“You motherfuckers ain’t never gonna believe this shit.” With the promise of some really good dirt, so begins the history of Latin people, from the conquistadors to the Spanglish-spewing, roof-blowing homeboy John Leguizamo. The actor and showman gyrates, bounces, spins, struts, poses, and humps his way through past relationships in Sexaholix . . . A Love Story (Royale Theatre), his latest one-man ode to family, ex-girlfriends, meaningless sex, and finding the perfect soul mate. It’s nasty, deep, raw, and a bit ghetto—and it’s on Broadway.
Once again, Leguizamo invites the usual thick-accented voices in his head to join him on a bare, well-lit stage. His lesbian aunt sheds wisdom on women (“Just check the oil and ring the bell”). His recently deceased grandfather, who resembles an anus after losing his teeth, advises from his coffin, “Death is life’s way of saying, ‘Slow down, you’ve done too much.’ ” His alcohol-swigging dad, an expert on failed relationships, shares a few twisted theories (“With women you have to be manly but show your feminine side. . . . You have to be schizophrenic”).
Leguizamo creates exaggerated characters, using facial expressions, body language, vocal mannerisms, and hip shaking, all of which vibrates under Peter Askin’s tight direction. You may even recognize some of the people from your own dysfunctional family album—you just wouldn’t admit to it as openly and rhythmically.
Act II begins with salsa blaring from the speakers and Leguizamo dancing in the aisle with a female audience member. We hear about his marriage and subsequent divorce (“The last of the sexaholics joined the alcoholics”) and his final realization of true love (“I must be kinky—I can’t get it up unless you treat me like shit”).
Yet behind all the raunch are glimpses of tenderness and emotion. Now a father of two and happily unmarried, the 37-year-old seems to have come full circle, having exorcised all sorts of demons in previous solo shows Mambo-Mouth and Spic-O-Rama, and accepted himself as a Freak.
But just when he’s getting sentimental, Leguizamo takes back the reins. The true moment of clarity comes with the birth of his first child. Pretending to hold the newborn in his arms, he says, “I realized that no matter what I did, I was gonna mess her up.” Long live the family tradition.