the traveler's resource guide to festivals & filmsa FestivalTravelNetwork.com site part of Insider Media llc.
Latin History for Morons
Written and performed by John Leguizamo; directed by Tony Taccone
Performances through February 25, 2018
John Leguizamo in Latin History for Morons (photo: Matthew Murphy)
Despite TV and movie success, John Leguizamo cut his teeth with solo shows that began in small downtown theaters and gradually moved uptown after he became a known commodity.
His latest Broadway performance, Latin History for Morons, takes the form of a lecture to his audience about the mostly unknown (or forgotten) history of Latinos in America. It’s his usual combination of dead-on impressions, penetrating observations, juvenile humor and unabashed sentimentality.
When his 8th grade son came home from school one day and told him that he had a difficult history assignment—pick a Latin hero—Leguizamo realized that, in most textbooks, Latinos were basically written out of history.
So he made it his business to discover someone heroic for his son, and that became the springboard for the show, as Leguizamo speaks informally but intelligently how Latino culture has been systematically erased, from the Aztecs and Incas to the present day.
With a chalkboard at center stage to visualize the teaching concept (Tony Taccone’s direction is happily haphazard), Leguizamo blends his one-of-a-kind riffing, caricature and vocal impersonation into an offbeat lecture to discuss a scaled-down timeline of history, from the destruction of the Aztec and Inca civilizations by colonizing Spaniards to unknown Latinos (and Latinas) who fought in the American Revolution and Civil War.
All the while, though, he keeps returning to his family, and that’s what makes the new show particularly satisfying. His funniest lines come from his interactions with his wife, daughter and son—he gets hilarious mileage out of telling his kids that, back in the day, if someone wanted to steal music, one had to actually go to a store and shoplift—as well as the most heart-on-the-sleeve moments, especially the ending, when his son reveals the hero he finally teased out of his father’s sometimes inept but always well-meaning attempts to teach his son his own history, which is anything but moronic.
Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, New York, NY
Sign up for our weekly newsletter!