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John Alberto Leguizamo is an Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actor, who was born on July 22, 1964 in Bogotá, Colombia. At age 4, Leguizamo migrated with his family to Queens, New York. He attended the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School and then the Murry Bergtraum High School. He trained in theatre at Long Island University Post in Brookville and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Manhattan. However, he would not complete his courses at NYU and eventually dropped out in order to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.
Leguizamo’s comedy career began in 1984 on New York’s nightclub circuit until he made his Off-Broadway debut in La Puta Vida Trilogy at The Public Theater in November 1987. After the play’s run concluded in December, he assumed the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was already running at The Public. His stage career skyrocketed, however, after writing and starring in the first of a string of one-man hits. Mambo Mouth premiered at the American Place Theatre in 1990, earning him an Obie Award for his acting and an Outer Critics Circle Award for his writing. His next solo show, Spic-O-Rama, staged its Off-Broadway premiere at the Westside Theatre in October 1992, earning him both a Lucille Lortel Award and a Theatre World Award.
His reputation for topical, controversial, and energizing one-man shows had grown so much that Leguizamo made his Broadway debut in February 1998 with Freak. The popular production led to him winning his first Drama Desk Award and earning two Tony nominations, one for acting and one for writing. Freak was also televised by HBO, with Spike Lee as director, and Leguizamo won his first Emmy Award for his efforts in 1999. His next solo outing would play not once, but twice on Broadway and centered on Leguizamo’s love life. Sexaholix… A Love Story premiered on Broadway in October 2001 at the Royale Theatre and returned for a special encore engagement at the Broadway Theatre in November 2003.
Leguizamo would once again grace Broadway with a short-lived revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo, which opened in November 2008. Another solo show, Ghetto Klown, followed, beginning performances at the Lyceum Theatre in February 2011 and ultimately earning him his second Drama Desk Award. His next one-man juggernaut, inspired by the distinct absence of Latino role models in his son’s history classes, first premiered Off-Broadway at The Public Theater. Latin History For Morons premiered in March 2017, played an extended engagement, and was nominated for two Lucille Lortel Awards. It was then just a matter of time before a move uptown was booked at Studio 54 for a Broadway transfer from October 19, 2017 through February 25, 2018.
Leguizamo has also forged a prolific onscreen career in Hollywood. After supporting roles in various films throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, his “big break” came in 1993 when he secured the roles of Benny Blanco in Carlito’s Way and Luigi in Super Mario Bros. He went on to earn a Golden Globe nomination in 1996 for his portrayal of Chi-Chi in To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. Two of Leguizamo's film appearances occurred thanks to filmmaker Baz Luhrmann — Leguizamo portrayed Tybalt in Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet in 1996 and Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge! in 2001. Other notable screen credits include Collateral Damage, The Brothers Garcia, The Honeymooners, Land of the Dead, ER, Righteous Kill, and Kick-Ass 2. Leguizamo also voices Sid the Sloth in the popular Ice Age animated movie franchise.
Oct 19, 2017 - Feb 25, 2018Review