John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway follows the always provocative Leguizamo as he prepares for his most challenging theatrical quest yet – cramming 3,000 years of Latinx history into 90 minutes of stage time for his one man show. With extraordinary access to his creative process, the film traces the evolution of his latest success, Tony-nominated play Latin History for Morons, from its challenging premise through its triumphant debut. The film also tells the story of how Leguizamo, an immigrant with a passionate voice and big dreams, found a home in the top echelon of the theater world. John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway, directed by NGL Studios Ben DeJesus, premieres nationwide Friday, November 16 at 9 p.m. on PBS presented by Great Performances and Latino Public Broadcasting’s VOCES (check local listings). The film will be available for streaming on November 17 at pbs.org/gperf and on PBS apps.
Inspired by real life, the show begins when Leguizamo’s son gets a school assignment on heroes, and Leguizamo embarks on a quest to find him a Latino hero to celebrate. In the process, he delivers an irreverent crash course in 3,000 years of buried history, with Leguizamo acting all of the characters. Along the way, he uncovers provocative truths that shock even him. Infused throughout the documentary is Leguizamo’s special brand of humor and willingness to expose himself personally, a rare combination that has made him a unique force in American theater, from his debut show Mambo Mouth through a string of successes that include Spic-O-Rama, Freak, Sexaholix…a Love Story and Ghetto Klown. The road to his ultimate goal – making Latin History for Morons his next Broadway hit – unfolds in a cross-country adventure that not only offers an intimate look into the journey of a singular artist, but also shines a light on the rarely-told stories of Latinx heroes who made their mark on America. As opening night approaches, Leguizamo navigates the challenges of writing (and re-writing) history lessons meant to both enlighten and entertain. “We at NGL have been working on this documentary since the idea for John’s latest one man show, Latin History For Morons, was conceived,” said David Chitel, CEO of NGL Collective. “It’s amazing to see his journey of self-discovery unfold over the course of years leading up to Broadway, and culminating with what many feel is his most powerful and important one man show to date. Ben DeJesus and the entire NGL Studios team did an outstanding job telling John’s story in a way that so many people are going to be able to relate to on a visceral level.”
Featuring interviews with Rita Moreno, Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, Ruben Blades, director Tony Taccone and the Public Theater’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, along with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the one-man show taking shape, the film follows Leguizamo’s process – from his early research, to his first-ever comedy club tour, through workshops of the show – culminating in performances at the historic Public Theater and on Broadway. “Along with capturing the journey of John’s latest theatrical triumph, the film also sheds light on the many contributions of Latinx immigrants, beginning with John’s own inspirational story” remarked Ben DeJesus, President of NGL Studios.
John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway is a production of NGL Studios, in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and airs as a special co-presentation of Great Performances and Latino Public Broadcasting’s VOCES.