Spotlight: Alec Stephens III
Alec Stephens III is an actor, musician, singer, dancer, martial artist, podcast creator, and so much more. His journey as an artist has led him down a handful of different paths, resulting in many stories to be shared. We had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with him and left feeling inspired by his journey and excited to celebrate his accomplishments!
Alec grew up in Seattle and trained with the Seattle Children’s Theater. He took his equity card working at the prestigious 5th Avenue Theater and moved to New York.
The highs and lows of the industry have been an important part of Alec’s journey. After being on-hold for an Off-Broadway show shortly after arriving in NYC, his dreams fell short when the show went in a different direction. However, this moment led Alec towards the musician scene in Bushwick. He began developing a web-series about Brooklyn, in which his character was a musician. This gave Alec the confidence to dabble in the music scene in Bushwick. “Part of me always wanted to explore music but I didn’t know how,” he says. “New York is a place I think you can come to ... where you can pretty much do anything.”
The webseries development and music exploration led Alec to developing his own podcast called Bushwick Variety Show. He created the podcast to have conversations with different artists and to “help elevate other voices.” He says, “Both people can usually walk away more clear-eyed and focused or inspired. Sometimes you just think about something in a different way.”
As his passions took him down different paths, Alec found himself removed from acting for a few years. He says, “Because I was detached for a minute, I could recall some of my training with fresh eyes.” This allowed him to refocus his goals and become more disciplined with what he desired in his career.
Alec joined us on the dance floor most recently for our Motivated Mover Call, a two hour mock-audition workshop. “I tend to shut down part of my brain that can learn choreography in auditions,” he says. “I’ll be fine but once we get past 16 counts, one little thing will throw me off.” The feedback he received in class was to simply enjoy moving and to share that joy. Alec was then able to apply the feedback he received to a movement callback. “There was a dance call. I got called back for a specific role— Kona, one of the leaders of the tribe. They know I’m a mover-dancer. They didn’t have me go to the dance call, but at my callback they had me move, which is intimidating in a whole other way! So instead of clamming up or getting in my head, I moved. I enjoyed moving and had fun. And when I left I didn’t feel necessarily like I nailed it, but then I got the email I think that night that I got the role. And its really exciting. It’s challenging— It’s physically challenging, but I think it’s one of those things that its an opportunity to show up and be part of something.”
The show, called “125th and Freedom,” is a 5-hour site-specific piece taking place in Harlem this June. “I’m really excited about ‘125th’ because it means something,” he says. “It’s important. I know why they’re doing it. It’s very empowering to be in an all black cast.”
This summer, Alec will celebrate 11 years in NYC. Through all of the ups and downs of his journey, he says, “The mantra I’ve tried to have ... and I have to remind myself sometimes ... It is a process, and you have to fall in love with the entire process. If you think of it more as a process ... then I think as a byproduct you do better auditions, and you’re less likely to burn yourself out because you’re prioritizing auditioning for the right things that speak to you.”
“The other trap is when you’re feeling discouraged and so you get jealous of someone else getting something, when really the truth is it’s not like we’re playing a sport and one of us can score and the other can’t. One might get the role over the other, but you’re not really competing with anyone else. You’re never gonna be able to play the role the way they can. Keep working, keep getting better, and celebrate our fellow actors. Especially if they’re friends!”