Back in the late 90’s, when I was convinced I wanted to be a dramatic stage actress, I was taking acting classes and trying to make my way up the ranks of the San Diego theatre circuit, starting with small community theatre shows a la Waiting For Guffman, and culminating with a small role in a professional show at the San Diego Repertory Theatre called Mummified Deer, which was written and directed by Luis Valdez of La Bamba fame. When I landed the part of the gringa nurse, I really thought I was on my way. Little did I know that my life would change dramatically just a few months later due to the death of my father, and that Mummified Deer would be the last of my professional theatre gigs.
The impetus behind this post is to not hash up old memories, however, or play the violin for myself (because I am thrilled at my the path my life took and will be getting back into theater again soon), but because many of my former cast members from Mummified Deer are back at the San Diego Repertory theater this summer for a revival of one of Luis’ first plays, Zoot Suit.
I am beyond exited to see this show, number one because I’ve heard such great things about it, and number two because I can’t wait to see some of my “Deer” family, including Raul Cardona, James Newcomb, Catalina Maynard and Lakin Valdez.
To top the exciting-ness off, this revival of Zoot Suit is being directed by Kirsten Brandt, former director of the Sledgehammer Theatre, the first person to give me a job as a stage manager and a theatre friend I haven’t seen since she moved to Santa Cruz a few years ago. Kirsten’s genius mind works differently than anyone I’ve ever met so I cannot wait to see what she does with this show.
Zoot Suit is set in Los Angeles, California during World War II (1942-43). The war in the Pacific is in full gear, American big band music has young people at home dancing up a storm and the zoot suit is the uniform of choice for Chicano gangs on the streets of Los Angeles. One August morning, a young Chicano boy is found bloody and beaten by the side of a road near a county reservoir. His death leads to the indictment of a local Chicano gang and the infamous Sleepy Lagoon Murder Trial, a kangaroo court fanned by media hysteria. When the verdict is announced, the Zoot Suit riots begin and the mythical, mystical figure of “El Pachuco” is born.
Though this show is set many years ago, many of the cultural issues brought to light in Zoot Suit are, sadly, still very much alive and pervasive in today’s society.
For a sneak peek at the show, check out this behind the scenes video:
Zoot Suit opens this coming Friday, July 20th and runs through August 12th. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Performances also are scheduled on selected Saturdays at 2 p.m. and selected Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Tickets range from $31 to $57 (Students $18) with discounts for groups, seniors and military also available.
Call the San Diego REP Box Office (619) 544-1000 or go to www.sdrep.org for show times and to purchase tickets.
And now for the exciting news:
I’M GIVING AWAY A PAIR OF TICKETS TO ZOOT SUIT!
To enter, please tell me in the comments who you would take with you to the show and why. Or tell me your favorite Spanish curse word.
The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 22nd at 11:59pm PST and a winner will be announced on Monday, July 23rd. Please allow 48 to 72 hours to coordinate the ticket request on the desired date and please note the box office is closed on Mondays.
UPDATED ON 8.1.12
A winner was selected on Monday, July 23rd by random drawing (via random.org) and the tickets went to Emily Kuleto. Thank you to all who entered.