Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of John Leguizamo's LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS at the Ahmanson Theatre?
Following its Tony-nominated hit Broadway run seen by tens of thousands, Tony Award winner John Leguizamo's one-man play "Latin History for Morons" i s currently running at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from September 5 through October 20, 2019. Hear what the critics have to say!
The WOW Agency brings "Latin History for Morons" to Los Angeles as part of a North American tour that premiered at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York and has traveled across the country including engagements in Atlanta, Dallas, Durham, Hartford, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and San Antonio among others. For more information on upcoming city engagements, please visit LatinHistoryOnTour.com.
"Latin History for Morons" is inspired by the near total absence of Latinos from his son's American History books. John Leguizamo embarks on an outrageously funny, frenzied search to find a Latin hero for his son's school history 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 Pitbull into 110 irreverent and uncensored minutes above and beyond his unique style.
Read the reviews below!
Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times: The syllabus, it must be said, remains unwieldy. Leguizamo's historical tour is meant to be dizzying, but the narrative packaging is loose and the effect rambling. The whole lesson plan on the Aztecs is a blur, and if the after-show quiz that Leguizamo threatens were to contain too many questions on the Cortez and Moctezuma section, a great many of us would fail after his hyperactive recap.
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen: In theory, it sounds very difficult to talk non-stop for nearly two hours and manage to keep things engaging, but it seems effortless for Leguizamo. His performance is so animated and physical that it never feels like you are simply watching a lecture. He dons wigs and mustaches, he dances, he portrays dozens of characters ranging from his Jewish wife to Moctezuma. The energy of the performance never wavers, and there are a ton of quotable one-liners. He compares the conquistadors to "NBA players at a Kardashian pool party," and when commenting on his young daughter's music habits, laments that when he was a kid and wanted to steal music, "you had to walk to the goddamn record store and shoplift it yourself!" There were two moments, however, where jokes struck me as crossing the line into offensive territory-an imitation of a stereotypical Indian doctor, and playing the mannerisms of the late Stephen Hawking for laughs.
Tony Frankel, Stage and Cinema: Tantalizingly witty and immensely enlightening, the show's arc concerns Leguizamo's son, who is having difficulty in middle-school both with a bully and coming up with a Latino hero for a school assignment. With a kinetic performance involving dancing, skipping, body slamming and caricaturizing (he's as subtle as a two-ton piano crashing on your head), the indefatigable 54-year-old force of nature relates how corrective history books came to his rescue when trying to relate to his son.
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld: The magic lies in his use of every shred of his wound-up, wired charisma to talk about his family, especially his son Buddy, in the eighth grade at the time of the storyline. Buddy has been bullied and cannot pick a Latin hero to look up to. Leguizamo unlike the father he never had must help him to appreciate who he is, where he came from and to name many Latin heroes worth emulating ...those who have fought in every war and have died to keep this country great. He moves like the wind across the stage, back and forth putting on a crown to essay King Philip II of Spain, changing his voice to play his wife, his daughter, or his therapist. I guarantee, you'll never be bored. Method actor Leguizamo does not lie. What you get is an energetic, bordering on crazed, no-holds-barred monologue that is recklessly, fearlessly funny, and even if slightly exaggerated, it comes from the heart... it is his truth. He has so much vitality, it feels like a marathon race just to keep up with him. But, if you really tune in keenly, you'll surely enjoy and profit, as you learn so much about the past and how are history books have misguided us.
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy
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