Former Little Theatre performer has made it big

Alex Newell became a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community on Sunday. Broadway’s “Shucked” star became the first nonbinary person to win a Tony Award as they were selected as best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical. The Lynn native’s hometown has every reason to be proud of the history Newell has made.

Before making it big, Marblehead served as a platform for Newell to work on their acting craft growing up.

Started by the Marblehead Woman’s Club Drama Committee in 1956, Marblehead Little Theatre has been entertaining its community for decades as one of the oldest continually-operating community theaters in New England. MLT President Julie Menard first worked with Newell when both were cast members of “Once on This Island” in 2009. She and several others from the theater reached out to Newell when they won the Tony.

Menard said she saw something special in Newell from the very beginning.

“When they opened their mouth this incredible sound came out,” Menard reminisced. “When it was their turn to audition and they started singing, all I could think of was ‘maybe I should go home. They’re just gonna play every role in the show.’”

Menard said MLT has received a lot of interest from locals who want to hear about Newell’s background at the theater.

“We’re happy to celebrate Alex personally and publicly,” Menard said. “We’re all so happy for them. I cannot think of a person who is more deserving.”

Menard explained that the theater has always striven to give people a platform to be themselves and find their talent. However, she emphasized that the focus should be primarily on Newell, not on MLT.

“It’s not about Marblehead Little Theatre. It’s about being so happy and excited that we have a tiny part of Alex’s story that is really just beginning.”