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30th Anniversary Production of "Zoot Suit" - Pomona College Preproduction & Research

Claire Ryan ('10), Lisette Mendez (Pitzer '09), Alma Martinez

Question: How do we present Luis Valdez’s classic Chicano play Zoot Suit, last seen in Los Angeles in 1978, to a whole new generation of audiences? Conclusions: (1) Invite local high schools to the production targeting English, Drama and History departments (80 schools, 350 letters). (2) Create a high school study guide to teach students about L.A. in the 1940’s. (3) Conduct research of articles, photographs, journals, texts and consult with ethnomusicologists, Law, History, and Chicano Studies professors and a Theatre Educational Consultant. (4) Conduct field research in San Juan Baustista, CA home of El Teatro Campesino (ETC) and Luis Valdez. (a) Attend a production of Zoot Suit. (b) Interview Luis Valdez and Kinan Valdez (director of Zoot Suit). (c) Tour ETC and interview cast. (5) Transcribe professor’s 12-hour interview with Luis Valdez. (6) Volunteer at the Alma Awards and heightened our knowledge of high profile Latinos working in theater, film and television. (7) Create press release and contacted local media. (8) Create character breakdown for audition process. Impact of Research: The study-guide will be distributed to over 500 students, the cast of Zoot Suit (Pomona College) and placed on our Zoot Suit webpage. El Teatro Campesino will be using this study guide as the principal dramaturgical resource for all future Zoot Suit productions, workshops and lectures.
Funding provided by: SURP

Research at Pomona