ASU MainStage swings into Centennial Season with Zoot Suit

Luis Valdez’s riveting play with music and dance portrays the life of a young man who is falsely accused of murder after the infamous 1943 Los Angeles Zoot Suit riots. As the play unfolds, the spirit of the indigenous Pachuco guides him towards self-understanding.

“This vibrant work from one of our premiere playwrights speaks to the rest of our season," says Jacob Pinholster, director of the School of Theatre and Film. "We are embracing new ideas, new energy and new directions. Come out and see what we have to offer!”

The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of upheavals that erupted during WWII between military personnel stationed in LA and civilian Latino youths, who were recognizable by the flamboyant and romantic “zoot suits” they favored. The riots triggered similar attacks against Latinos across the nation.

Andrés Alcala, the play’s director, characterizes the events as racial profiling, and notes the relevance of the material today.

“The fantastic circumstances and characters unfold in a time when some 300 ‘Zoot Suiters’ were placed behind bars in hopes of finding answers to a murder.” Alcala says. “They were arrested simply because of the way they were dressed. The press distorted the facts and created an image of what was to be feared … and many Mexican-Americans were attacked simply because of what they wore.”

Lyceum Theatre, 901. S. Forest Mall, ASU Tempe campus

7:30 p.m., Oct. 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22; 2 p.m., Oct. 16

$8–$16; Seniors, ASU faculty, staff and students receive special rates. Special discounts for groups available.

Following Zoot Suit, the MainStage Centennial Season will present:

The AZ Centennial Plays
Directed by Dan Schay
Oct. 21-30, 2011
Nelson Fine Arts Center Room 133, ASU Tempe campus
We asked playwrights across the country to reflect on their views of Arizona in its 100th year of statehood — and to write their impressions down in short plays. The results will surprise you, offend you, and/or delight you. This collection of one-act plays features something for everyone. Part of the Arizona Centennial Project New Works Series. This show contains mature language and themes and may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

The Misanthrope, adapted from Moliere’s classic comedy, by Lauren Marshall
Directed by William Partlan
Nov. 12 - Dec. 4, 2011
Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, ASU Tempe campus
Moliere meets Metallica in this delightful heavy-metal adaptation of the classic comedy, in which a young rocker becomes a misanthrope when he can’t withstand the hypocritical rules and games of the music scene. It’s Moliere, it’s rock ‘n roll and we like it. This show contains mature language and themes and may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

Untold Stories / Unsung Heroes by Jeremiah Neal
Directed by Pam Sterling
Feb. 10-19, 2012
Lyceum Theatre, ASU Tempe campus
The untold history and imagined future of Arizona as a state — and a state of mind — is featured in this dramatic exploration that uses old-fashioned storytelling and music combined with cutting-edge digital images and spoken-word performances. Part of the Arizona Centennial Project New Works Series.

American Victory by Jose Zarate, adapted from the book American Victory by Henry Cejudo with Bill Plaschke
Directed by Guillermo Reyes
March 2-11, 2012
Nelson Fine Arts Center Room 133, ASU Tempe campus
Raised in a family of immigrants in Phoenix, Henry Cejudo wrestles his way to local and national championships, and goes all the way to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. A true story about a local young man’s struggle for American identity and the quest for Olympic gold. Part of the Arizona Centennial Project New Works Series.

The House of the Spirits by Caridad Svich, based on the international best-selling novel by Isabel Allende
Directed by Rachel Bowditch
April 5-15, 2012
Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, ASU Tempe campus
The haunting novel by Isabel Allende comes to the stage in this fascinating adaptation, showing the struggles of a landed, privileged family in a South American nation, as three generations of women face up to a powerful patriarch and dictatorship in the 20th Century.

The 7th Annual Student Film Festival
Directed by F. Miguel Valenti
April, 23-24, 2012
Valley Art Theatre, 509 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, Ariz.
This traditionally sold-out event showcases the work of dozens of filmmakers eager to see their work on the big screen. The festival highlights the best emerging talent in Film & Media Production in the ASU School of Theatre and Film, the first in the nation to offer an ethical approach to filmmaking. Audience members can pick their favorite in the 10-minute film competition. This event is co-sponsored by the ASU Student Film Association.

The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the dramatic writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit

Public Contact
Herberger Institute box office, 480.965.6447
School of Theatre and Film. 480.965.5337

Media Contact:
Laurie A. Trotta Valenti,
ASU Herberger Institute
School of Theatre and Film