NEW YORK – Mauricio Martínez: 5’11”at 54 Below
Mauricio Martinez, Mexican actor and singer, winner of an International Emmy, is one brilliant artist/performer.
The evening of his seventh year of performing at 54 Below, opened with videos, and out-takes of self-tapes of Martinez slating his name and height for auditions. Since COVID actors are now required to create their audition tapes to submit themselves instead of going into a room, live, to try out for a show. Most actors now have created a room or space or closet in their home that is set up with lights and sound recording to tape the audition. Actors are now producers, directors, sound technicians, and film editors.
During the intro video Martinez again and again slates his name and height, trying to get it right, trying to look calm, trying to present exactly what those who are casting are looking for (and no one ever knows what that is until they see it). The slates quickly fall into desperation, increasingly trying to be present and excited and, in doing so, growing in hilarity. This is a great intro to the light-hearted, creative beauty that is Martinez. We are bewitched from the beginning.
The video fades out, and a spotlight picks up Mauricio among us, headshot covering his face, microphone in hand, the actor, the singer, the person, coming from us and his fantastic four-piece band calls him to the stage with “All I Care About” from Chicago, which is set in the 1920s where the vocals of many singers had a predominant twang. Martinez captures that fabulous sound from a time gone by with ease and grace.
This is Martinez’s album release party for his first live album entitled Live in NY (recorded at 54 Below the previous year), and it is a PARTEE!!!! An evening of some of Broadway’s most timeless and illustrious shows and characters and a guest appearance by actress Ana Villafañe via video.
He creates dueling medleys of songs from both heroes and villains of Broadway, Don Quixote in Man Of LaMancha, and Lancelot in Camelot (singing with Ana Villafañe via screen). And dueling villains from Moulin Rouge, to Lion King, to Little Shop of Horrors, and Jekyll and Hyde. These songs are sung with spellbinding perfection.
The song of the evening that reached the furthest down into the depths of Mauricio was the song “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, which was dedicated to his mother. Phantom is a show that his mother emphatically adores and goes to every time she visits him in New York, having already watched the film at least a thousand times, he explained. He sang it in his native language, making it more heartfelt, alive, and layered with feelings that truly poured from him. What a pleasure to be in that room as he shared this part of his life with us.
Mauricio Martínez: 5’11” concluded with Justin Timberlake’s catchy, joyful, gotta dance “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” and oh yes, we HAVE “got that sunshine in our pockets” from an all too short of an evening with Martinez.
There is an encore
That lifts us even further
First, Man Of LaMancha’s iconic “The Impossible Dream” and its quest and striving journey to reach unreachable stars, which is what we all had been doing with Martinez.
And then the finale…
Martinez grabs what looks like a cardboard crown from some burger joint
Hamilton’s “You’ll Be Back”!!!!
The crowd on their feet!
I’ve made a discovery. Like an astronomer finding a new celestial body, I have found mine in Mauricio Martinez.
54 Below 254 West 54th Street, New York NY
Readers may also enjoy our reviews of “Six” Stars Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, and Samantha Pauly at Chelsea Table and Stage, There’s A Little Starch Left at Don’t Tell Mama, Encores! Once Upon a Mattress, Women on Fire: Fair is Foul, The Sweet Spot, and The Days of Wine and Roses.