Valley of the Heart (play)

Play by Luis Valdez that had its premiere run at El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista, California, from August 23 to September 22, 2013. Subtitled a "kabuki corrido," Valley of the Heart centers on two farming families in the Santa Clara Valley during World War II, the Yamaguchis and the Montaños. Their relationship is complicated by the marriage of Benjamin Montaño and Thelma Yamaguchi and by the Yamaguchi's subsequent forced removal and incarceration at Heart Mountain. The Montaños run the Yamaguchis' farm while they are away, and Benjamin and Thelma's son is born in Heart Mountain while the couple is separated. The musical score blends Mexican and Japanese folk music and features Noe Yaocaotl Montoya of El Teatro Campesino and PJ and Roy Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko.

El Teatro Campesino was founded in 1965 to dramatize the plight of California farmworkers in support of the work of the United Farmworkers Union and has been based in San Juan Bautista since 1971. Founding artistic director Luis Valdez is best know as the playwright of the plays Zoot Suit and La Bamba. Valley of the Heart was his first new play in thirteen years. It sold out its entire four week run. A reading of Valley of the Heart is scheduled at the 2014 Japanese American Citizens League convention in San José. It also revived from August-October 2014 at San Juan Bautista's El Teatro Campesino before it moved for a two day run in October 18-19 at Cal State Monterey Bay.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

Related Articles

For More Information

Pawal, Miriam. "Luis Valdez's 'Valley of the Heart': It Ought to Play L.A." Los Angeles Times, Oct. 27, 2013.

Salinas, Claudia Meléndez. "Tense, Bi-racial Relationship Drives Teatro's 'Valley of the Heart.'" Monterey Herald, Sept. 14, 2013.

Soto, Erin Yasuda. "Love Story at the Center of 'Valley of the Heart.'" Nichi Bei Weekly, Oct. 2–15, 2014, 8, 15.

Valley of the Heart at El Teatro Campesino website,

"'Valley of the Heart' Tells Story of Japanese, Mexican Immigrant Farming Families." Rafu Shimpo, Sept. 5, 2013.

D'Souza, Karen. "Valley of the Heart Lures Bay Area Fans." San Jose Mercury News, September 29, 2014.