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Review of John Leguizamo’s ‘Latin History for Morons’

John Leguizamo wrote and stars in

John Leguizamo wrote and stars in "Latin History For Morons" on Broadway at Studio 54. Credit: Matthew Murphy

WHAT ‘Latin History for Morons’

WHERE Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St.

INFO $55-$147, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com

BOTTOM LINE John Leguizamo takes on the toughest role yet, parenting.

Yo, John, who you callin’ a moron?

Apparently, that would be me — and everyone else who sees “Latin History for Morons,” John Leguizamo’s new play now on Broadway after a March run at the Public Theater. And that’s the kind of tough talk you get over the 100 frenetic minutes as he tries to fill in blanks that textbooks have left about his culture’s contributions to American history.

It’s an impossible task, but he gives it his best shot, in an effort to help his eighth-grade son complete a middle school graduation project. Playing a manic professor, Leguizamo goes from the Aztecs and Incas to Sonia Sotomayor and Pitbull searching for someone his son can label a Latin hero.

The Colombian-born monologist-actor keeps up the energy he’s known for in past shows such as “Mambo Mouth” and “Ghetto Klown,” writing furiously on a blackboard and occasionally breaking into dance. His takes on everyone from Sigmund Freud to Andrew Jackson are righteously funny, if bordering on the obscene, and there are some pointed messages about immigration issues. But attempts to keep things current with passing references to Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey fall flat.

We see a more mature Leguizamo here, sharing the universal struggles of parenting and acknowledging that he doesn’t have all the answers. Clearly, he is counting himself among those morons.

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