Posted in Daily Prompt, Hair the musical, Hamilton, Joe Papp, John Leguizamo, landmark, Lin-Manuel Miranda, New York City, real estate, The Public Theater, theater space

A theatrical intersection

via Daily Prompt: One-Way

There is a short street in the East Village which goes two-ways but is at its heart a one-way street. 425 Lafayette Street, formerly the Astor Library, was saved from demolition, and gained landmark status, when Joseph Papp turned it into The Public Theater.

A part of the theater’s mission statement says “THE PUBLIC is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today.” The Public began life in 1954 as the New York Shakespeare Festival, but moved into 425 Lafayette in 1967. Fittingly, the opening production was the innovative and “radically inclusive”  Hair, a musical that has had many revivals over time, including the one in 2011 at the St James Theatre in Times Square.

In honor of the 50 year anniversary of the Public, Lafayette at Astor Place will be co-named Joseph Papp Way on December 1 at 8:30a.m. The Public’s Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis will be at the ceremony along with Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs,  Rosie Mendez,  District 2 City Councilwoman, and Gail Papp, Public Theater Board Member. Gail Papp will unveil the commemorative sign, while Eustis will make a few remarks on the occasion.

The recent history of The Public has given us the 11 Tony winning Hamilton, which transferred to the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2015. This year, John Leguizamo brought his downtown show, Latin History for Morons,  to Broadway’s Studio 54. In addition to its free Shakespeare in the Park programs, The Public is also a recipient of countless awards and honors for its productions, which are represented not only on Broadway but on stages across the country and worldwide.

“Joe Papp changed the life of New Yorkers forever, creating a beloved institution devoted to making the life of our culture inclusive,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “It is thrilling that the city of New York will recognize him forever by co-naming this street for him.”

Posted in history, John Leguizamo, lessons, one man show

Class is in session

With Columbus experiencing a re-think, historically speaking, the mnemonic fed us as children seems less and less useful.

Forget the Nina, the Pinta, and “fourteen hundred and ninety two.” Sit back while Professor Leguizamo gives you a lesson in Latin History for Morons, playing at Studio 54 through February 25, 2018.

Teaching dummies about Latinos has been a John Leguizamo Broadway (and off) project for some time. 2011’s Ghetto Klown was not the first time he scored points on how little we non-Latinos know about his people. As in his Tony-nominated Freak, he talks about the deeply personal in Ghetto Klown, while revealing interesting tidbits about his Hollywood exploits. The confessional tone of many of his previous stage outings is on display in Latin History for Morons as well.

If we did not like Leguizamo so well, we might resent being called Morons, but we’ll let it pass. It must be galling to hail from one of the Hispanic isles — the Bronx or P.R. for example–and have us flaunt the myth that America was “discovered” by an Italian in service to his Spanish Queen. On top of that we’re yelling “speak English” these days and building walls to keep out other Latino groups.

Sure, his is a one-man show, but Leguizamo can’t do it all by himself. Latin History for Morons is directed by Tony Taccone, with sets by Rachel Hauck, costumes by Luke McDonough and original music/sound design by Bray Poor, and lights by Alexander V. Nichols.

For more information and tickets, please visit https://latinhistorybroadway.com/

Also see for further thoughts on:

Post: In the Classroom of Prof. Johnny Leggs, ‘Latin History for Morons’ Is Delivered With Light, Heat and a Lotta Heart
Link: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2017/11/in-classroom-of-prof-johnny-leggs-latin.html
Blog: The Wright Wreport