Artists in Conversation is a weekly column running Wednesdays on QuadCities.com.

It features a conversation with a local creator or creators going Want To Learn More About Quad-Cities Creators? Welcome To Artists In Conversation!into their artistic process, projects and more. Get to know your local arts scene and local creators better on QuadCities.com with Artists In Conversation!

If you’re a local creator and would like to be featured, please email us at Sean@QuadCities.com or Tristan@QuadCities.com!

This week’s Artist In Conversation is Michael Alexander! He’s starring in “I And You” at Moline‘s Blackbox Theatre! “I and You” runs July 15 through 24. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $13 on Thursdays and $16 all other performances. Tickets are available online at theblackboxtheatre.com.

1.  Who is Michael Alexander? My name is Michael Alexander. I grew up in Bettendorf and I’ve been involved in the arts since high school. Acting and music have been my life passions Meet Michael Alexander of Black Box Theatre's 'I And You' In QuadCities.com's Artists In Conversationever since and they give my life more purpose and meaning than anything else. Nothing else comes close when considering what I want to do for a living.

2. You took a little bit of a hiatus from the art form (I mean, we all did in 2020) but what made you return?
It’s been nearly 3 years since my last role (a much too long hiatus). After my last role, I was focusing on saving money for my move to New York City. I made my move out there in January 2020, but I was only there for about a month and a half. My life took a bit of an unexpected turn (pre-covid) and I needed to put my plans in the Big Apple on hold. I’ve been back here in the QC since then and I’ve been eager to try and build my acting resume since live theatre has made its long awaited return. Lora Adams (one of the co-owners of The Black Box Theatre) reached out to me about trying out for this show and I immediately said yes. It’s been Meet Michael Alexander of Black Box Theatre's 'I And You' In QuadCities.com's Artists In Conversationso great to finally be back on a stage doing what I love.
3. Can you pin point a moment, a show, an actor (or all of the above) that made you want to be in the arts?
It’s kind of hard for me to pin-point one exact moment. I’ve had the acting bug ever since I was a little kid. I was exposed to a lot of cinema and that’s really where my love for the arts began. I grew up watching and learning from some of the all-time great actors on tv (which has, and still is, a big source of education for me in acting) and I thought “that’s what I want to do for a Meet Michael Alexander of Black Box Theatre's 'I And You' In QuadCities.com's Artists In Conversationliving.”
4. What’s one of your favorite local experiences and how did it impact you?
The previous show I did before this was Topdog/Underdog at the QC Theatre Workshop. The first-time experience of doing a two-person show (which is also what I and You is) was a challenging, rewarding one that I really think helped propel my growth as an artist. As being one of only two artists on a stage, you really learn how to keep your performance engaging during the entire duration of a show and you dive deep into script breakdowns, and characterizations among other things. The skills that I learned then, and with this performance as well, are ones that I can apply to future roles that I pursue, either big or small.
Meet Michael Alexander of Black Box Theatre's 'I And You' In QuadCities.com's Artists In Conversation5. Sort of stealing this from Ken Davenport – If the Genie from Aladdin granted you one dream role what would it be?
Aaron Burr in Hamilton
6. Top 5 Favorite Musicals:
  1. Hamilton
  2. Rent
  3. Singin’ in the Rain
  4. West Side Story
  5. The Book of Mormon

7. Top 5 Favorite Plays:

  1. Fences
  2. Topdog/Underdog
  3. Glengarry Glen Ross
  4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  5. A Streetcar Named Desire

Meet Michael Alexander of Black Box Theatre's 'I And You' In QuadCities.com's Artists In Conversation8. Top 5 Favorite Actors:

  1. Marlon Brando
  2. Robert De Niro
  3. Al Pacino
  4. Denzel Washington
  5. Sidney Poitier

9. What is your current project and why should we all see it? I and You is a show about two high school seniors who are brought together one day to work on a school project. This chance meeting between the two turns into much more than that however. The two begin to open themselves up to each other and they find that they need one another. It’s a beautiful story about the mystery of human connectedness and how much of an impact one person can have on another, which I think is something that a lot of us can relate to.

10. What’s next for you? This fall I will be packing my bags once again and venturing back out to New York City to pursue a career in acting. Wish me luck!
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Meet Michael Alexander of Black Box Theatre's 'I And You' In QuadCities.com's Artists In Conversation
Tristan Layne Tapscott has been dubbed the “Quad Cities’ P.T. Barnum” and although the person who initially said it meant it as an insult, he happily accepts the title.