Presented by The Public Theater
Created and Performed by John Leguizamo
Directed by Tony Taccone
Scenic Design: Rachel Hauck
Lighting Design: Alexander V. Nichols
Original Music, Sound Design: Bray Poor
First Performance February 24, 2017
Opening March 27, 2017
Final Performance April 28, 2017
Submit a review for Latin History for Morons
Emmy and Obie Award winner John Leguizamo (Ghetto Klown) schools his son—and the rest of us—on the buried and forgotten history of Latinos in the Americas in this outrageously funny one-man show 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 90 irreverent and uncensored minutes in his trademark style.
Artistic Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Tony Taccone, directs this incendiary new show from one of the most provocatively hilarious satirists in American theater.
Ben Brantley – New York Times
Resist the urges to call the fire department that you will probably experience during John Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons,” which opened on Monday night at the Public Theater. That’s chalk dust, not smoke, rising from its star’s feverish frame.
Frank Rizzo – Variety
It’s never too late to be educated, especially when it’s as entertaining and personal as John Leguizamo’s class in culture, comedy and parenting in his latest solo show at The Public, following a run last year at Berkeley Repertory Theater. In “Latin History for Morons,” an older and more mature Leguizamo — well, older, anyway, at 52 — is in autodidact mode in this sometimes hilarious, sometimes tender-hearted Ted Talk with props, dancing (he’s still got the moves) and a well-used blackboard.
Frank Scheck – The Hollywood Reporter
Leguizamo doesn’t blend humor and information as successfully as Colin Quinn, who has similarly mined history for such one-person shows as Long Story Short and Unconstitutional. But he’s a far more dynamic comedic performer, using energetic body language and vocal inflections to make even his weaker material amusing. Leguizamo is such an engaging presence that he makes Latin History for Morons enjoyable, although you may find yourself impatiently waiting for the classroom bell to sound.
Peter Marks – Washington Post
The only misgiving you’ll harbor about John Leguizamo’s foray into comic academia is that you can’t enroll for a whole semester.
Allison Adato – Entertainment Weekly
In the first moments of his latest one-man show, Latin History for Morons, John Leguizamo plots his plan for the evening by drawing a line on a chalkboard: We’re going to cover the vast experience of several too-often ignored cultures, beginning with the Mayans and ending with Pitbull. Can he do it? He’s gonna try. In 95 often hilarious minutes he tromps through the pre-Columbian civilizations, introduces Latin heroes of most every American war, and reminds us that his forebears rightfully deserve credit for (among other things) bringing Europeans tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, forceps, and the mambo. But given the constraints of time and comedy, the best he can do is to take the rough edges off us morons.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
It’s a compelling idea, and one that would seem an ideal match for the creativity and energy Leguizamo brings to all his pieces. But this time, he has trouble aligning craft and content. His impersonations only have clarity and affection when they’re for his family members (all of whom he makes distinct, and distinctly silly, but unfailingly real), whereas the few historical people have the whiff of tired caricature that, unlike in his other shows, isn’t leavened by a sufficient amount of time for us to get to recognize, know, and love them. Much of the time, it’s as though you’re watching the History Channel only by skipping back and forth between Discovery and FX.
Robert Hofler – The Wrap
The major cliché of today’s theater criticism is that even a slightly dystopian play must be reviewed through the discolored prism of Donald Trump’s presidency. Finally, I have to jump on the bandwagon. John Leguizamo gives us a one-man show that fully warrants unkind references to the 45th president of the United States, as well as Rep. Steve King of Iowa. It’s called “Latin History for Morons,” which opened Monday at the Public Theater, and while it’s an apt title, Leguizamo’s 90-minute show may best be enjoyed by theatergoers who are very familiar with the last 3,000 years of life in the Western Hemisphere.
Jonathan Mandell – New York Theater
For “Latin History for Morons,” John Leguizamo has come up with a sixth solo show that will be in many ways familiar to his fans , with its mix of in-your-face jokes, spot-on mimicry, candid memoir, energetic dance breaks. But it is also a timely cultural and political critique, suggesting what could become a new direction for the talented performer.
Christopher Kelly – NJ.com
If you’ve managed to make it through life without ever seeing John Leguizamo perform one of his hilariously profane, searingly personal monologues, please correct this error immediately.
Robert Kahn – NBC New York
The snarkily titled “Latin History for Morons” is Leguizamo’s sometimes repetitive, mostly riotous effort to explain the ways he was “brainwashed” by the New York City school system. At the same time, it’s a fatherly effort to prevent the same fate from happening to his own kids. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he begins. “I’ve gotta undo your entire education.”