“If you want to learn Spanish, call your bank and press 2”. That was my favorite of the many great jokes we heard John Leguizamo tell Sunday night during his performance of Ghetto Klown. We were invited to the press opening of of the show, which has just come off Broadway. Irving and I are both huge fans of John Leguizamo and were really excited to see him back on the stage.
Ghetto Klown was written and performed by John himself. He weaves hilarious stories of his youth in with his tough family history as he struggled to become the person he knows he wants to be.
John comes from Latino descent and growing up in Jackson Heights, New York was far from easy for his family. He’s a great writer and knows how to tell a great story. When he talked about the harder moments in his life, it was almost uncomfortable to watch. As if he brought you inside a life that you weren’t supposed to see. But that is one of the reasons that makes the show outstanding. It was real. It was raw. It was personal. And he’s brave enough to share it with the world.
I don’t even think this show can be reviewed as a show. You can’t review a person’s life. His stories opened up his vulnerable side when he talked about how he was at war with himself, torn between his personal and professional life. Finding that balance and believing in himself. I especially loved hearing about his experience in Romeo + Juliet since it’s my favorite movie. He even acted out some of his lines from the movie. I got chills.
The stage was phenomenal. At first it didn’t look like much. Just a desk, a few chairs and projector. But the way the space was used was really unique and impressive. He intertwined video, slides and sound effects to make the stories come to life for the audience.
The theater house, The Montalban Theater, is old and gritty, located in the heart of Hollywood. I can’t think of a more perfect venue for a show like this. The show runs through October 16th and tickets can be found here.
I love the concept of “Everybody has a Story” and it’s always a treat to hear someone tell theirs… and tell it well. It also makes me reflect on my own life. What’s MY story? What actions along the way have defined my life? Any play that makes you ask yourself questions like that is a winner in my book.