Alexandra Silber is an award winning performer who has successfully moved between theatre, film, and cabaret! In 1995, Alexandra attended her first summer at Interlochen Arts Camp in Northern Michigan, and continued to spend her summers studying there until 1999, when she traded beautiful summers for a full time high school performing arts education at the Interlochen Arts Academy; where she graduated in 2001 with the coveted and highly distinguished Young Artist Award. Alexandra performed such roles as "Amalia Balash" in "She Loves Me" and "Lucy" in "Snoopy! The Musical" (both alongside actor Michael Arden), "Annie Sullivan" in "The Miracle Worker," and "Rosalind" in "As You Like It." It was at Interlochen that Alexandra cultivated her love of musical theatre, and in 2001 was awarded a Level 1 Award for Spoken and Musical Theatre at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts A.R.T.S Week in Miami, Florida, and subsequently went on to become a Presidential Scholar of the Arts semi-finalist.
She began her formal conservatory training in October 2002 at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and majored in Acting where she performed in such productions as "The Cherry Orchard," "Metamorphoses," "Pericles," "Twelfth Night," "godeatgod," "The Balkans Are Not Dead," "Here Comes A Chopper," as well as the title role in "Electra," and as "Helen of Troy" in the highly acclaimed production of Howard Barker’s "The Bite of The Night." She graduated in 2005 with The Faculty Student of the Year award just days before her West End debut as "Laura Fairlie" in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "The Woman in White."
Alexandra then made her feature film debut in "Stephen King's 1408" starring John Cusack, before portraying "Hodel" in The Sheffield Crucible’s 2007 production of "Fiddler on the Roof" directed by Lindsay Posner, and revived her role in it’s subsequent West End transfer to tremendous critical acclaim.
She then joined "Fiddler on the Roof" director Lindsay Posner once again, portraying one of the deepest and most complex characters in the history of musical theatre: "Julie Jordan" in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "Carousel" at The Savoy Theatre in London’s West End. She once again received tremendous critical acclaim, and was awarded the TMA Award for Best Performance in a Musical, 2009. She recently completed a revival of her portrayal of "Julie Jordan" for Reprise Theatre Company in her birthplace of Los Angeles, California, (under the artistic directorship of Jason Alexander) which earned her a Los Angeles Ovation Award Nomination for "Best Lead Actress."
Last Spring, she joined Tony Award winner Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally’s "Master Class" at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, directed by celebrated director Stephen Wadsworth. "Master Class" was presented as a part of the Terrence McNally festival, Nights at the Opera; a celebration of McNally’s work based on operatic themes.
She also recently debuted her solo cabaret entitled “London Still” at legendary New York nightclub Feinstein’s at Loews Regency.
When Alexandra is not performing,, she can be found entertaining audiences through her blog "London Still." In her free time, Alexandra enjoys travel, cinema, visual art and peanut butter - but not necessarily in that order. She also has a fondness for red shoes, watermelon and all things badcrimedrama.
Alexandra can currently be seen in the Transport Group's new hit show "Hello Again" along with Elizabeth Stanley, Max Von Essen, Bob Stillman, Alan Campbell, Blake Daniel, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Johnathan Hammond, Rachel Bay Jones, and Robert Lenzi through April 3 at 52 Mercer Street, 4th Floor in NYC.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I don't have a very clean answer for this as an origin question. I always knew I was a creative artist, and always knew I would create professionally. Acting was going to be my most effective means of pursing that. But I have had a great many sources of inspiration in terms of creative mentors/muses/people who set the bar (author and visual artist Nick Bantock), teachers (David Montee and Robin Ellis from Interlochen Arts Academy, and Mark Saunders from (The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama), and too many gifted peers to name. In general, I am inspired by those who live their lives well and beautifully because it makes me want to contribute to the world.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? This is tough and I've been so so fortunate in the relatively brief time I have been working to work with so many greats. But I have three answers (sorry). I would love to be directed by Matthew Warchus and act opposite and/or sing with Audra McDonald (fellow Carouseller, Master Classer and oddly, birthday buddy whom I've never met) and just be in the presence of John Adams at work. I would be too shy and too inept to sing his music but I would love to watch it all happen.
3. What attracted you to "Hello Again"? What's not to be attracted to? ;) No but seriously I have always been an admirer of Michael John's gorgeous music and lyrics, as well as the play La Ronde (the source material that suggested Hello Again). I love ensemble pieces, I love the Transport Group and I feel I have a lot to "say" about The Young Wife. It is going to be a really exciting theatrical experience. You should, [*eh*]...come.
4. What do you get from photography, writing, and blogging that you don't get from acting? Acting is a creative skill and art, without question. But I often feel limited by two aspects of it. The first is that it is inherently a social art form. For better or for worse, very rarely can you act without others, and while there are times when it can be exhilarating, there are also times when it can frustrate, and at its very worst, really dishearten you. Secondly, it is at its essence an interpretive art-you are more often than not interpreting other people's words, music, stories, and as creative as it is there are limitations there.
Photography is also interpretive but a solo show--you are commenting upon the things you, your eye, your mind and heart sees in a single instant. I absolutely love visual language with all of its subtle possibilities, and love going on little photo walks just discovering what I can "see" in new ways. I always learn something.
Writing is the greatest creative joy for me. It is different because one can create from the ground up, and is in responsible for every aspect of its essence. You are the boss, you hold the standards, no one lets you down but your own self. I love that. You have to rise to the challenges as well as creating them. It is interpretive as well as a solo show as well as purely creative. Heaven. Heaven for me.
The satisfaction is also largely due to the fact that when I began writing in earnest it was purely for my own personal satisfaction. There was no other motive other than enjoyment and feeling excited about creation again. I started my blog London Still when I was in the middle of working on a very long run of Fiddler on the Roof in London and realized that I was less a performer (which I identify as a person who gains their major source of energy and satisfaction from performing in front of others) than a creative being (to whom the creative process, performance based or not, is the most rewarding) a huge light switch went off inside of me. There I was--24 and had everything I had ever worked my entire life to achieved and I was there. Living it and dissatisfied. I realized then that I could either mope and feel disappointed, or I could take my creative life into my own hands. I am a crazy reader and have always enjoyed writing and decided to go to blogspot and start writing about why raspberry jam is superior to all other forms of jam and comparing and contrasting Murder She Wrote to Diagnosis Murder. Before long, it was the main source of satisfaction in my creative life and lead to a wonderful literary agent finding, nurturing, and encouraging me to write my first novel which is swiftly on its way.
5. What's the best advice you've ever received? Leaving the stage door after a show is “Act 3” of your job. Ruthie Henshall said this to me when we were playing opposite one another in The Woman in White in The West End. It was my very first professional acting job and in my head I was still a student--showing up in grungy college clothing and not grasping the nature and privilege of my position or the accompanying responsibilities. Anyway, she's right. If you are going to be a performer, you have to accept that being gracious to those who take the time to thank you for your performance, to get your autograph, perhaps a photo; that those people are very generous and brave (I could never have done it myself!), and they deserve a piece of your attention. If you don't feel like it, too bad. It is as much a part of your job as Act 1 and Act 2. It is Act 3. She's a smart, beautiful and talented woman. And one of my very best friends.
You only have 100% of what you have today. Don’t beat yourself up, use what you have to be 100% truthful TODAY. Oh my goodness this is the best piece of acting advice I have ever been given. It was given to me by Lindsay Posner, a great director of plays, operas and musicals in the West End and I worked with him on both Fiddler on the Roof and Carousel. Within the given circumstances of the piece, and within the limitations of your character's breakdown, use what 100% of what you as an actor possess TODAY and your work will be constantly truthful. I think actors constantly fight a battle of attempting the "best ever 100%" version of their performance they ever gave in the history of ever and frankly, it is a trap that can make your work very strident and forced. Give all you have today, because that is all you can give.
If I could give anyone advice, I would suggest aiming for excellence instead of aiming for success. In my experience my work has always been my calling card far more than any networking I've ever done. But strive for excellence in your life too. Be an excellent friend, and excellent citizen. I find that when I aim for excellence, success usually follows.
6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? The shower. The theatrical productions that happen in my shower are really something....
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I'm a runner! I actually really enjoy exercise and love running outdoors and get very stubborn about going out in ridiculous weather. This summer, however, it was raining too hard. Undeterred, I still went out thinking "Pah! I lived in Scotland! This rain is drizzle compared to highland pelting! PAH! Nothing can prevent me!" Four seconds later was soaking wet and feeling The Crazy. This resulted in me doing a creepy 1991 Buns of Steel 3 video with 15 pound hand-weights. I am not joking-- not even 2 minutes into the video I slammed the two weights together in an act of ultimate clumsiness "obliterating" (says the emergency room doctor I waited three days to see) my middle finger. Did I wail and then finish the video? Yes. Did I wait three days to go to the doctor because "how bad can it be?!" Yes. Do I still have half a fingernail? Uh, yes. And that my friends is what comes from exercising. Fin. No but seriously I should probably just join a gym right?
8. Favorite skin care product? Bio Oil. Amazing.
9. Favorite website? I blog-stalk. How 21st century of me. I mean, how else are you supposed to know everything about someone before you pretend not to? So I love Poppy Talk, Orangette, Desperate Housediva, and My Owl Barn (because I love owls). But my favorite among the blogs out there in the ether world? Write this down. Or open a new internet tab or window or whatever. Prepare yourself: http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com. Okay so: It is owls. And I love owls. A lot. But these owls are hungover. It is pictures of owls that appear to be hungover. With snarky captions. It is hungover owls. HUNGOVER. OWLS. C'mon people that is something special.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? This is a lesser of two evils thing, but I suppose Wonder Woman. Schmeh. Let's be honest, both of these people wear their underpants OUTSIDE their clothing. But with Superman it is the little things. Something about what I assume him to be in real life just vexes me-- he seems to be the type of guy who stinks of hair product, constantly doing crunches, obsessive, with a man-of-constant-sorrow thing making endless trips to the fortress of solitude. Boring. All that being said I do like the idea of Clark Kent. But I'm a Batman girl myself. I like things a little dark.
11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I write amazing lyrics to television theme songs that don't have lyrics. The pseudo-80s rock version of Alias. The Phillip Glass-esque but possibly just vocalized theremin version of Lost. But then there is The West Wing Song. And okay. It's all a little embarrassing— I'll admit that. But I am telling you people: my made up theme songs are A.MA.ZING. They are clever and well-crafted and performed in full voice at 100. Here I have to give credit where it is due: it all began with The West Wing Song in Glasgow, sitting across the sofa from my then boyfriend Justin. It was a collaborative effort, really; a real labor of love. We watched all 6 seasons of The West Wing from start to finish (at the time there were only 6 to watch) and over time, together, we composed The West Wing Song. With harmonies. And different versions for each season.
Yep.…That is right. That is correct. You didn’t read a typo: The West Wing Song has a capital “S” because basically: It is famous. People KNOW it. I believe I was once introduced to someone and they replied “Ah! Al Silber—the composer of The West Wing Song” and I nodded and was outwardly very cool...but inside? Inside I was doing cartwheels because frankly it was the most famous I had ever felt and again— dammit, the song is something really special. Is The WWS essentially the names of the actors sung in alphabetical order shoved into the instrumental theme tune? --Sure.
Have I sung (with a little help from a glass of whiskey) The West Wing Song to people who have actually been on The West Wing? --You betcha.
Have I gone on to collaborate on theme songs to Alias, Lost, and one of my favorites, Star Trek: The Next Generation? --Hell yeah.
But The West Wing Song is the original and best and with very little encouragement…I will sing it for you too...
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? This is a slightly darker answer but my Dad. My father died of cancer when I had just turned 18 and every once in while he does show up in my dreams and we have incredible conversations as if nothing has happened at all. I wish it happened more often. There is a great deal of unutterable things I have learned from the experience of grief, but the most important one of all is that love keeps going. It really does.