From Frank Sinatra to Broadway Star
by Netza Jimenez
Mateo Lizcano is a senior vocal major who is currently attending Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA). He’s been in several productions at Sinatra, starring in The Phantom of the Opera as Raoul, and was cast in Hairspray and Rent. Mateo was also a finalist in the national competition, The Jimmy’s, which landed him a role as an understudy for Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway.
Due to the amount of time the job requires, Mateo had to leave the traditional school setting for rehearsals in late October 2021 to work full time on Dear Evan Hansen.
Mateo describes the experience as surreal.
“It’s always been my dream to be on Broadway, not specifically as Evan Hansen, but it’s great that I get to perform doing something that I love for work,” he said. “I’ve done a similar transition from school to work several times, but it’s still sorta difficult every time.”
Even though Mateo is living out his Broadway dreams, he still has to do school work.
“I sadly don’t get a break from school even when I’m on Broadway. I have a tutor who coordinates with all my teachers so I keep up with my work,” he added.
“I spend about three hours with my tutor before I go on to rehearsals so that I can get most of my work done before the rehearsals or shows begin. I have missed the school environment and all my friends though,” he adds.
Mateo has previously performed in the Musical Theater program at Frank Sinatra. Having performed in The Phantom of the Opera and then rehearsing for most of Hairspray, he gained a lot of experience through those two productions.
Having performed on Broadway and at FSSA, Mateo admits that FSSA productions have a high professional standard.
“I feel like you get a professional experience that you don’t typically get or expect many other spaces. That being so, the environment on Broadway is like another planet compared to Sinatra,” he said.
Mateo’s been sporadically back in the school building since early March. His schedule keeps him from coming into school sometimes, especially since he recently produced his own musical “A Story Night” that he wrote with another FSSA alumni, Ashley DiLorenzo. But when he gets the opportunity, he’s happy to be able to come to school during the day and go to the Music Box Theater to perform Dear Evan Hansen at night.
“It’s nice being back with people my own age and all of my friends. Being on Broadway for practically every day of the week is the experience of a lifetime, but Sinatra will always be a home to me,” he adds.