John Leguizamo takes over Central Park

John Leguizamo is a Ghetto Klown (Photo by  Durst Breneiser)
John Leguizamo is a Ghetto Klown (Photo by Durst Breneiser)

John Leguizamo has enjoyed a successful career of well over three decades that has seen lots of success.  In “Ghetto Klown” he takes fans on a comedic stroll through his life, from growing up in Queens, New York, to discovering his sense of humor, to his success on stage and screen. He performed his one-man show in front of a crowd of thousands in Central Park as part of SummerStage earlier this week.

He pokes fun at his television debut on “Miami Vice” in the 1980s as well as his success on Broadway in shows such as Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama and Freaks. But Leguizamo is at his best when he details his interactions with fellow thespians. In “Casualties of War,” he describes a scene with Sean Penn that required slapping, and Leguizamo wasn’t happy being on the receiving end of it multiple times. Fittingly, the scene didn’t make the final cut.

He also describes a run-in with actor Patrick Swayze, who shared the screen with Leguizamo in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Dressed as drag queens, the two men got into a heated argument that almost led to punches being thrown, which inspired fellow co-star Wesley Snipes to offer to hold their purses.

The talented Columbian also talked about a confrontation with a man that he called “the greatest living actor,” Al Pacino. In the film Carlito’s Way, Leguizamo had a memorable nod playing Benny Blanco, a character whose bravado clashes with Pacino’s. Not surprising that the two bumped heads when the cameras weren’t on, with Pacino getting the better of Leguizamo. Still, the actor had the final laugh, both literally and figuratively, as he brags about being the only actor to kill Al Pacino in a film.

Leguizamo also touches on a brief marriage that was a rollercoaster and his relationship with his parents, who are now divorced. “Ghetto Klown” was an enjoyable show, especially in the elements of Central Park, and I definitely recommend watching it live or on television if you are in the mood for a good laugh.

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