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July 28, 1989 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-28

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68

FRIDAY, JULY 28, 1989

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626.2630

IRE FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE

Special to The Jewish News

ason Alexander has
the world at his feet.
"Funny," he says of
the praise he has been getting
as a dancer, "I'm an actor. I
don't consider myself a
dancer. And here I am in this
big Broadway dance musical."
This "big Broadway
musical" is Jerome Robbins'
Broadway, and Alexander
lands feet first in a cast
of 62 in a show spanning
choreographer Robbins'
20-year-contribution to the
American musical theater.
In a career choreographed
for success, Alexander is
making all the right moves.
He has been hailed as Alex-
ander the great for his work
as host/narrator/performer in
this amalgam of Robbins'
work.
Alexander is used to keep-
ing crowds on their toes even
as he dances in numbers
ranging from A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the
Forum to Fiddler on the Roof
to High Button Shoes.
As a youngster, he recalls
with a smile, he certainly had
his own ideas of who had star
power: William Shatner of
television's "Star Trek."
"I was a 'Star Trek' nut,"
says Alexander. "I admired
William Shatner. I wanted to
be Capt. Kirk."
The trek to stardom that
started out in Livingston,
N.J., where Alexander was
once known as Jay
Greenspan, has landed him
on Broadway as a probable
rIbny Award nominee.
Broadway has played a

j

special role in Alexander's life
all along. Heading for
Manhattan from his subur-
ban home, the teenaged Alex-
ander tried to take in all the
shows. "You name it, I saw it,"
he says.
But nothing, he adds, made
quite the impression as Pip-
pin. "I was into magic," Alex-
ander remembers of the
musical that starred Ben
Vereen in a role that pulled a
Tony Award out of its hat.
It also pulled Alexander
closer to theater. "I loved the
score," recalls Alexander. "It
was rock, but it didn't in-
timidate me. Now, Hair —
there was a rock musical that
intimidated me."
Alexander doesn't scare so
easily anymore — except,
sometimes, when he's on
stage. "I have terrible stage
fright," he admits. "When I
did Broadway Bound, the
first night I got up on stage,
I thought I'd die if I didn't get
off."
It wasn't just opening night
jitters; the experience shook
him for the 10 months he
starred as Jonathan Silver-
man's older brother in Neil
Simon's autobiographical
comedy hit of growing up
Jewish.
"For 300 performances I
thought, 'What am I doing
here?' I was in cold sweats,"
says the actor.
Alexander doesn't sweat
Jerome Robbin's Broadway,
however. "That's because I ad-
dress the audience. I break
the fourth wall of theater," he
says.
Breaking through that
fourth wall — represented by
the audience — was a major
breakthrough in Alexander's

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