You would hear him before seeing him, his black-gospel voice running scales and arpeggios, echoing in the tunnel behind his alma mater’s auditorium.
It was there, in Presentation College, San Fernando, that he discovered his love for performance and made the decision to dedicate his life to it.
Now, he is a signed artist of the Harlem theatre company, Forecast Productions.
At Presentation College, Alexander was a “choir boy”, one of those strange creatures who opted to spend time stretching his vocal chords at lunch time instead of a “football sweat”. Through choir, he performed in the school’s annual musical productions.
In his second time acting in Children of Eden with the Mixed Choir he unearthed his desire to perform, buried deep under years of being encouraged to pursue law, engineering, or medicine - the hallowed trinity of careers that “prestige school” students are expected to pursue.
In 2008, when Denith McNicholls put on a talent show at the school, Alexander and a group of friends formed a dance group called The Gentlemen to participate. Thus, he found the third talent that completes the circle of his theatrical capacities - song, acting, and finally, dance.
“It was a different way of expressing myself,” Alexander said.
“I always used to express myself through song and while singing will always be a passion for me, dancing allowed another outlet of creative expression that I had but never pursued because I have never had the opportunity to when I was younger.” Dancing with The Gentlemen saw Alexander competing in the b-mobile Dance Off competition in 2009, which forced the group to expand beyond their hip-hop foundations into the unfamiliar territory of Indian and African folk dance. This lead him to join the Charlene Harris’ Dance Academy where he developed more intricate dance techniques.
After graduating, Alexander reluctantly worked in a bank for 18 months before flying to the US to study at AMDA. He spent long hours rehearsing after work for two musical productions - Hairspray and Crazy for You, by Must Come See Productions.
He played the lead character of Bobby Child in Crazy for You. Child’s backstory was curiously identical to Alexander’s at the time. Child was a young boy with a passion for dance that was being stifled by his family’s pressure to take over the family bank. “It was just a coincidence,” Alexander chuckled as he reminisced on the role.
He praised his mother for always supporting him, but admitted that she did try nudging him towards somewhat safer career paths like law, medicine or engineering.
Her advice held weight, however, as Alexander said that acting gigs in TT were hard to come by. “Sometimes there are six-month spans between productions.
Finding a job in performance is like digging for gold.” He decided, then, to take himself to another level and applied to the AMDA in 2013.
The application process include a live audition in New York.
He described his year-long experience at AMDA as extremely intensive, classes starting from 8 am through to the night. The intensive class times were demanding, but meant to be an incubator for talent. “It was a lot of slowing down, nitpicking, and then building it back up because the first year is about crafting you as a performer. They want to make sure that when you leave the school, you are a finished product and ready for professional work.” As a result, his theatrical talent was recognised by Forecast Productions which signed him after he performed at AMDA’s international student showcase in Harlem at the Poet Den’s Theater where he featured as a soloist, opening the first and second halves of the show.
His performance was so well-received that he was hired by the Fireside Dinner Theater of Wisconsin and went on to perform in productions led by Broadway giants, such as the musical Chicago.
Alexander acted as Harrison, the play’s passionate prosecutor who sought the death penalty for an actress whose lofty aspirations led to her murdering someone who used her for sex with the promise of stardom.
Alexander participated in other productions like Westside Story, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Jukebox, based on the playwright’s Twelfth Night.
Still signed to Forecast Productions, Alexander plans to return to New York soon to continue performing.
“I want to go back to the US because lessons learned in NY would do well to help with what I want to study. When I return to TT , I’d be able to bring the lessons back to bolster the community in TT .”