It premiered in Los Angeles in 1978, and debuted in New York City in 1979, but it has taken 21 more years for Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit to bow in Chicago. On June 16, the Goodman Theater gave the musical drama its first Windy City production. That run, which caps the Goodman's 1999-2000 season, will end on July 30.
Zoot Suit draws its inspiration from the 1943 "Zoot Suit Riot" in Los Angeles, where Chicago gang members were arrested for a suspected murder. Valdez's play mixes drama with mambo dancing and original Big Band music by Daniel Valdez. Henry Godinez directs the new mounting.
Featured in the cast are Marco Rodriguez as El Pachuco, a sort of master of ceremonies; Andrew Navarro as gang leader Henry Reyna; and Amy Landecker as social activist Alice Bloomfield.
The New York version of Zoot Suit was housed at the Winter Garden Theatre and starred Daniel Valdez and a then-unknown Edward James Olmos. Olmos received a Tony nomination for his performance.
Tickets are $29-$42. For more information, call (312) 443-3800. --By Robert Simonson n