Curtain Up: Alex Newell Opens Up About Going From ‘Glee’ To Broadway
He discusses his amazing role in the revival of 'Once On This Island.'
Former Glee star Alex Newell has gone from television to theater, as he is now in the starring role of Asaka, Mother of the Earth, in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island.
The show, which made its original debut on Broadway back in 1990, is a one-act musical that centers on a peasant girl named Ti Moune (Hailey Kilgore) who uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes. Alex’s role is one of the four island gods who helps Ti Moune on a remarkable journey to help her reunite with the man who has captured her heart.
The talented actor and singer, who recently received a Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Performance, sat down with OK! exclusively to discuss his part in this iconic show, as well as getting to work with legendary talent.
Tony Award nominee Michael Arden takes on the role as director in Once on This Island, about which Alex has nothing but good things to say. “It’s great. Michael is very open and he’s a brilliant conceptualist… the concept is there. He’s genius honestly.”
The cast features another legendary talent, Lea Salonga, which Alex has a hard time wrapping his head around. “I was just like… I’m never going to work with Lea Salonga… oh wait, ‘hey Lea how are you’? It’s stupid, she’s wonderful!” They also have a close relationship off stage, about which he said “I get text messages from Lea Salonga at 2 in the morning like ‘why are you still awake’?”
Alex is clearly committed to this role, as he revealed he did 113 shows straight, with no break! “I think I just kept going and I pushed through,” he revealed. “The hardest part of my show isn’t even my number, it’s doing the other singing because the original production was a 17-piece band under the pit, and now there’s 4 with the actors being every other instrument and just using their voice. So I’m always just singing for 90 minutes straight.” What a trooper!
He also discusses the one special person who he took the night off for, as well as being known as the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) for actually performing with bronchitis! Once on This Island is currently on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre. For more information, click here.
Host Wardrobe provided by GANT.
Watch the clip above! Are you excited to see Alex on Broadway? Sound off in the comments!