Arts » Arts Etc.

The Latin From Manhattan Returns


John Leguizamo
Everyone's favorite 'Freak' lampoons the ties that bind

It isn't often that Latinos have a chance to see their lives reflected in the media. Oh yeah, I forgot. Every gang-member or undocumented-worker arrest is broadcast in living color on the 10 o'clock news. But how often are we given a mirror to reflect our passions, sensibilities, and, yes, our humor?

Help is on the way in the guise of Latino dynamo John Leguizamo. Besides appearances in numerous films, from Tybalt in Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet to Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge, as well as his recent director's turn in the TV movie Undefeated, he is first and foremost a superb stand-up comic.

Those who have seen his amazing chameleon-like transformation on stage or his HBO Emmy-winning shows, Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, and Freak, already know the wild and loco persona that is Leguizamo. But, unlike earlier shows where he actually dressed up as the characters, he now does it all on a bare stage sans costumes. Freak garnered the actor two Tony nominations. And the recent Sexaholix finds him at his peak.

John Leguizamo Live

Tuesday, March 9
Majestic Theatre
208 E. Houston

San Antonians will get a chance to see and enjoy the Latin from Manhattan this week at the Majestic. Leguizamo's characterizations come alive as he relates growing up in a Puerto Rican/Colombian home. His humor is often tinged with the dysfunctional aspects of Latino family life. And natch, we glean new insights into his growing up, his relationships with women, his elders, and his homies. He also reaffirms that old habits and customs die-hard.

Now married with children, Leguizamo focus often turns to his new life as a father. He relates the commonalities he discovered when he met his wife, who is Jewish. "She went to the best schools; I knew where they were." About his kids: "They are Jew-Ricans. They can dance and balance their own checkbooks."

The resilience of Leguizamo's truly inspired storytelling always ends in a dance tribute to life - much like the Village Voice comic strip that Jules Feiffer popularized. As his dying grandfather tells him in one of his many skits: "Take my ashes and put them in an Etch-a-Sketch. That way we can always play together." •

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