Known as Wade “Unique” Adams on FOX’s “Glee,” Alex Newell has gone from being a regular high school student to playing a regular high school student on a show that’s anything but regular.
Newell is taking some time off after a busy Pride season of appearances to perform at this weekend’s Help Is On the Way AIDS Benefit Concert and Gala in San Francisco.
As he prepares for the show, Newell sat down with 429Magazine to discuss career highlights, goals, and advice for LGBT youth.
As a natural performer, Newell has always expressed himself and his passions through theatre, with roots in music. “What wasn’t I drawn to?” he says excitedly. “I mean, the costumes, the lights, the music, the dancing, it was all something that I LIVED for—and the cute chorus boys!”
Aspiring to be on Broadway, he participated in shows in and out of school, swinging through a plethora of styles spanning opera, jazz, a capella, chamber, and modern.
“I had to stay busy and gain as much experience as I could because I always knew that it was a competitive world—tens of thousands of people just like me all trying to achieve the same dream.”
In Lynn, Massachusetts, Newell first found his voice. It was there, in church, where his father was deacon and his mother ran the choir, where he decided he wanted to sing.
“It made me happy, and it made the people around me happy as well, and it was one of those things that you know in your heart you were meant to do.”
Fast-forward years later and Newell has pirouetted and pitched his way to becoming a cast member of the most famous media production to feature singing, dancing, acting teens since “Fame.” He describes it as “a dream come true.” With an undeniable love for the stage, he says the experience is about “getting to do a show every day and sing and dance and all that jazz and to spread a message to everyone!”
He says the highlight of his career thus far has been singing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” “It’s one of those iconic songs, and I always wanted to sing it on the show – and it came true and I was beyond thrilled.”
But after landing such a role so young (he will be turning 21 on August 20th), Newell has plenty more highlights ahead of him. His next goal? To someday play the part of Effie in “Dreamgirls.”
“Never give up,” he says. “One of the things I’ve learned is that you have to work for all that you get and nothing in life is handed to you. You also can’t let what people say about you get you down. And, you have to take an opportunity when it comes knocking because experience will teach you.”