Luis Valdez

Luis Valdez, Playwright

Representative Plays:

Mummified Deer (2000)
I Don’t Have To Show You No Stinkin’ Badges (1992)
Zoot Suit (1978)


Luis Valdez is a renouned Chicano playwright and director. His Obie award winning theater company, El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater) was founded by Luis in 1965 – in the heat of the United Farm Workers (UFW) struggle and the Great Delano Grape Strike in California’s Central Valley.His involvement with Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the early Chicano Movement left an indelible mark that remains embodied in all his work even after he left the UFW in 1967: his early actos Las Dos Caras del Patroncito and Quinta Temporada, (short plays written to encourage campesinos to leave the fields and join the UFW), his mitos (mythic plays) Bernabe and La Carpa de los Rasquachis that gave Chicanos their own contemporary mythology, his examinations of Chicano urban life in I Don’t Have To Show You No Stinkin’ Badges, his Chicano re-visioning of classic Mexican folktales Corridos, his exploration of his Indigenous Yaqui roots in Mummified Deer, and the play that re-exams the “Sleepy Lagoon Trial of 1942″ and the “Zoot Suit Riots of 1943″, two of the darkest moments in LA urban history – Zoot Suit – considered a masterpiece of the American Theater as well as the first Chicano play on Broadway and the first Chicano major feature film.

Luis has won numerous LA Drama Critic Awards, Dramalogue Awards, Bay Area Critics Awards, the prestigious George Peabody Award for excellence in television, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Governor’s Award from the California Arts Council, and Mexico’s prestigious Aguila Azteca Award given to individuals whose work promotes cultural excellence and exchange between US and Mexico.

As an educator, he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, Fresno State University and was one of the founding professors of CSU Monterey Bay.He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from, among others, the University of Rhode Island, the University of South Florida, Cal Arts, the University of Santa Clara and his alma mater, San Jose State University.Mr. Valdez was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.In 2007, he was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship as one of the fifty US Artists so honored across the United States.

Source: El Teatro Campesino

Resources found in the UC Berkeley Library Database:

(CalNet authentication required) 

Zoot Suit (Full Text) 

Las dos caras del patroncito (Full Text) 

Vietnam Campesino (Full Text) 

I Don't Have to Show You No Stinkin Badges (Full Text) 

Bernabe (Full Text) 

The Militants (Full Text) 

No saco nada de la escuela (Full Text) 

La Conquista de Mexico (Full Text) 

Los Vendidos (Full Text) 

Bandido! (Full Text) 

Soldado Razo (Full Text)