Luis Valdez's Valley of the Heart

Support the first production of "Valley of the Heart"-the new play by Luis Valdez!
El Teatro Campesino
San Juan Bautista, California
United States
1 Team Member

A Special Message from Luis Valdez to Our Indiegogo Contributors



DOMO ARIGATO GOZAIMASU!  On behalf of the entire dedicated, multicultural familia of El Teatro Campesino, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the vital support you have given to the creation of our latest play, "Valley of the Heart."  Our online fundraising campaign thanks to your incredible generosity - has been an unbelievable TRIUMPH!  As usual our reach has exceeded our grasp, but you had us at the first $100.  To witness our appeal reaching a final tally of  $13,000 (in round figures) humbles us beyond belief.

 It's not about the money (well, not apart from our covering basic expenses).  It's all about heart.  We are grateful for all the contributions inspired by brother Leroy Chatfield's postings on the Farm Worker Documentation Website, and    the support of so many veterans and old friends of the United Farm Workers of America.  We have been deeply moved by the memorial donations some of you made in the name of dear friends of the Teatro who are no longer with us: among them, Alice McGrath, Cecilia and José Antonio Burciaga, Belinda Martinez-Steele, and Jake (James Katsu) Kirihara.  Above all, whatever your contribution  - whether one dollar or a thousand - we are profoundly inspired by your direct out-of-pocket support for our rural, working class theater.  Almost fifty years ago, El Teatro Campesino was born on the picket lines of the Great Delano Grape Strike. We have never forgotten the challenge brother Cesar Chavez laid before us: "If we don't help the farm worker, who will?" Today, as we continue to create new works in our ex-packing shed playhouse in San Juan Bautista, our mission has expanded to tell the whole history of farm labor in America. "Valley of the Heart" addresses one of its most important chapters: the link between Mexican and Japanese American families on California farms before, during and after World War II. It is a love story - not one without all the comic irony, tragedy and triumph that flesh is heir to - but we call it a"Kabuki Corrido,"because there is music in the universal soul of all human beings.  With that song in our heart, we gratefully thank you for helping us once again to act and sing.  

Abrazos de corazon,

Luis Valdez.


Support Luis Valdez’s “Valley of the Heart”


As El Teatro Campesino celebrates its 48th year of bringing popular Chicano theater to a new American audience, we are extremely excited to be in pre-production of a major new play entitled “Valley of the Heart” written by our Founding Artistic Director, acclaimed American playwright and father of Chicano theatre, Luis Valdez.

Now, El Teatro Campesino needs your help in bringing this latest masterwork to the stage for the first time in a production directed by Luis Valdez at the company’s playhouse in San Juan Bautista, California that will run from August 23rd-September 22nd, 2013. This is the first step in introducing “Valley of the Heart” to the world. 

“Valley of the Heart” is a love story, rooted in true historical events set in the fertile Santa Clara Valley near San José, California, known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” in 1941, and now called Silicon Valley. Opening in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, it is the dramatic interaction of two families – the Yamaguchis and the Montaños – and their respective fates during World War II.  Ichiro Yamaguchi, an “Issei” first generation Japanese American, is a strawberry farmer working the land with his family.  Cayetano Montaño, a first generation “Chicano” immigrant from Mexico, lives on the Yamaguchi ranch with his family as neighbors and sharecroppers.  Coming out of the Great Depression, both immigrant families struggle to provide for the future of their American born children.

The Montaño’s oldest son, Benjamin and the Yamaguchi’s daughter Teruko (aka Thelma) fall in love, despite her father’s wishes and her mother’s plans to arrange her marriage to middle-class Calvin Sakamoto, a young Japanese American suitor. The emotional stakes are further heightened when the Japanese attack Hawaii on December 7, 1941 throws both families into uncertainty then chaos.   The battles of World War II fought both on the home front  and overseas fragment their lives from inside out.  While the Yamaguchi family, subject to President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, is forced into a concentration camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, the Montaño family struggles to keep the Yamaguchi farm operating in California.  Issues of loyalty and patriotism provoke both rebellion and heroism among young, imprisoned Japanese Americans.  With their brothers and sister off to war,  Benjamin and Thelma fight to maintain their dignity, identity, family, and love in the face of war, fear, and separation.   Born in the internment camp and named by his Issei grandmother, their son is called Benjirou – “born of two languages” in Japanese. 

Grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts has supported the creation of this epic and touching new script, the first in 13 years by Luis Valdez. Like many great plays of Luis Valdez such as “Zoot Suit,” “Mummified Deer,” “Mundo Mata,” and “I Don’t Have to Show You No Stinking Badges,”  “Valley of the Heart” is poised to become yet another vital addition to our national theatre canon, giving voice and focus to stories of the American experience that are not always told, but must be remembered.  The first reading of “Valley of the Heart” moved many in the audience to tears and all to their feet at its conclusion.


We Need Your Help

We need your help to honor the work of our master playwright and director by in turn honoring the work of the artists who will be involved in realizing the vision of this important new play. We are gathering a dynamic team of performers, designers, and technicians. Every dollar that is donated to our basic goal goes first to support the performers who will bring “Valley of the Heart” to life. Once we are successful in funding our performers, subsequent levels of funding we achieve will be used to support our designers, technicians, and to obtain materials and supplies needed for this production that will include state-of-the-art projections, lighting, sound, and scenic elements. Please see our list below of what your funding provides at various levels and our stretch goals.

No donation is too small- all of those single dollar gifts are just as needed as the larger donations. Also, check out our exciting selection of incentive perks below, a little something extra to say thank you for your support. Best of all, since our campaign is non-profit, all donors receive a tax-deductible receipt for their contribution.

Come With Us!

We want you to join us on the journey to launch this new play that will develop into one of the hallmarks of our upcoming 50th anniversary celebration: a wonderful acknowledgement of the life and work of Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino.

“Valley of the Heart’ shares a compelling story that deserves to be told and experienced. Our artists believe in the strength of the art. Show them you believe in the vital art that they practice. We ask for you to give us the means to share this experience far and wide as we mount this production for the first time. Support the campaign!

 Luis Valdez

 From the migrant labor fields to Broadway, Luis Valdez remains true to his original vision... performance that addresses the Chicano experience in America in a context meaningful to all Americans, invoking the universal scope of our ancient indigenous roots in the New World, as expressed in his poem inspired by a Mayan precept: “In Lak’Ech: You Are My Other Self.”

Valdez's credits include, founder & artistic director of the internationally renowned El Teatro Campesino, council member of the National Endowment of the Arts, founding member of the California Arts Council, and founding professor of the Institute of Teledramatic Arts and Technology at California State University, Monterey Bay.   He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from eight universities,  including one from his Alma Mater, San Jose State University.

His awards include, Presidential Medal of the Arts, Mexico’s prestigious Aguila Azteca Award, Governors Award of the California Arts Council.   Best known works in film and television: Zoot Suit, La Bamba, and Corridos, winner of the George Peabody Award.   He continues to work and mentor a new generation of theatre artists at El Teatro Campesino Playhouse.


Funding Goals:

This is our first crowd funding campaign. We wanted to start out with a modest goal and give you, our supporters, the opportunity to help us reach beyond to even higher heights!

$15,000-Our Basic Funding Goal

Supports our cast for rehearsal and 5-week run of the first production in San Juan Bautista, California.


$20,000-Support more people!

Supports our entire cast as well as lighting, scenic, and projection designers for this first production.


$25,000-Crew are people too!

Supports our entire cast, designers, and technical crew for the first production.


$30,000-People and Cool Stuff!

-Supports our entire cast, designers, and technical crew.

-Provides supplies and materials for set, projections, and lighting.


$35,000-People, Stuff, and Attention!

-Supports our entire cast, designers, and technical crew.

-Provides supplies and materials for set, projections, and lighting

-Supports a modest promotional marketing campaign.


$40,000-All of the Above and a Place for Artists to Sleep!

-Supports our entire cast, designers, and technical crew.

-Provides supplies and materials for set, projections, and lighting.

-Supports a modest promotional marketing campaign

-Helps to subsidize housing for our out-of-town artists.



*Check back often for new and different perks that will be added throughout the campaign!*

Perks are a small “thank you” for assisting us to reach our goal, but one can opt to not take a perk. You can certainly donate multiple times, however due to our limited staff to manage the campaign, only one perk is offered at each level and we are not able to facilitate a trade up or down for another perk after you contribute.


 VOH Full Color Handbill Perk

$10.00- Full-Color Handbill

Estimated delivery: August 2013




Autographed Postcard Perk Image

$20.00 Full-Color Postcard AUTOGRAPHED BY LUIS VALDEZ 

Estimated delivery: August 2013


$73.00 Valley of the Heart Poster AUTOGRAPHED BY LUIS VALDEZ 

Estimated delivery: September 2013


$100.00 ETC t-shirt (small, medium, large of full t-shirt)

Estimated Delivery: September 2013 


$250.00 – A Valley of the Heart script signed by Luis Valdez & Members of the Cast

Estimated Delivery: September 2013 


$500.00 - Full-color "Valley of the Heart" souvenir book of production stills

Estimated Delivery: October 2013


$750.00 Audio CD recording of Luis Valdez reading his classic poem “Pensamiento Serpentino.”

Estimated Delivery: October 2013 


$1,000.00 -Private Pre-Show Dinner for two with Luis Valdez (Subject to selected dates during the run of this production only. Travel to and accommodation in San Juan Bautista, CA not included.)



Why Your Help Is Needed

 Our campaign not only provides a means for artists to support each other, but also for our audiences and other supporters who recognize that great art comes from the work of people who dedicate their lives to making it. Through the course of our campaign, we will feature profiles of some of the artists who have already agreed to take part in this milestone production. They believe in the strength of the piece enough to commit to working on it, even though our funding is still taking shape.


Thanks for visiting! Please find and like us on Facebook and share the campaign with your family and friends. We appreciate your support!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 166 people in 1 month
86% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 25, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Kabuki Confetti

    Get a real piece of confetti, shot from a cannon at an actual kabuki theatre performance in Nagoya, Japan. Appropriately, the confetti is in the shape of a heart, perfect to mark our production of “Valley of the Heart” Luis Valdez’s new ‘kabuki corrido’ play!

    1 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $10USD
    Full-Color Handbill

    Handsome promotional piece-designed after a fruit case label!

    14 out of 150 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $20USD
    Autographed Postcard


    40 out of 150 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $73USD
    Autographed Poster

    Full-color Valley of the Heart poster autographed by Luis Valdez!

    21 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $100USD
    El Teatro Campesino T-Shirt

    Indicate size, S, M, L, XL

    28 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $250USD
    Signed Script

    A "Valley of the Heart" script signed by Luis Valdez and Members of the Cast

    5 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $250USD
    Signed Script

    A "Valley of the Heart" script signed by Luis Valdez and Members of the Cast

    2 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $250USD
    Replica Produce Crate

    A replica produce crate with a classic looking label, similar to the kind that appears on our key artwork for the play, built by our Scenic Designer Jay Africa! Only two will be available. Includes an ETC t-shirt!

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $500USD
    Souvenir Photo Book

    Full-color souvenir book of "Valley of the Heart" production stills

    1 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $750USD
    CD of "Pensamiento Serpentino"

    Exclusive audio CD recording of Luis Valdez reading his classic poem “Pensamiento Serpentino.”

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013

    Dinner with the Playwright

    Private Pre-Show Dinner for two with Luis Valdez [2 availalbe ] (Subject to selected dates during the run of this production only. Travel to and accommodation in San Juan Bautista, CA not included.)

    2 out of 2 claimed
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