Zoot Suit: Written by Luis Valdez, Directed by Kirsten Brandt
San Diego Repertory Theater Lyceum Stage; Performances thru August 12th
Set in the barrios of Los Angeles, Zoot Suit takes us back to the early 1940’s and dramatizes a portion of American history in which anti-Mexican prejudice affected the courts, the press, and the attitudes of the general public. Although the show was first performed in Los Angeles more than three decades ago, (It went on to be the only Chicano theater piece ever to go to Broadway), the current version staged at the San Diego Repertory Theatre demonstrates its enduring power as a window into history with relevant lessons for today’s cultural and political realities.
The SD Rep version skillfully combines a compelling history lesson, authentic-feeling slices from the lives of the characters, along with eye-popping song and dance numbers that move the show smoothly through what might otherwise be a pedantic political polemic. Integrated into the cast with equity actors are students from San Diego’s own School of the Creative and Performing Arts(SCPA). A live orchestra composed entirely of SCPA students plays throughout the show, giving the musical numbers an added punch.
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