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Community director dreams of Broadway

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Josh Alexander, a Morrison Community Director and a native of Chapel Hill, recently auditioned for a role in a Broadway show.

On Jan. 11, Josh Alexander found his lifelong dream hanging on eight words:

“Withersoever they blow, onward to glory I go.”

Taken from “Man of La Mancha,” part of a musical by the same name, Alexander sung those eight words in an audition for a Broadway musical.

The community director for Morrison Community and a Chapel Hill native, Alexander has always been interested in performing.

“I distinctly remember being 5 years old and wanting to move to New York to be on Broadway,” Alexander said.

“My first solo was in kindergarten — I sang ‘All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.’”

After that, he was hooked.

In high school, Alexander said he performed more often in musicals because he was less gifted in acting than singing.

As a student at UNC-Greensboro, Alexander continued performing until his junior year, when he developed a performance anxiety that would affect him over the course of the next six years.

“It got to the point where, in August, I signed up for a 30-minute recital for April and couldn’t sleep at night because I was so anxious about the recital that was eight months away,” Alexander said.

The anxiety led him to put his performing life on hold.

In 2008, Alexander returned to Chapel Hill after spending time in South Carolina and Washington state.

In 2009, Alexander found out Company Carolina was doing a production of “RENT.”

“I was really bummed out because I thought only students could be in it,” he said.

Jackie Willis, a second-year resident adviser in Morrison, told Alexander the play was open to anyone — not just students.

“I had signed up for the company during FallFest, so they sent me e-mails,” Willis said in an e-mail. “So I just went to their site and found out they were looking for all types of people, not just students.”

And with that, Alexander returned to performing.

“Moving back here, I got a good grasp on everything,” he said. “I got to a healthy place mentally, physically and emotionally and I realized that I was born to be a performer and that’s what I wanted to do.”

His renewed confidence in performing combined with support from his partner, Mike Conway, proved to be the push Alexander needed to pursue his dream.

“I very bluntly told him ‘Josh, you know I’d support you, but to be honest, you’ve been talking about it for the last year, and haven’t done one thing about it,” Conway said.

Within three days, Alexander had booked a flight.

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“That’s what I needed to hear,” Alexander said. “If you challenge me to do something, I’m going to do it.”

In New York, Alexander auditioned for an ensemble role in Beauty and the Beast

“When it was my turn to go in, I opened the door a little too hard and it flew open and hit the wall,” Alexander said. “I think all the comic relief leading up to it took away my nervousness.”

Alexander sang his eight words.

“I was completely mortified and embarrassed, but then the music started, and I sang, and it was the best eight bars I’ve ever sung in my life,” he said.

Now back in Chapel Hill, he said he has been looking for more opportunities to audition and perform. He plans to move to New York City this summer.

Alexander said he hasn’t heard back since the audition, but that he was mainly auditioning to know what to expect in the future. He said he is proud that he did it.

“For seven years of my life I’ve been in a career where I’ve been helping students find their path in life,” he said.

“I tell them, ‘Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something you want to do. Don’t let a dream die.’ I’ve ignored my own dream too long. It’s time to take my own advice.”

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.