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Demian Bichir will star in groundbreaking 'Zoot Suit'; 2-for-1 ticket sale Friday

Demian Bichir will star in groundbreaking 'Zoot Suit'; 2-for-1 ticket sale Friday
Demian Bichir will star in Luis Valdez's groundbreaking "Zoot Suit," about the unjust murder convictions of Mexican Americans in L.A. in the 1940s. (Los Angeles Times)

Demián Bichir, the lead actor Oscar nominee for the 2011 immigrant worker drama "A Better Life," will star in the much anticipated revival of the groundbreaking play "Zoot Suit," Center Theatre Group announced Thursday.

Best known to some audiences for playing a crooked Tijuana mayor on Showtime's "Weeds" and the mysterious caretaker Bob in Quentin Tarantino's film "The Hateful Eight," Bichir will take on the role of El Pachuco in "Zoot Suit," with previews beginning Jan. 31 and opening night set for Feb. 12 at the Mark Taper Forum.

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When Luis Valdez's play opened in 1978, it broke ground by focusing on the unjust murder convictions of a group of Mexican American men in the 1940s. Valdez has said bringing a minority community's story to a major American theater was nothing short of revolutionary at the time, symbolically opening a rarefied institution to all Angelenos. "Zoot Suit" went on to play for nearly a year, and later it transferred to Broadway.

President Obama honored Valdez as one of 12 recipients of the National Medal of Arts in September.

The "Zoot Suit" revival, which Center Theatre Group will present in association with El Teatro Campesino, will play through March 12.

Center Theatre Group has planned a "Zoot Suit" event for Friday, with dancers, music and food from noon to 3 p.m. A two-for-one ticket sale (limit two free tickets per person) will run from noon to 8 p.m. at the Ahmanson Theatre box office.

Follow The Times' arts team @culturemonster.

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