John Leguizamo brings hilarity with much needed history lesson
By Daisy Cabrera
Latinos have contributed to this country from its very beginning. Yet, American textbooks fail to teach students how this group is woven in our country’s fabric – from discovering and building this nation, to fighting its wars and so much more.
Hear that school bell? It’s the start of class and professor John Leguizamo is about to educate South Florida on 3,000 years of American Latino history (from the Aztec empire to Pitbull!) And, the comedian/actor/producer/playwright is as outrageously funny, uncensored and on point as ever before.
Written by and starring Leguizamo, “Latin History for Morons” enlightens, empowers and entertains beyond measure. This one-man solo play, directed by Tony Taccone, comes to the Adrienne Arsht Center stage on July 12-14. Other leading comedic talent who have graced the performance destination include Billy Crystal, Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Griffin, Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Jay Leno, John Mulaney, Eddie Izzard, Louis CK, Gad Elmaleh, and Dame Edna Everage.
Latinos are the second oldest ethnic group in America after Native Americans, yet remain invisible in many ways. “I grew up without seeing people who looked like me on screen, on stage, or in textbooks,” said Leguizamo. “Latinx people have been kept outta the conversation for centuries, and it’s bout time ya’ll hear what we gotta say! No matter who you are, this is your chance to come out and finally get your degree from a ghetto scholar!”
What unfortunately started when his son was bullied in school (because of his ethnicity) ended up becoming a tremendous research task, uncovering of eye-opening truths, and masterful creation of this 95 minute history lesson - fortunately for us. The New York Times hailed Leguizamo's Tony-Award nominated production as “a funny and surprisingly poignant quest for the perfect Latino hero!” His truly magnificent ability of connecting with the audience through perfectly timed humor and poignant introspective is the mark of a brilliant performer.
Leguizamo, who is Colombian-Puerto Rican, has always embraced his roots. Early in his career, he was ill-advised to change his last name. The bilingual talent not only refused to refuse his ethnicity - he built a thriving career by penning raw material showcasing a complex cast of Latino characters. An Emmy and Tony-Award winner (among many other honors), he has authored several books, dazzled on the big screen, brought star power to top TV programs, and sold-out stand-up shows nationwide.
“Latin History for Morons” marks Leguizamo’s sixth solo stage presentation - alongside acclaimed “Ghetto Klown”, “Freak”, “Sexaholix…A Love Story”, “Mambo Mouth” and “Spic-O-Rama” under his belt. In addition to this South Florida debut, his national tour visits coast-to-coast cities including Durham, Midland, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Antonio, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Expect a night of blasting stereotypes, quick-witted social commentary, some dance moves and plenty of belly laughs.
“Latin History for Morons” on July 12, 13 and 14 at 8:00pm
Adrienne Arsht Center, Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
Call (305) 949-6722, or visit arshtcenter.org