The mood was bittersweet during Santa Ana College’s last curtain call for Zoot Suit, Sunday, March 18. Directed by assistant professor of acting and directing Chris Cannon, this play sealed its two-week run with a sold-out performance.
The moving parts of the show — sound, lighting, acting and dancing flowed together like clockwork, while simultaneously touching the audience with an emotional mix of pain and laughter.
Behind the façade of this seamless on-stage performance, the cast didn’t want to say goodbye to the comforts and challenges of their performances or to one another.
“It’s crazy that when you feel the character the strongest, you have to let go,” said Jesus Pena (Enrique Reyna).
Noting how the character had intertwined so closely with him, “I’m going to have to drown him now.”
“Melancholy,” said Joel Mijares (El Pachuco) of the show’s completion, yet striving to keep his emotions at bay. He went on to say, “I feel a sense of success and pride.”
The show clearly resonated with its diverse audience.
Rachel Sosta, a member of SAC’s English faculty attending with her parents and husband, analyzed the story’s factual and fictional components during intermission.
The original Joey Castro, Mike Gomez, performed in Zoot Suit for three years beginning in 1978 at the Mark Taper auditorium and on Broadway. The veteran actor said this performance brought back memories for him.
“I felt emotional while watching.”
“Henry Reyna, the Pachuco, still lives” declared one of the actors as the play came to a close. The audience believed him, honoring the cast and crew with a standing ovation.
Danny Gonzales, the man behind Henry Reyna said, “I feel great. Relieved it all came together.”
The cast has reason to celebrate, as Cannon affectionately shared “I have never in my entire career been more proud of a cast than I am of you.”
A happy ending indeed.
OTHER EL DON STORIES ON ZOOT SUIT PERFORMANCES::
The Zoot Suit Riot (with VIDEO + SLIDESHOWS)
Zoot Suit: Preview