John Leguizamo Wraps Up Solo Show on Broadway
On February 25, 2018, Latin History for Morons played its final performance at Studio 54, where it had been running since its first preview on October 19, 2017, followed by its official opening night on November 15, 2017. This one-man show allowed John Leguizamo to flex his muscles, as well as his signature versatility and physicality, in a comedic satirical portrayal of a history lesson, in which he taught his audience about the history of Latino contributions to society. The show was a critical and financial success, as it became the first straight play to recoup its capitalization in the 2017 to 2018 Broadway season. This one-man show starred and was written by Leguizamo himself, and it was directed by Tony Taccone, who has made a name for himself helming solo shows including Wishful Drinking (Carrie Fisher), and Bridge & Tunnel (Sarah Jones). Taccone is also the artistic director of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Due to strong sales even in advance of opening, Latin History for Morons was extended for three weeks early on in the run, and upon closing, it had played 127 performances, including previews. While the show received mixed reviews, this polarizing effect did not lessen the audience appeal. Deadline and Access Atlanta loved the show, while the New York Times was very critical, and other critics such as AM NY and Newsday were more on the fence. The New York Times found him to be too “exaggerated,” but Deadline complimented him as an “incomparable mimic.” Nevertheless, the low running costs and high energy of Leguizamo’s zany performance allowed the show to recoup its investment and enter profits before the end of the run.
In the week ending February 25, 2018, Latin History for Morons brought in the highest weekly gross of the run: $750,581, which represents 90.00% of its gross potential. This is an increase of $84,730 from the week before. The preview week ending February 18, 2018 was also a strong week, with a gross of $665,851, representing 79.84% of gross potential, and which was an increase of $170,853 from the week before that. This all shows that when it became clear Latin History for Morons was closing soon, fans did flock to the theatre to catch John Leguizamo in action before it was too late. The show had already recouped at that time, so these weekly grosses, minus the running costs, were all profit for the show’s producers. Over the course of the run, the average percentage reached of gross potential was 64.15%, and the audience was filled up to an average of 81.32% of its capacity. With an average top ticket price of $248.58, the average paid admission across the run was $94.45. The recoupment is all the more impressive given that the show only played seven times a week. While that did decrease some of the running costs, such as crew wages, certain costs remained as high as they might have been with a full week of eight performances, such as the theatre rental. However, a one-man show seven times in a week is already an impressive feat; it makes sense that Leguizamo would decide two shows in one day was overkill. Even with such seemingly endless energy, he had to preserve his momentum to last for 127 performances. In addition, he played an Off-Broadway run at the Public Theater before coming to Broadway, further cementing the Public Theater as a breeding ground for high-quality, risk-taking, socially conscious theatre that makes its way to Broadway.
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