John Leguizamo, for very long, has been a hero to the Latin community. From Sexaholic to Ghetto Klown, his honesty at the troubles of being human and the wonder of being Latino has made him gain world acclaim and honor by our community. Thus, when John Leguizamo hits Broadway, the banderas are out and his people come out for the show. Yet, Latin History For Morons is not only Leguizamo’s best work; it is also his most important and wisest.
For an 1 hour and 40 minutes, WITHOUT intermission, John makes it his mission to undo your whole education about Latinos, and he has his work cut out for him because, as he remarked, that “s**t” is in their deep. As he obliterates the idea that Latin people are immigrants rather than rightful inheritors of U.S. land from their indigenous ancestors, you John transform from funny guy to thoughtful one. This one-man show feels like a coming of age for John. While he still has his family/ life struggles and whips out classic characters like, his mom, his wife, and deaf uncle, he no longer feels immature or lost. Do not get me wrong! I followed all his works and they quintessential to comedic excellence, but they were all about a brash, young man trying to heal wounds he did not want to say he had. Yet, Latin History For Morons is John’s full acknowledgment that he has ISSUES, and they are inherited, not only from his individual history, but also from his communal one.
As John, explores the extinction of tribes like Puerto Rico’s Tainos or South And Central American empires, Aztec and Inca, tears fill the crowd’s eyes. By using humor to represent their total disappearance from history/ earth, he, inadvertently, gives them humanity. You feel the fear, sadness, and disgust that courses through our Latin ancestors that were handed death, disease, and torture, in exchange, for their offerings to the Western world such as, brain surgery astronomy, aqueducts, and, not to mention, hipster meal-plans like, corn, avocado, bananas, and beans. The list goes on and on, and inspires you to do your own research at finding out what else Latin America has invented for the globe such as, photography, the artificial heart, and birth control. Yet, I do not blame you for not knowing these facts, nor do I blame you for not knowing that the British, French, and Ottoman Empire were funded by the 500,000 tons of gold and 1.5 million tons of silver stolen from Latin American tribes. Yup! History was funded by the indigenous man…. so why is he who paid, dead and gone?
From The Civil War and American Revolution, as Leguizamo seeks Latin heroes for his son, who is being bullied in his school for being Latino, John grows frustrated, and humorously confronts something every Latinx person has suffered a bout of: ghetto rage. When you realize how much of your history and wealth has been taken from you to give you a lesser image of yourself, you feel angry, depressed, and like a failure. Compared to his previous works, Leguizamo has no problem playing with the seriousness of oppression in terms of indigenous and Latin Rights/ Equality. Seeing him get quiet and be unafraid to show his darker feelings n is different for Leguizamo as a theatre actor. Usually, he glazes through his emotional rough patches with a quick joke, but, like any tragedy, you cannot always laugh to stop the cry. Instead, you have to go through the tears, which makes Latin History a full sensory experience.
Directed by Tony Taccone, hilarious, important, and upsetting are some of the most poignant terms to describe John Leguizamo’s Latin History For Morons. Playing until February 25, it is not only a must-see for theatre lovers, but also for those that believe human rights are for all. We need to look into the past to figure out how we have gotten to one of the cruelest eras humanity, in hopes, that the future will truly be brighter for everyone. Only when humanity sees that equality does not come at an exchange, will it truly live in peace, love, and happiness. To Buy Tickets To John Leguizamo’s Latin History For Morons Click Here. Location: Studio 54 – 254 West 54th Street New York, NY 10019