John Leguizamo Reviews

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John Leguizamo: Freak

Review Hilarious and high energy, Freak is Leguizamo's Emmy winning semi-falsified, one-man stand-up performance. Alternately funny, raunchy and poignant, FREAK spotlights Leguizamo's gift for storytelling as he effortlessly slips in and out of a wide range of characters from his dysfunctional childhood in Queens, New York.
John Leguizamo's Sexaholix... A Love Story

Review Tales from a Ghetto Klown profiles the renowned actor/playwright John Leguizamo and his unorthodox rise to success, while capturing his struggles to mount his latest one-man show on Broadway.
John Leguizamo's Spic-O-Rama

Review John Leguizamo's 20-plus years in showbiz got the soul-searching treatment when he presented his one-man show Ghetto Klown on Broadway in 2011 (his fifth solo theater performance and third time lighting the Great White Way). You won't get to see much of the show in this behind-the-scenes documentary, but you will discover a great deal about the tortuous creative process that goes into self-analytical entertainment. Director Ben DeJesus's camera follows the impish, manically charmed performer through every phase of his craft in bringing the show to fruition. Leguizamo talks to the camera about the writing phase, the funding phase, the physical preparation, and the fine-tuning of a piece that is extremely personal yet filled with the pugnacious humor that has defined all aspects of his career. In addition to the interview segments, we also get to follow along as Leguizamo interacts with his director Fisher Stevens and various members of the production staff to hone individual elements into a cohesive whole. The show includes elaborate use of ingenious sound cues and a multimedia rear-projection screen, which makes for some tricky choreography, especially when Leguizamo's hyperactive dance moves and multiple character changeups require precise coordination. Hassles with finding a venue, the out-of-town tryout, and unforeseen acts of God are all intriguing documentary plot points. But the most interesting portion comes when Leguizamo decides to take the show on the road to Bogotá, Colombia. Though he was born there, the native language didn't really stick into his New York City childhood, so he had to transform his pidgin Spanish into the real thing. More daunting was translating the script and transforming himself into a native so that he could make the show as authentic for his audience in Colombia as it was for those in New York who gave Ghetto Klown its run of 120 performances. He works closely with collaborator Rosie Berrito to make Pelado de Barrio a reality, and the process is clearly more personally affecting--not to mention physically taxing--than staging the show in English for Broadway. Tales from a Ghetto Klown was originally seen on PBS TV stations and at 60 minutes it whizzes by in tightly crafted fashion. There are a bunch of outtakes, extended segments, and impromptu comedy bits included as fun extras on the disc, which will be icing for Leguizamo fans and anyone interested in how nuts-and-bolts creativity transforms into great theater. --Ted Fry

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