Zoot Suit was writen by Luis Valdez, a Mexican-American playwright and director who is widely known as the father of Mexican-American Theater. Valdez was the Founder of El Teatro Campesino in California. El Teatro Compesino was a theater composed of farm workers who resided in California and used theater as an outlet to express the social and political concerns facing their people during their time. Valdez's play, Zoot Suit is a perfect example of El Teatro Campesino using their theater platform to express their views to a large audience.
Zoot Suit was based on the Sleepy Lagoon Murder Trials and the Zoot Suit Riots. The Sleepy Lagoon murder occurred in 1942 and resulted in heavy discrimination and unfair treatment of Mexican-American youth by the Los Angeles Police Department. During the months leading up to the conviction of the Sleepy Lagoon murderer, white Los Angeles civilians mercilessly mistreated "Zoot-Suiters" (nicknamed for their puffy, flared pants), pulling them from steetcars, kicking them out of restaurants, and dragging them out of movie theaters. Rather than taking action against those who attacked the Mexican- American children, The Los Angeles Police Department banned the wearing of zoot suits. Valdez aired his play in an attempt to take a stand against this mistreatment.