Yes he’s Puerto Rican.
Even though Alex was born on the North side of Chicago,
both of his parents were born in Puerto Rico. In Chicago,
Alex grew up in Humboldt Park, which is primarily a Puerto
Rican neighborhood. This made life very interesting for the
blond haired green eyed kid, who spoke broken English with
a Spanish accent. Every summer Alex lived with his grand
parents on their farm in Cuomo PR. and learned the fine
art of milking cows, picking mangoes, and side stepping
The Windy City
As a city boy, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and the Jackson five
were his heroes. Alex was sure that he would grow up to be
the next star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. With his
parents divorced and his mother remarried, the suburb of
Schaumburg became his new playground. It was there that
Alex discovered the joys of performing in a choir and
playing sports. Wrestling, cross country, gymnastics,
football and baseball became his passion until he
discovered the one thing that stirred his soul was singing.
Theater beckoned in high school and he never looked back.
Alex never intended to be a dancer, until he walked into the
wrong audition for Marriott’s Great America theme park.
Thinking that he was auditioning for the singers show, he
actually auditioned for the dancer show. Somehow he was
able to pick up the combination and fool everyone into
thinking that he could dance and got the job. At 17 making
250.00 a week to perform 30 shows a week, Alex felt like
he was on top of the world.
Lets get serious.
After dealing with severe burns on his body from an
apartment fire, Alex decided to forego his vocal scholarship
at Illinois State University and stay home to do skin
rehabilitation treatment. Taking the advice of a friend, as a
way to distract from the treatment, Alex signed up for adult
dance classes at Lou Conte Dance Studio, the home of
Hubbard Street Dance Company. It was in the adult Jazz
classes that Alex was discovered by Lou Conte and was
offered a full scholarship at the school. Taking three
classes a day six days a week was a new challenge for him
especially because he had to live on his own. When he
wasn't dancing he was delivering pizza for Domino's,
pharmaceutical drugs for Weathersfield drug store, and
making pizzas for Edwardo's Pizza. He also discovered a
passion for Ballet and auditioned for Chicago’s premier
ballet school, The Ruth Page Foundation. Having received a
scholarship, Alex trained there for two years while
performing in live industrials and children’s theater.
You mean, I have to wear tights on stage?
At the end of his second year at the Ruth Page Foundation,
Alex was offered a position with Ballet Chicago. He began to
perform a great deal of Balanchine Ballets. He was honored
to have performed and worked with David Parsons, Lisa De
Ribaire, Gordon Schmidt, Gerard Charles, Dan Duell and
Larry Long, to name a few. During his layoffs from the
company, summer stock musicals was the name of the
game. West Side Story, and A Chorus Line were primarily
the shows that kept him employed. Then came the Red
Shoes, a musical adaptation of the film of the same name.
They needed ballet dancers who could sing, so when Alex
found out there was an invited call for an understudy
position, he called Hughes Moss Casting and lied to them
by saying that the dance supervisor wants to see him at the
call. The gamble paid off, he got the audition and soon
after got the job. Broadway here I come.
New York New York a hell of a town.
Even though The Red Shoes closed faster than the MTA
subway doors, New York and Broadway became his life.
Whether it was performing naked in Love! Valor!
Compassion! or flipping a derby in Fosse’s Steam Heat, life
on Broadway was always exciting. It was in a Broadway show
where Alex met his wife Lainie Sakakura and it was during
Wonderful Town, in New York, where his first daughter
Avelina was born. After 11 Broadway shows and two Gypsy
Robe honors, Alex and his family moved to California for
three years but he still kept yearning to come back to his
adopted city. Now with a second daughter Isabela, the
whole family is back in town, ready to resume where they
left off and are loving every minute of it.