Thirty-two years after the “Zoot Suit” play debuted in Los Angeles and some 65 years after the actual Zoot Suit riots , the play debuted in Mexico City to sold out audiences. The groundbreaking Luis Valdez play that was eventually made into a Broadway play and then movie opened in April at the National Theater Company of Mexico City. It was an instant hit until today when the show closed.
The Mexican “Zoot Suit” production was one of many first. It was the first time the play was done entirely in Spanish, first time ever performed in Mexico and first time the play had an all Mexican cast. The play was based on the racially motivated riots of 1942 when many Mexican Americans were falsely accused of crimes, convicted and jailed. The riots ensued when some residents felt not enough was done to punish the Mexican-American youths.
The play is viewed as relevant today especially in Mexico, where there is a perception that Mexican’s living in the U.S. are discriminated against. Valdez, aged 70 now, worked with the Mexican production team as part of the cultural exchange that is happening between Mexicans and Mexican-American artists of the U.S.