Comedian John Leguizamo is bringing his Tony-award nominated play “Latin History for Morons” to venues across the country.
Leguizamo’s 12-state tour begins with a two-night stand at the Apollo Theater in New York on June 20. He’ll then perform in New Jersey, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas. The tour ends with his already announced seven-week stand at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
Leguizamo is known for personal, one-man plays that often draw from dark moments in his life, including “Spic-O-Rama” and “Mambo Mouth.” “Latin History for Morons” is no different. The play, which debuted in 2017, was inspired by Leguizamo’s son, who was bullied for his race in school. In response, Leguizamo, who is of Colombian and Puerto Rican descent, set out to write about the influence of Latin America and the Caribbean on the formation of the United States and its subsequent centuries of history.
Though only 90 minutes long, the play covers 3,000 years of history, starting with the Aztec and Incan empires.
“I started to think why people feel comfortable disrespecting us in a way that’s just not normal or natural,” Leguizamo told NBC News in a previous interview. “And I started to think that it's because our contributions aren't in history textbooks.”
The show highlights unsung heroes of Latino history, from pioneering Mexican-American journalist and education rights-activist Jovita Idár, to entertainer Desiderio Alberto “Desi” Arnaz, known as Ricky Ricardo on the sitcom “I Love Lucy."
Idár, in particular, resonated with Leguizamo because of their shared passion for education.
“Education is the first step to empowerment,” Leguizamo told NBC News in an earlier interview. “We need to see the power of our contributions to feel more inside ourselves, more inside our bodies, more inside our culture. And now [after the experience of putting together “Latin History for Morons”] I feel like we Latinx people created America.”
After its sold-out run at The Public Theater, the play premiered at Studio 54 on Broadway last October. A version of “Latin History for Morons” is available on Netflix.
Leguizamo previously told NBC News that by creating the play, he feels like he also became an “unexpected pioneer” in Latino culture.
“I felt so invisible, like our culture was always being excluded, that we didn’t even have a seat at the table. So I tried to fill in that gap by writing my own stuff about Latinx people and the way I saw them,” Leguizamo said. “And by accident, I was breaking down doors for other Latinx performers, writers and comedians.”