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Samohi Tackles Relevant Race Issues in ‘Zoot Suit’

Times change, but sometimes the headlines don’t. Luis Valdez’s groundbreaking play set on the streets of East Los Angeles depicts the lives of Mexican American youth who were unjustly indicted for the Sleepy Lagoon murder in the 1940s.

This dark yet relevant piece of LA history will be brought to life in Valdez’s “Zoot Suit,” debuting at Santa Monica High School on October 27.

The original “Zoot Suit” premiered to sold out audiences in Los Angeles in 1978, went to Broadway in 1979, was made into a movie starring Edward James Olmos in 1981, and returned to the Mark Taper last spring.

Featuring flamboyant costumes, swing dancing, stage combat, the exciting music of Lalo Guerrero, and a compelling story, “Zoot Suit” realistically brings to life 1940s Chicano culture.

Samohi theatre students have embraced this learning experience.

Director Kate Barazza notes, “students involved in this production are hard at work trying to understand what it means to be Pachuco, or in our case, Pachuca, and how to deliver a story that was ahead of its time. It’s an honor to direct the work of Luis Valdez, and it’s an honor to direct this creative, committed, inspiring group of young people.”

Performances in the Samohi Humanities Center take place Oct. 27 at 7 pm; Oct. 28 at 6 pm; Oct. 29 at 2 pm; Nov. 3 at 7 pm; Nov. 4 at 7 pm and Nov. 5 at 2 pm.

Reserved seating is now available for all performances at samohitheatre.org.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Valdez’s groundbreaking play performed by an outstanding cast of youthful and vibrant Samohi students. For more information about “Zoot Suit” contact Producer Joan Krenik at producer@samohitheatre.org

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