Oscar E Moore

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LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS – too much of a good thing at Studio 54

November 21st, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

Remember the ad campaign for real Levy’s Jewish Rye Bread?   “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.”  Well you don’t have to be Latino to love John Leguizamo’s one man marathon, semi bi-lingual, semi-autobiographical mostly entertaining history lesson – but it wouldn’t hurt.

He is charismatic, funny, and knowledgeable.  A great storyteller and mimic.  Full of energy.  Fully in control of his adoring fans as he makes his entrance nattily dressed in crumpled slacks, vest and tie like some tired professor right off of the Santa Maria.

As it turns out he is not a fan of Columbus and all that we’ve been told about him in school only skims the surface.  Professor Leguizamo is here to set the record straight.   And to make certain we honor Latinos and all their accomplishments.

And in doing so to find a suitable Latino hero for his son who has been bullied at school.  This is the very slight plot line that sets Leguizamo off on his diatribe of almost two hours without an intermission.

Although some of his most ardent fans in the audience do not need an official intermission as they freely get up, leave and return as if they are at some rock concert with drinks in hand to help them guffaw at the various characters that the Professor brings into existence with the help of some hats and wigs and a double sided blackboard that becomes a tool to inform with various pastel colored chalks.

The performance covers almost all of Hispanic History – which reminded me of my school days in Social Studies class when my teacher who was also charming and charismatic went on a bit too long and I couldn’t wait for the bell to ring to change classes.

Senor Leguizamo no matter how good he is and he is very good – has not learned that brevity is the soul of wit and probably is unaware of KISS – Keep it short and simple.

A couple of Trump and Weinstein references are thrown in for good measure.  But too much time is spent with the Incas and his son slamming his bedroom door.  I think that was when the natives got restless.

A few instructions on how to behave as an audience might be in order.

Mr. Leguizamo also does a mean cha cha cha, rumba and samba dance break that had his fans ready to join in, in this sometimes very funny but overly long production where he keeps his obvious anger in check.  Briskly directed by Tony Taccone.

I left the show thirsty for a cold beer and some nachos.

Extended through Feb 25    www.latinhistorybroadway.com

Photos:  Matthew Murphy

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