Those Who Have Found Me
By: Iris Wiener
July 18, 2024: “If I keep coming back here I may make myself an A-list celebrity,” joked Mateo Lizcano as he returned to 54 Below with his second solo show on Thursday, January 11th. One can only hope that his sentiment foreshadows what’s to come, as the concept and talent behind his set were remarkably refreshing and heartwarming.
After a sold-out solo debut with Sincerely, Mateo, the Dear Evan Hansen and Kimberly Akimbo vet decided to take an introspective look at how he has gotten to what is clearly the tremendous beginning of a burgeoning career on Broadway. In Those Who Have Found Me, Lizcano shifted the focus to the artists, teachers, and mentors who have played a pivotal role in shaping his life and career. His gratitude was so enveloping that he invited those individuals to share the stage with him for duets and group numbers that spanned across multiple genres that spoke to his endearing story.
Lizcano shone most significantly as he interviewed his guests about their passion for theatre and how they continue to find talented individuals to nurture on their journeys. The evening began with Kimberly Larkin, founder and camp director of The Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in Music’s Musical Theater Summer Workshop, and Yale Langworthy, Lizcano’s castmate in Trevor the Musical. Together they set the tone for the evening with an empowering pop treat by Gracie and Clyde Lawrence, “Don’t Lose Sight.”
Larkin and Lizcano’s beautiful rendition of The Greatest Showman’s “A Million Dreams” was breathtaking in its sincerity and original tone. Their energy made it feel as if it were the first time the song was being heard. Lizcano then credited vocal coach Dan Thaler (Matt Farnsworth Voice Studio and founder of Dan Thaler Voice Studio) with making it possible for him to play Evan Hansen on two-show days, before launching into Sting’s “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot.”
The young singer (with eyebrows so expressive they should be trademarked) continued to reflect on obstacles with his take on Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon’s “That’s Life,” which he performed after ruminating on throat-related health issues. He was joined by Jamie Cacciola-Price, his Drama and Musical Theater teacher at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, for Smash’s “Let Me Be Your Star,” a vehicle that most adeptly showcased Lizcano’s vocal chops and playful nature. His duet with Langworthy on a song from Bare was impeccably natural and sounded as though the pair had been performing for years.
Ahead of performing a duet on “I Remember Yesterday,” a song by Andrew David Soto Mayor (a writer from the Latine Theater Lab) with founder Ryan Morales-Green, Lizcano tore down 54 Below with Marc Anthony’s “Contra La Corriente,” a Spanish-language pop hit that shone a light into his soul. The surprise his audience felt was palpable when he revealed that he does not actually speak Spanish.
The evening would not have felt complete without Lizcano’s powerful take on “You Will Be Found,” which he smartly combined with Hamilton’s “The Story of Tonight.” Joined by the full company of mentors, teachers, and friends, it took on incredibly special meaning for the burgeoning performer. “I felt like an outcast growing up,” said Lizcano. “All the people here tonight took a chance on this weird kid. What you think makes you odd actually makes you strong and unique.”–