The first time I saw On Your Feet! I knew there was a certain magic they had harnessed. It was radiating from everyone who graced the Marquis stage. I’m so grateful to feature another member of their evolving cast, Mauricio, who is one of the most warm, positive people I’ve met on Broadway. I definitely teared up reading a few excerpts of his interview; it’s incredibly inspiring to see someone working hard for their dreams and aligning with them in way that’s so perfect. GO GO GO see this beautiful show and this beautiful human in On Your Feet! We only have a few weeks to catch this magic, and I plan on going a few more times to soak it up. Thank you, Mauricio, for sharing so eloquently what it means to be FIT FOR BROADWAY!
NOTE FROM MAURICIO: Hi, my name is Mauricio Martínez, I’m a Mexican actor & singer and I’m making my Broadway debut playing ‘Emilio Estefan’ in “On Your Feet!” this summer before taking the show on the road across the US! I’ve loved Broadway for a long time…and I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of this amazing community of artists. I love sports, dancing, cooking, traveling and spending time with my loved ones. Blessed to be doing what I love in my favorite city in the world!
Q: Can we start from the beginning… What’s been your journey to Broadway?
A: Wow! It’s been a long and, I think, very peculiar one. Growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, my mom would play me movie musicals like ‘Grease’ and I was blown away by performers like John Travolta. I wanted to do just that: sing and dance and be cool like him! I had no idea that most of these movies I was so in love with came from the theatre and from a place called Broadway. When I discovered that years later growing up, my love affair with the Great White Way began. When I turned 18 I decided it was time for me to leave Mexico and pursue my dreams of studying theatre in New York and make it to Broadway. I found the school: The American Musical And Dramatic Academy, I auditioned, I was accepted, I got a scholarship…and a few months later I moved here and that’s where it all started. Life, however, took me back to Mexico City where my professional career took off and I had the chance to star in many Broadway Musicals in Spanish like “Beauty & The Beast”, “Saturday Night Fever” (my dream of being Travolta came true!), “JesusChrist Superstar”, and more. It wasn’t until last year, in the summer of 2016, when I returned to NY to star in ‘Children Of Salt’, the first Mexican Musical to play Off Broadway at the New York Musical Festival, that my connection to NY & my dreams of being on Broadway came back with such force that here I am, a year later, starring in my very first Broadway musical. It couldn’t have happened at a better time!
Q: How have health and fitness been a part of your journey as a performer?
A: Health is extremely important to me because without it, I wouldn’t be here today. I’ve really learned how to take care of my body over the years, eat healthy, sleep in my hours…it’s SO important to be able to do 8 shows a week! I remember I was so young when I played ‘Tony Manero’ in Mexico…and I did the show (Saturday Night Fever) at night and taped telenovela during the day! And I also did concerts! It was crazy! If fitness didn’t also play an important part in my life, I don’t think I could’ve done that or most of the parts I played. I mean, playing ‘The Beast’ (In Disney’s Beauty & The Beast) for over a year can really take a toll on your body if you don’t take good care of it, you know? That’s why I love working out, going out for a run, doing yoga, Pilates, stretching…taking dance class. It’s part of who I am. I go crazy if I don’t exercise at least 5 or 6 days a week! And I’ve always, always been a healthy eater! My brother calls me “granola boy”. It’s helped me be in shape and be ready for the roles I’ve played, though! So I’ll take “granola boy”.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for vocal health?
- Sleep at least 8 hours.
- Drink lots of water.
- Warm up. Vocalize.
Q: Any other holistic practices to stay #BalancedOnBroadway?
A: My schedule has been so hectic this past month with rehearsals & performances of the show, press for both ‘On Your Feet’ and the TV show I star in later this month (‘El Vato’ for NBC Universo, second season premieres August 27th) visitors, family, moving to New York and getting ready for the tour that I do practice yoga and I try to meditate as much as I can and when I can find the time. I’ve been doing it in my dressing room, an hour before the show, I just close my door, light up a candle and start stretching, breathing and doing some yoga poses as I start warming up. And it really does help. It takes my mind off of where it doesn’t need to be and helps me concentrate & release tension. It gives me balance.
Q: How important is it for you to have a support system around you for the ups and downs that come with being an artist?
A: Extremely important. It’s the basis of a healthy life…and career. I’m lucky to have one here, since I haven’t lived in NY in almost 20 years, and to have my family and friends in Mexico only a phone call away. Gotta love technology. Talking to my mom or to my best friend for 20 minutes makes the difference. It’s important. Family & friends make me feel at home.
Q: Fill in the blanks…
A: The best part of working on Broadway is…. Just reading the question makes me smile. I mean, it’s Broadway. Walking to the the theatre, walking by other theaters…and knowing that I’m going to work…on a show, on Broadway…it’s pretty cool. It’s a beautiful feeling. That little kid from Mexico is smiling a lot these days, you know? I’m making his dreams come true!
Q: The most challenging part of working on Broadway is…
A: Being ready for matinées. The adrenaline high I get from doing a show doesn’t leave my body right away. I need to unwind. So going home and forcing myself to go to bed so I can wake up early the next day to do two shows but, especially, the matinee, requires discipline. And there’s two ‘2 show days’ weekly here. It’s a challenge. But I love it!
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: Talent turns me on. Great performances inspire me. And stories of survival. I admire artists that remain humble even after success has come into their lives. Looking at an older person’s eyes and talking to them, sharing stories with them, that inspires me, too.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: Never give up if that’s what you really want. It’s not going to be easy. Or maybe it will, who knows? Everyone has their own path. But whatever you do, never stop training and really fall in love with the craft. Become a professional. Love the stage. Love the theatre. Do the work. Respect everybody that does this for a living. And learn from them. There’s a reason why in theatre the cast is called a ‘company’. You’ll be in the company of these artists a long time. Make the most out of it!
Q: BROADWAY INSPIRES ME TO BE: GRATEFUL & PROUD. (And why) 🙂
A: I’ve shared part of my story and, as you can see, nothing has been handed to me. I’ve had to work really hard -and I will continue to do so- to be here, starring in my first Broadway musical. I am GRATEFUL because I know that it doesn’t really happen to everyone. So I’m lucky. I’m living my dream and for that, I’m grateful. And also PROUD. During these times, to be a Mexican actor working in New York, and getting the chance to say such powerful words like the ones I get to say as ‘Emilio Estefan’ in “On Your Feet!” and to play an immigrant that came to this beautiful country with dreams of making it…I mean, it just fills my heart with joy, gratitude and pride. And to be doing it on Broadway which, to me, is equivalent to talent, quality, diversity, inclusion, passion & inspiration…makes it even more special.