In 1943, twelve Chicano gang members at Sleepy Lagoon were convicted of murder, simply for being hispanic at the wrong place and the wrong time. The trials erupted into the Zoot Suit Riots, so named for the Cab Calloway-inspired outfits the young men wore in the Big Band-crazed times. Playwright Luis Valdez ("La Bamba") brings Zoot Suit back to Los Angeles July 11-15 at the Skirball Cultural Center for its first production in the area since its debut at the Mark Taper Forum in 1978. The historical drama, recently revived at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, will be recorded for future broadcast on KCRW 89.9 FM and satellite radio.
Valdez directs his play. Marco Rodriguez stars as El Pachuco with original Los Angeles cast members Daniel Valdez and Alma Martinez and Maria Candelaria, Ruben Gonzales, Ana Huac Valdez, Kinan Valdez and Lakin Valdez.
Tickets are $34-$38. Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. For reservations, call (310) 827-0889.
All TheatreWorks theatre productions are recorded for future broadcast on Santa Monica College's KCRW 89.9FM and are sold on the L.A. Theatre Works homepage at http://www.latw.org. In the past 11 years, productions have won several awards including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Gold and Silver Awards, three Sony Awards, the Writer's Guild of America's Best Comedy Award and the 1999 Audie Award for Best Dramatic Production from the Audio Publishers Association. Their recording of The Prisoner of Second Avenue, featuring Richard Dreyfuss and Mason, was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album.
— By Christine Ehren