Theater and Dance present ‘Zoot Suit’

UTEP%E2%80%99s+Department+of+Theatre+and+Dance+presented+their+show+%E2%80%98Zoot+Suit%E2%80%99+by+Luis+Valdez+Nov.+17+at+the+Wise+Family+Theatre.+Photos+courtesy+of+the+UTEP+Department+of+Theatre+and+Dance.++

UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance presented their show ‘Zoot Suit’ by Luis Valdez Nov. 17 at the Wise Family Theatre. Photos courtesy of the UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance.

Alyson Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

The UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance presented their new show “Zoot Suit” written by Luis Valdez, and directed by Justin Lucero. It opened Nov. 17 at the Wise Family Theatre.  

Zoot Suit is a groundbreaking piece of Latinx theatre and a milestone piece of American theatre. The play centers around the story of Henry Reyna and the 38th Street Gang. It showcases how they were wrongfully convicted of committing the Sleepy Lagoon Murders. It also shows the trial that follows and the infamous Zoot Suit Riots. This important piece showcases the ugly truths of America in the 1940s and the social injustices that continue to occur even in the present day.   

The central theme of the two-and-a-half-hour play was identity, Latinx marginalization and cultural tensions. It also depicted the abuses of law enforcement, the judicial system and unfair media coverage. 

“I really enjoyed the play,” said audience member, Viridiana Espinoza. “At first, I wasn’t sure what this play was going to be about. It’s interesting to see how things are so different in America and how even now we still see some of the prejudices that were going on. My favorite part of the play was when all of the cast was circling the main character, because he was overwhelmed with all of his thoughts, and didn’t know what to think. I thought that part was really cool.”  

The show had an all-star cast which consisted of Adriana Muñiz as Pachucx, Angel Rodriguez played protagonist Henry Reyna, Ariyana Anaya as Alice Bloomfield, the reporter, Isai Castillo played George Shearer, the attorney, Saul Martinez as Joey, Brianna Garcia as Tommy, Ulises Cordova as Smiley, Carolina Flores-Parada as Della, Marco Silva played Rafas, Matthew Nuñez as Lt. Edwards, Edmy Montes played the judge and Sgt. Smith, Gabi Muñoz played The Press, Lizbeth Sánchez Pineda as Dolores Reyna, Victor Mendoza as Enrique Reyna, Adan Filigrana as Rudy Reyna, Genésis Barraza played Lupe Reyna the little sister of Henry, and Alyssa Bustillos as Bertha the ex-girlfriend. The cast told this important story through song and dance.  

“It’s honestly a really good show,” said audience member, Karla Servin. “Seeing the play unfold was very interesting. There were a lot of really cool artistic aspects of it. My favorite part of the play was how they incorporated dancing into this important story, I did not expect there to be any dancing in this play.”   

Zoot Suit is playing at 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays until Dec. 4 at the Wise Family Theatre. Tickets cost $18 for adults, $15 for UTEP alumni, faculty and staff, military, non-UTEP students and seniors. For UTEP students, tickets are available for $12.   

For more information, visit events.utep.edu and look up Zoot Suit.   

Alyson Rodriguez is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.