ZOOT SUIT Opens at San Diego REP Tonight, 7/14


San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) has finalized the scheduled for an ambitious 37th season that opens with the most significant work of Latino drama in American theatre history continues with six more provocative and eye-opening new American productions.

“Our curiosity about the changing world we live in provokes us to look hard and deep for those plays that take us to places we have never been and look at the world through eyes that are not are own,” says Sam Woodhouse, co-founder and artistic director, San Diego REP.

The search for the productions to be presented during the ambitious 2012-2013 season resulted in a collection of seven theatrical events that are about the quest of Americans to become their best selves, individually and together. It is a season full of music, dance, storytelling, spectacle, politics, history and unforgettable characters who dream big.

“Zoot Suit”
By Luis Valdez
Directed by Kirsten Brandt
Choreography by Javier Velasco
Musical Direction by Bill Doyle

July 14 – Aug. 12, 2012
Opening Night: Fri., July 20
The Lyceum Stage

San Diego REP opens the 37th season with a brand new production of the most significant work of Latino drama in American theatre. “Zoot Suit” will be produced through the same partnership between San Diego REP and San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts that made “Hairspray” (2010) and “The Who’s TOMMY” (2011) mega-hits on the Lyceum Stage.

It’s Los Angeles, Calif., the years 1942 to 1943. The war in the Pacific is in full gear, American big band music has young people at home dancing up a storm and the Zoot Suit is the uniform of choice for Chicano gangs on the streets of Los Angeles. One August morning a young Chicano boy is found bloody and beaten by the side of a road near a county reservoir. His death leads to the indictment of a local Chicano gang and the infamous Sleepy Lagoon Murder Trial, a kangaroo court fanned by media hysteria. When the verdict is announced the Zoot Suit riots begin, and the mythical mystical figure of El Pachuco is born.

Playwright Luis Valdez is America’s greatest Latino playwright. “Zoot Suit” is his masterpiece – a muscular mix of historical fact and agitprop fiction. Featuring a cast of 33 actors/singer/dancers and a live orchestra playing hot Latin Jazz form the 1940’s, “Zoot Suit” is a not-to-be-missed classic filled with swagger and swing.

The REP’s new Artist-in-Residence, Herbert Siguenza, has been cast in the roles of “The Press” and “Prosecutor.”

NEW -- “Exit Interview”
By William Missouri Downs
Directed by Sam Woodhouse

Sept. 29 - Oct. 21
Opening Night: Friday, Oct. 5
The Lyceum Space

Religion, sex and politics are the big targets of hilarity in the smart contemporary comedies, “Exit Interview.” Politically-radicalized cheerleaders, random commercial interruptions, a showdown between the “poobahs” of religion and science, and a masked gunman all play a role in Down’s satirical examination of facts, faith, and fate in the 21st century.

San Diego REP’s production of “Exit Interview” is one of five national New Play Network Rolling World Premieres. Siguenza, of the group Culture Clash and “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso,” will star as Dick Fig, a professor with a Ph.D. in the works of Bertolt Brecht, who has just gotten the axe at a nameless university and is attempting to answer some loaded questions from Eunice, the university’s unctuous human resources pawn. in an exit interview like no other.

Siguenza and San Diego REP are recipients of a coveted New Generations Future Leaders grant from Theatre Communications Group. Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the New Generations program places potential new artistic leaders with institutions where the mentee is mentored by a seasoned professional artist. San Diego REP Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse will mentor Siguenza towards his goal of learning the details of being an artistic director for an American theatre.

The 18-month residency places Siguenza full-time with the REP through December 2013 as Artist in Residence. During his residency, Siguenza will become a full-time member of the senior artistic team and participate in the choosing, planning and executing of the major artistic work of the company. Siguenza will also perform as an actor with the company, produce selected projects, reach out to potential artistic partners in San Diego, Mexico and Latin America and teach workshops for local artists. He will further learn the strategies and practices of all departments of San Diego REP including fundraising, board development, marketing, facility management and staff development. Siguenza is also an experienced visual artist and will consult and advise on the visual graphic and design work of the company. Siguenza created seven original illustrations for the seven productions of the REP’s 37th Season.

“A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to Sing”
World Premiere Production
Written by Todd Salovey
with Vaughn Armstrong, Dave Crossland and Jim Mooney
Directed by Todd Salovey
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Bruno Louchouarn

Nov. 3 – Dec. 2, 2012
Opening Night: Saturday, Nov. 10
The Lyceum Stage

Back by popular demand is the production that had San Diego singing in three-part harmony and provoked standing ovations at every one of its workshop production performances. This fall, San Diego REP will present an expanded and fully developed production of last season’s runaway hit.

From the American Revolution to the Occupy movement, music has served as a powerful agent of change in American history. The immortal folk song hails: “A change is gonna come.” The gospel classic calls out: “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” The civil rights anthem demands: “Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on.” Inspired by the work of Pete Seeger, “A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to Sing” celebrates this history in song, story, and spoken word with more than 25 selections from multiple artists.

The original cast returns for this world premiere production: folk recording artist Dave Crossland, “Star Trek’s” Vaughn Armstrong, and San Diego favorite Jim Mooney will return and will be joined by an additional stellar singer/musician to once again lead an entire theatre in song.

With its memorable visuals from American history, provocative wisdom from great thinkers of change, and joyous songs, this is theatre that reminds us not only that change is possible, but that right here and now, there are important things to do!

Reduced Shakespeare Company® in
“The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)”
Written and directed by ReEd Martin and Austin Tichenor

Dec. 5 – 23, 2012
Opening Night: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012
The Lyceum Stage

After a seven year hiatus, a holiday production returns to San Diego REPertory Theatre. Christmas will never be the same once you share the holiday with the inspired lunacy of the masters of condensing the classics – the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Since 1981, the company has delighted audiences throughout North America and England with their reduced versions of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare,” the Bible, “All the Great Books,” “The History of America,” and even the “World of Sports.”

Now these brilliant clowns will take us on an irreverent, but heartwarming trip through the holidays guaranteed to step on more than a few sacred cows and “mistel-toes.” Once you enter St. Everybody’s Non–Denominational Universalist Church to participate in the annual Multicultural Interfaith Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant you will learn how Santa saved Christmas, sing the ultimate reduced Christmas Carol, celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Saturnalia, and gasp at the shocking history of some of our best-loved Christmas traditions.

Regardless of your religious persuasion, the Reduced Shakespeare Company promises a good time gift-wrapped in a package of song, parody, an elf ballet, anachronistic dance fever disco moves, and delightfully twisted holiday cheer.

“Clybourne Park”
By Bruce Norris
Directed by Sam Woodhouse

Jan. 10 – Feb. 10, 2012
Opening Night: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
The Lyceum Stage

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award for Best Play, “Clybourne Park” is an unforgettable new story about race, class, and real estate in America. Jokes fly and hidden agendas unfold in a tale told without good guys or bad guys, just real people with real concerns about the future of their community.

As The New York Times said, “It takes a special vision, both clear and cockeyed, to see the present as if it were the past.” Playwright Bruce Norris has that vision. Act One is set in 1959 in one of the most famous houses in 20th century drama—the dream home of the Younger family in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” where a white couple ignites controversy when they sell their bungalow to the area's first black family. Act Two takes place in the same house fifty years later as a white couple who want to buy and demolish the house pose a threat to the balance of the neighborhood. As an added treat for the audience - the same actors portray the couples in both time periods.

“Clybourne Park” has been called by critics and audiences both “shockingly entertaining” and “appallingly funny.” It promises to be one of the feistiest and funniest evenings of American theatre in years.

“The Mountaintop”
By Katori Hall
West Coast Premiere

March 2-31, 2013
Opening Night: Friday, March 8, 2013
The Lyceum Space

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.” King, who lived every day in the face of death, was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.

Thirty-year-old playwright Katori Hall’s audacious drama dares to imagine what happened to Dr. King on the final night of his life. After delivering his inspiring “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a local church congregation, Dr. King retires to room 306 in the motel and orders coffee from room service. A maid arrives with the coffee. Camae looks and talks like a maid, but as the night moves forward and a storm begins to rage outside, King and the audience discover she is so much more. When Camae reveals herself the walls of the motel fly away, launching King and the audience into a fantastical and spiritual mystery tour of American history.

This imaginative and soul stirring drama premiered in London in 2009 to great acclaim, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett starred in the Broadway production in 2011. REP audiences will be the first to experience this astonishing play in the intimacy of the Lyceum Space, where all seats are within 25 feet of the stage.

“Federal Jazz Project”
Conceived and written by Richard Montoya
Music composed and curated by Gilbert Castellanos
Directed by Sam Woodhouse
World Premiere Production

April 6 - May 5, 2013
Opening Night: Fri., April 12, 2013

Jazz, like history, can never be silenced.

Born at Balboa Naval Hospital, Richard Montoya is one of California’s premier contemporary playwrights and a co-founder of the ensemble troupe Culture Clash, a favorite with REP audiences. San Diegan Gilbert Castellanos is a trumpet virtuoso, recognized as a new American master by Downbeat Magazine. Inspired by the weekly jazz sessions Castellanos has hosted for 15 years in downtown San Diego warehouses and clubs, Montoya conceived a brand new fusion of live jazz, spoken word, dance, song and story that celebrates the landscape of San Diego from 1959 to the present.

Traveling through time, the project will weave legends, myth, and testimony from the rich history of San Diego and Tijuana told thru the medium of jazz and the musicians who have made music and history on both sides of the border. Montoya, an expert storyteller, will be joined onstage by a company of actors and dancers, as well as a first-class jazz quintet led by Castellanos.

Artist Herbie Hancock said “Jazz in not exclusive. The spirit of jazz is the spirit of inclusion.” So “Federal Jazz Project” will invite special guest musicians from the community and the military to sit-in with the band, including classical guitar, tenor sax, and even improvised tap percussion.

Count on this world premiere to feature extraordinary music and unforgettable, untold stories of the musicians who have made our city such a fascinating place to call home.

The REP’s box office is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. on non-performance days and noon until curtain on performance days. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate. Four hours of free parking at Horton Plaza for patrons who validate at the Lyceum Theatre. For more information, please visit www.sdrep.org.

Subscriptions are priced from $112 to $371. Senior and military discounts available. The REP offers subscribers an extensive package of benefits, including discount prices, free ticket exchange privileges; discounts on individual tickets; and discounts at local restaurants. Premier seating guarantees seating in the best 100 sets in both theatres and includes free drink coupons for the season. Individual tickets go on sale June 1, 2012.

San Diego REPertory Theatre (REP) produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. We promote a more inclusive community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region. San Diego REPertory Theatre feeds the curious soul.

To learn more about San Diego REPertory Theatre, visit www.sdrep.org. Find the company on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/sandiegorep) and follow us on Twitter (@SanDiegoREP).

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