When — actor, voice artist, producer, writer and truly singular talent — John Leguizamo hit the stage at this year’s BroadwayCon Industry Day, he reinforced a very simple, yet profound idea in his talk — remember the fan.
Give a listen to this [4:16] soundbite from his session.
As a fan, this video should resonate on many levels — especially the part where he says:
‘People are spending crazy amounts of money to see me… many in the audience can’t afford one ticket but are buying two or three tickets to see my show. Babysitter…meal before the show… this is turning into a $500 event for some people… they are supporting me, I feel like I really owe them something.’
With a packed house for his hit show Latin History for Morons, I would image his sensibility towards the fan relationship comes from his shattering the fourth wall seven times a week by reaching out to his audience and allowing their energy to drive the rhythm of his show.
Audience members at his shows aren’t simply spectators — they are the fuel that ignites his work. As he tells his story, he asks audience members questions and reacts naturally to their responses — with amusement or sarcasm or genuine curiosity. By doing so, he creates an authentic connection that makes each audience member feel valued and included — as if they’re a part of a unique experience that will never happen in the same way for any other audience.
When John is not giving a talkback with the audience after the show, he is in the lobby signing books for his fans. He is also actively engaging with fans outside of the show on social media. John recognizes that the connections he establishes on stage don’t start with entrance applause and end with a curtain call — but can and should be extended much further. Therefore, he’s continually “remembering the fan” and keeping the conversation going.
John serves as an impressive role model for the entertainment industry because he truly recognizes and values the investment that his fans make in him. He channels the energy they share with him back into his performance and every interaction with his audience. And, like any great, healthy relationship — what you put it into it, is what you get out of it.
Just one of the many important lessons currently being taught in Mr. Leguizamo’s classroom on Broadway is that, in their own way, fans can be just as integral to the success of a show as its star. A world where we recognize the value of both — is a world we can all be proud of… on and off the stage.
It’s no wonder Latin History for Morons, wherever it has been performed — in California, Off-Broadway, and now on Broadway, has been an incredible success.