Tony Award & Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo has made a name for himself on both the stage and the silver screen. His iconic appearances in films such as "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar", "Carlito's Way", as well as Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge!", have solidified him as a household name. Voicing the character of Sid the Sloth in the popular "Ice Age" movie franchise has also won him countless fans of a new generation. However on Broadway and off-Broadway, he is widely acclaimed for his topical and raucous one-man shows.
After the success of Mambo Mouth (1990), Spic-O-Rama (1992), his Tony-nominated performance in Freak (1998), Sexaholix... A Love Story (2001), and Ghetto Klown (2011), Leguizamo graces us yet again with a solo offering, this time inspired by the severe lack of Latino role models in his son's American History classes. Latin History for Morons played an extended limited engagement at The Public Theater in the spring of 2017 and now moves uptown to the iconic Studio 54.
Leguizamo writes in the Playbill of the show beneath his credits that he "never got into the real Studio 54 back in the day, doing the show here is the only way he could get in!" And lucky for us because Latin History for Morons is a most entertaining trip to Studio 54, where we are more than happy to play the role of the 'morons'.
The structure of Leguizamo's show is well-balanced and timed to perfection, shifting between the titular theme of dumbing down 3,000 years of latin history and, to our unexpected delight, regaling touching (and hilarious) stories about parenting. Leguizamo throws in a handful of latin-inspired dance breaks for good measure too, proving he's still got the moves and that (latin) dad dancing rules! He plays out the interactions between himself and his vulnerable son or between himself and his exasperating shrink with great comic timing and sensitivity. You never feel the performance dragging too much on one particular topic and the historical teachings are kept lively with the inclusion of such ingredients as syphilis and intimate relationships with sheep. Yes... sheep...
All in all, Leguizamo proves once again why he is the undisputed champion of one-man shows. So, go ahead and get educated, morons!
(Photos by Matthew Murphy)