoming projects for 2017?

RJ: Now that "Spamalot" is done — I'm still sad about it — Robbie Dacosta messaged me a few weeks ago asking me if I'm interested in a gig for New Year's Eve, basically a reprise of my role in "Spotlight On!: The Day the Music Died." Other than that, I decided to take a bit of a break and make sure I'm taking good care of myself. I'm hopeful some really good news comes knocking on my door, but I still have to put in the work and keep making a name for myself until then.

—Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Daily Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at gillespie.jeffrey@gmail.com.