Russell during table analysis of new play, OCCUPANTS by Mauricio Miranda, during the MFA Playwrights Workshop 2016 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

MFA Playwrights' Workshop 2016. Photos by Susan Shaffer

Russell Alexander II is an actor and singer completing his final year towards a BA in Theatre Arts from The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

A Selma, AL native, Russell grew up as the oldest of four and was very active at his church as a member of the St. Paul Methodist Church Youth Choir. At the age of 10, Russell relocated to Montgomery, AL where he started to sing in his school choir at Vaughn Road Elementary. Russell got his first taste of theatre during the Summer of 2006, when he was awarded a scholarship to participate in a week-long workshop at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival. While there, Russell participated in acting and costume-making workshops, and rehearsals, which at the end of the week, led to a final performance of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, where Russell performed the role of "Baptista".

 After leaving Vaughn Road, Russell moved on to Floyd Middle Magnet where he played the alto sax in the school band from 2006-2008, and afterwards, rejoined the choral music scene during his 9th grade year at McKee Junior High. Russell began to develop a passion for theatre arts during his years at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School (BTW), where he studied Musical Theatre Performance from 2009-2012. While at BTW, Russell was introduced to the Trumbauer and Thespian Festivals. It was through Trumbauer that Russell was recruited to UAB where he began his undergraduate studies.

During his time at UAB, Russell has been a part of numerous main stage productions, stage readings, and showcases as well as some of  UAB Theatre's Touring Companies where he served as a member of their Disney Cabaret Tour (2013-2014), and their Beatles Cabaret Tour (2014-2015). During the Fall of 2015, Russell joined UAB's Shakespeare Tour where he served as a performer in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as characters "Lysander" & "Oberon". Russell currently serves as the Shakespeare Tour's company manager, and can be seen in their 2016-2017 touring season as "Othello" in Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor of Venice.

Aside from his many productions with UAB, Russell has worked with both professional & summerstock companies such as Robin Givens' RSG & Company's 2014 touring production of Joy in the Morning; Red Mountain Theatre Company, of Birmingham's 2015 production of The Wiz; and The Huron Playhouse, of Huron, Ohio's summer-stock production of A Chorus Line. In February of 2016, Russell was awarded "Best Actor in a Main stage Production" for his work in Aaron Posner's Stupid Fucking Bird as Con. As a result of this award, Russell was invited to attend and work as an acting fellow in The John F. Kennedy Center's Annual Playwright's Workshop in July 2016.

Russell has just recently finished his last undergrad production with UAB appearing in UAB Theatre's production of The Real Inspector Hound as Simon Gascoyne. Russell is also pleased to be making his debut performance with Terrific New Theatre in their production of Bathsheba Doran's The Mysteries of Love & Sex as Jonny this March!

Russell is very excited to be graduating from UAB April 29, 2017!

 

Photographer: Susan Shaffer

Festival: MFA Playwright's Workshop hosted by the Kennedy Center Education Department and Stanford University’s National Center for New Plays.