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Zoot Suit and Other Plays

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  693 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Here are three of playwright and screenwriter Luis Valdez's most important and recognized plays: Zoot Suit, Bandido! and I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges! The anthology also includes an introduction by noted theater critic Dr. Jorge Huerta of the University of California-San Diego. Luis Valdez, the most recognized and celebrated Hispanic playwright of our times, ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Arte Publico Press
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The Kaleidoscope by Adrian MendozaZoot Suit and Other Plays by Luis ValdezVoices of a People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnInto the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto UrreaThe House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Arizona Banned Books List
2nd out of 85 books — 8 voters
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Inside Your Wardrobe
73rd out of 216 books — 69 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 07, 2007 Melody rated it liked it
Luis Valdez's theatrical vision has its strengths ... It's low on the subtlety and subtext meter, but his use of theatre's inherent spectacle is masterful.
Modbon rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2007
Mar 28, 2008 Liana rated it really liked it
Shelves: seen-the-movie
Landmark play. It's better to see the movie first. It's difficult to picture the play with all the printed music lyrics. Edward James Olmos is the ultimate Chuco.
Apr 23, 2008 Kelli rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite play by far. I think I have read it at least 10 times, bought the movie, and written 3 essays over it. It discusses the Servicemen's Riots, racism in America, WWII sentiments, culture, and identity. The movie follows the play closely and is fun to watch.
May 17, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
Hispanic American theatre taking place in the 1940s, but written in the late 70s. Really captivating and you feel deeply with the characters. It deals with the marginalization of "Chicanos" and contains influences from Spanish drama and indigenous practices. The Chicano theatre movement coincided with the civil rights movements.
Jun 03, 2008 Angel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
Luis Valdez was one of my favorite authors when it came to drama and my work in graduate school for my English masters. If I would have completed the PhD, I probably would have tried to do my dissertation on him or his work, or something dealing with U.S. Latino literature. I did not follow that path, but I certainly was glad to have discovered this writer. Back then, I had to read his "Badges," but I ended up reading other works besides the ones in this anthology. I was reading this during the ...more
Aug 21, 2008 Bill added it
I'm still in the midst of it. Despite being an actor, this is one that's difficult for me to visualize. Maybe that's because much of it is in Spanish! I have the DVD on my Netflix list. It's one of Summer Reading books for my AP Literature class.
Heather June Gibbons
Nov 17, 2008 Heather June Gibbons rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
Though I really enjoyed the dancing and singing in the 1981 film adaptation, I gotta say I was underwhelmed by the play on the page. Just finished teaching this, and after plays like August Wilson's "Fences" and Brecht's "Mother Courage," I was struck by how undramatic this is. Valdez does such a good job of setting up a Brechtian distance that I never really believe that anything bad will happen to the characters. Even if the audience isn't supposed to be able to identify with the characters, I ...more
This book has three plays written by Luis Valdez, about the Latino's in the South. The play zoot suit has themes of racism, love, and pride. Zoot Suit was a populare suit wore by mostly Latins, and riots were born on the issue of these suits. People were killed hurt and scared for just weraing this specifi suit. A law was even set to force people not wear this suit, i enjoyed this book. And I would rad this book again.
Oct 14, 2009 Maria rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
I'm going to be in a four person adaptation of this in the spring. Thought the female characters were pretty weak. Really liked the use of newspapers in the staging. I think it will be an interesting time period and cultural moment to explore. Tried to read another play in the book but the author's note was so pretentious that I couldn't do it.
Jessica Barkl
Aug 11, 2009 Jessica Barkl rated it really liked it
The seminal Chicano play and I loved it! I taught it this summer, having never read or encountered it before and I was mad that I wasn't taught it before. However, se la vie...I will fix that as an instructor in the future. It is a must read for Brecht fans and fans of the movie La Bamba (same playwright).
Apr 27, 2011 Ellen rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ellen by: Dr. Ruiz-Velasco
This might be a little wacky for some people, but the political satire incorporated into this book (specifically Zoot Suit) is what makes it interesting. If you want something entertaining and educational, give this a shot.
Mar 20, 2011 Silke rated it liked it
IF you enjoy reading a decent drama once in a while, this one will do the trick. The beginning threw me off since the dialogues were frequently written in Spanish slang. But as soon as I got into the story (which is based on the Sleepy lagoon murder trials), I liked this one. The ending especially has such a strong message and triggered interest in me to learn more about the zoot suiters in the 30s and 40s. Overall, this was a good read but, honestly, I probably would not have read it had I not ...more
Feb 06, 2012 Anne rated it did not like it
It was not because of the subject matter that I disliked this play. It had a good story line (I'm referring to Zoot Suit here), but I don't think the writing was particularly well executed. Maybe it's a cultural thing that I would have trouble relating to, which is admittedly a good possibility, but I found this play lacking in something that I can't quite put my finger on. I understood the message, but there was a lot of telling, as opposed to showing.
Gilda rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2012
Mary rated it liked it
Feb 29, 2012
Apr 16, 2012 Bay rated it it was amazing
FANTASTIC!!!!!! I just finished Zoot Suit and I could not put it down. The racial intolerance and injustice faced by these Mexican Americans makes you want to scream! The play is fictional, but is based off of the events surrounding the Sleep Lagoon Murder Trial of 1942 where a group of Chicano boys were wrongly accused and convicted of murder. These events and others escalated in the Zoot Suit Riots in 1943. This play is short, less than 100 pages - I would definitely recommend reading or seein ...more
Librada rated it liked it
May 01, 2012
Oct 14, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it
I just read "Zoot Suit" for a class. It was pretty interesting. It kind of reminded me of West Side Story in some weird way...
Dustin Dye
Feb 12, 2013 Dustin Dye rated it really liked it
Valdez's plays are a little too preachy and stylistic for my taste, but he has a great ear for dialogue. The plays are also dramatic enough to compensate for the ham-fisted social commentary.
Mar 26, 2013 Kaila rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the history and reading the screen play for Zoot suit. I just need to watch the actual play. It is good insight for one of the moments in America's history for Chicanos.
I enjoyed this a lot more than I initially thought I would. Well, to be honest, I did not know what to expect at all, when I started reading, but the characters felt real and lively enough to draw me in.

This edition collects the plays Zoot Suit; Bandido! and I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges! all focusing on Mexican Americans living in the US-Mexican borderlands during different periods of history.

My favourite play of this set would clearly be Badges!, because the subject matter is s
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
Aug 21, 2014 Miss Karen Jean Martinson rated it really liked it
What took you so long, Karen? Why did you only just now read this? I have no answer because the plays are inventive and theatrical and moving and funny. Let's all read Luis Valdez.
Susan Garcia
Oct 12, 2014 Susan Garcia rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books-read
I introduced this play to my students, and they all loved it! It drew them in right away, especially when they realized that this play is based on fact. This play sparked an interest in our justice system and was used as a precursor to The Innocence Project and eventually to our next novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
Nov 11, 2014 Kris rated it it was ok
I read zoot suit for a Theatre History course. I was amazed by the seeming ease with which Valdez was able to construct the historical details into his creative premise.
Sonya Barela
Sonya Barela rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2015
Jul 06, 2015 Travis rated it really liked it
three studies in Chicano identity politics. explores different ways in which ethnic roles are created and carried out, either in news, courthouse, mythology, or television and film. characters react to and struggle against depictions, and other than personal safety or sanity, family is the thing most at risk of being destroyed by racial pressure. making the case that non-white Americans are too easily portrayed as non-Americans.

themes, devices: melodrama, play within a play, metacommentary, dar
Jennifer O'toole
Jennifer O'toole rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2015
Mar 03, 2016 Ramon4 rated it really liked it
Interesting book of three plays by Mexican-American playwright Luis Valdez. The most recognized play in ‘Zoot Suit’, which was a successful motion picture. However, the play that moved me is called ‘I Don’t Have to Show You No Stinkin’ Badges’. This play came to me at a point in my life when it was absolutely necessary.

The play concerns the lives of a Mexican-American acting couple. They are established bit players, and have built a comfortable middle-class life in the suburbs near Hollywood. Th
Julian Hernandez-Gomez
Oct 20, 2016 Julian Hernandez-Gomez rated it really liked it
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Luis Valdez is an American playwright, writer and film director.

He is regarded as the father of Chicano theater in the United States.
More about Luis Valdez...

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