What are the chances for Los Angeles Conservancy to screen Zoot Suit during next year's Last Remaining Seats? Not quite the typical "golden age of Hollywood film" usually scheduled for the popular screening series held in Broadway's film temples, but you can't deny the historical significance. If it was held at the Orpheum Theater, it would mark the site where servicemen pulled out Mexican-American's wearing zoot suits to assault on on June 7, 1943.
Better yet, what if the stage musical Zoot Suit was held at the Orpheum Theater? Ya think it would get an audience?
Luis Valdez, writer and director of Zoot Suit, rarely gives permission for theater companies to restage the production. It may be changing. Immigration protests by Concord High School Students and a letter by drama teacher Paul Chrissy prompted Valdez to allow them to be the first high school to mount the musical back in May of this year.
Zoot Suit was commissioned by then Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Gordon Davidson and first staged in 1978 at the Mark Taper Forum before briefly running on Broadway. Edward James Olmos' portrayal of El Pachuco earned a 1979 Tony Nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Olmos, interviewed as one of the LA People 2007, noted how El Pachuco for Zoot Suit was "everything I had ever done or could ever want to do, and I did it all with one character.”
To see the musical with the first (and only?) iconic Chicano stage character in a theater made for live performance, where some actual events occurred would be at the very least, memorable.
At the very least, a screening of Zoot Suit at the Orpheum Theater, complete with a panel, would be a connection to Broadway's history beyond just its buildings.