To kick off the month of February, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, what is essentially, a love letter to John Leguizamo. In a Vanity Fair piece titled “How John Leguizamo Taught Lin-Manuel Miranda to Embrace Being ‘Young, Gifted, and Latino,” the Broadway veteran described how John opened a world of possibility for him.
“Spic-o-Rama hit me (and generation of future Latino writers) like a thunderbolt. As an erstwhile theater kid whose knowledge of it was strictly confined to traditional musicals such as Oklahoma! and Fiddler on the Roof, witnessing a Latino actor write and star in his own show, reveling in the specificities of our culture with brilliant, razor-sharp wit and a uniquely hip-hope energy, exploded my every notion of what theater could be.”
When Leguizamo’s career blew up following his one-man show, Miranda followed and cheered him on through Carlito’s Way, Romeo and Juliet, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Though, it seems that Miranda prefers to watch Leguizamo on the stage. “Because we watched him play everybody in the beginning, we knew simply one role would never be enough,” he wrote.
As Leguizamo heads back to the theater for his latest venture, Latin History for Dummies, he’ll tackle the marginalization of Latinos in United States history. He’ll also once again return to his roots – to the reason that many, like Lin-Manuel, first became fans.
In the past, Miranda hasn’t shied away from lavishing praise on the trailblazing Leguizamo. As a matter of fact, a year ago, he spoke to Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton on BuzzFeed’s Another Round podcast and explained the life-changing role the Colombian actor played in his life. “The one that was big deal for me also was John Leguizamo,” he said. “When he started doing his one-man shows, I remember taping Mambo Mouth and taping Spic-O-Rama. I memorized Spic-O-Rama off my VHS cassette, and this guy who was just, he played all the parts and he wrote on his own show where he got to play all these parts. That was a huge deal.”
Through the years, Miranda’s Twitter account has echoed these sentiments. Going back to 2011, the Hamilton creator has complimented Leguizamo’s work on several occasions. (And Leguizamo has reciprocated the love with his own flattering messages about Lin-Manuel.)
Following the release of the Vanity Fair article, Leguizamo hit up Lin on Twitter and thanked him for the touching piece. Check out the entire article here.