After a long hiatus from the theater world, John Leguizamo returned to Broadway in 2011 in his hit one-man show Ghetto Klown.
"John Leguizamo still appears to have the energy of a 12-year-old who has just downed a Red Bull and a jumbo package of Twinkies," according to a March New York Times review for Ghetto Klown.
But while it maybe looks effortless, Ghetto Klown is actually the product of three years of hard work. A new documentary,Tales From a Ghetto Klown, chronicles Leguizamo's return to Broadway. Director Ben DeJesus followed Leguizamo through his writing process, production obstacles and the actor's experience reconnecting with his cultural roots.
DeJesus calls John Leguizamo a "bicultural phenomenon". Born Colombia, Leguizamo moved to Queens, New York at the age of 4 with his family. Tales From A Ghetto Klown provides proof of just how multicultural Leguizamo is. He has ties to New York, Los Angeles and Bogota, Colombia. He operates in Spanish, English and something in between.
The film follows Leguizamo all the way to Colombia where he performs a Spanish-language version of Ghetto Klown and into the corners of New York City where the Colombian-American actor claims he had the experiences that drove of his stand-up career.
"That was my first open mic night," said Leguizamo of the time to get arrested for breaking into a subway conductor's booth. "It was on the subway, the birth of my comedy."
The documentary also features Leguizamo's mentors and friends, including Ghetto Klown director Fisher Stevens (The Cove), Rosie Perez, Ralph Fiennes, Liev Schrieber and Ruben Blades.
Tales from a Ghetto Klown will make its broadcast premiere on PBS July 13.
To support the film's director, Ben DeJesus, you can visits his Kickstarter page to help cover the costs of producing Tales From A Ghetto Klown.
"Ghetto Klown" On Broadway
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Actor John Leguizamo attends 'Ghetto Klown' Broadway cast photocall at The Snapple Theater Center on January 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
In Colombia With His Son
Colombian born actor John Leguizamo (R) and his son Lucas enjoy the view during a visit to Santo Domingo commune on July 26, 2010 in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia. Leguizamo is in Colombia to attend the eighth edition of Santa Fe de Antioquia Film Festival. AFP PHOTO/Raul ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
"One For The Money" New York Premiere
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: Justine Leguizamo and John Leguizamo attend the 'One for the Money' premiere at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on January 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
"Film & TV Stars On New York Stage"
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Actress Jim Belushi, John Leguizamo and John Larroquette at the Drama Desk Panel Discussion: 'Film and TV Stars on New York Stage' at Sardi's on April 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
Colombian born actor John Leguizamo travels by train during his visit to Santo Domingo commune on July 26, 2010 in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia. Leguizamo is in Colombia to attend the eighth edition of Santa Fe de Antioquia Film Festival. AFP PHOTO/Raul ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 27: Actor John Leguizamo and his children Allegra Sky and Ryder Lee arrive at Nickelodeon's 23rd Annual Kid's Choice Awards held at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on March 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
6th Annual Made In NY Awards
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06: Event honoree, actor John Leguizamo attends the 6th annual Made In NY awards at Gracie Mansion on June 6, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)