Zoot Suit | 1978
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Outstanding vintage poster for the play Zoot Suit written by Luis Valdez that premiered at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in April of 1978. This production with Center Theater Group marked the first professionally produced Chicano play. The initial ten day run in April sold out in two days. An audience of season ticket holders and local Mexican-Americans gave standing ovations each evening of the performances at the Mark Taper Forum.
Luis Valdez (born June 26, 1940) is an American playwright, actor, writer, and film director who is regarded as the father of Chicano theater in the United States. In addition to Zoot Suit, he is known as the founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino and for writing and directing the film La Bamba. He was a pioneer in the Chicano Movement and Valdez broadened the scope of theatre and arts of the Chicano community.
The illustration for this poster was created by artist and poet Jose Montoya who was raised in the San Joaquin Valley in California where his family were migrant farm workers and Montoya started helping in the fields at age nine. His mother was an artist herself, stenciling images for churches and homes and creating her own pigments and his experiences assisting her helped him think about becoming an artist. He went on to teach Chicana/o Studies in the Department of Art at Cal. State Sacramento where, he worked for over twenty five years and started a unique program called the "Barrio Art Program." In the early 1970s, Montoya joined his students and members of the Chicano community to found the Rebel Chicano Art Front, later renamed the Royal Chicano Air Force, which supported the activities of Cesar Chavez and helped to advance the cause of the United Farm Worker's movement. The RCAF under Montoya and his artist comrades produced countless silk screen posters and organized numerous cultural, educational, and political activities in the Sacramento area and well beyond.
22" x 14"