Back to Broadway: A Look Back at John Leguizamo's Career Onstage
In Latin History For Morons John Leguizamo schools his son-and the rest of us-on the buried and forgotten history of Latinos in the Americas in this outrageously funny, satirical one-man play about uncovering the truth, and recovering from the past. Inspired by the near total absence of Latinos in his son's American history class, Leguizamo embarks on a frenzied search to find a Latin hero for his son's school project. From a mad recap of the Aztec empire to stories of unknown Latin patriots of the Revolutionary War and beyond, Leguizamo breaks down the 3,000 years between the Mayans and Ricky Ricardo into 95 irreverent and uncensored minutes in his trademark style.
Today, BWW takes a look back on the award-winning entertainer's prolific Broadway career!
FREAK was Leguizamo's one-man show, written and performed by the actor and comedian. The play debuted at the Cort Theater on Broadway in 1998.
Over the course of the performance, Leguizamo traces his life from the very beginning (as a sperm cell) to the beginning of his career in show business. During the course of the play, Leguizamo portrays a bizarre myriad of characters including friends, relatives and neighbors that he knew while growing up in Queens, New York. These included the eccentric Uncle Sandy, the Fat Boy Called Bitch (John's little brother, Poochie), his mom, his evil grandmothers, and Lee Strasberg, not to mention a brief appearance by Cantinflas as God. Sometimes he even engaged in multi-character dialogues all by himself.
The show garnered Leguizamo and members of the production crew with several awards and nominations including the 1998 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo/One-Person Show and two Tony Award nominations for Best Actor in a Play and Best Play. A filmed performance was directed by Spike Lee aired on HBO under the same name.
In the clip below, Leguizamo discusses hitting puberty:
In December 2001, John Leguizamo returned to Broadway in a new one-man show he penned titled SEXAHOLIX, an affectionate tale of the comic's path to maturation and the women who helped get him there. Here, Leguizamo dug deep into his past love life to mine a rich vein of material. Nothing was held back in this hilarious comedy.
The show originally ran at Broadway's Royale Theatre, opening November 4, 2001. The production extended twice before finally closing Feb. 10, 2002. The work, nominated for the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, has played on stages across the country and was taped for airings on HBO. Leguizamo returned with the show in November 2003, for a four-week run at the Broadway Theatre.
Check out a sampling below
AMERICAN BUFFALO (2008)
In 2008, Leguizamo starred in a Broadway revival of David Mamet's AMERICAN BUFFALO. The actor was joined by Cedric the Entertainer and "Sixth Sense" Oscar nominee Haley Joel Osment. The show began previews Oct. 31 and opened Nov. 17 at Broadway's Belasco Theater, with Robert Falls directing. The production played 20 previews and eight regular performances.
In the clip below, John Leguizamo discusses his experience working on a script that was not of his own making.
Ghetto Klown (2011)
On March 22, 2011, Leguizamo brought his new one-man show Ghetto Klown to Broadway's Lyceum Theatre. The show led the audience on a hilarious and touching roller-coaster ride through the highs and lows of Leguizamo's personal and professional life, featuring vivid accounts of the colorful characters that have populated his story.
Leguizamo won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. HBO presented a filmed version of the show, marking Leguizamo's fifth comedy special on the cable network.
In the clip below, the comedian discusses entertaining the hoodlums of his childhood:
2017 LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS
Image courtesy of HBO