In a moment on the stage in Randolph Hall, Alex Kramer '09 found exactly what he was meant to do. Not just a performing artist, he participated in wide variety of activities during his time at St. Anne's-Belfield School, serving as class president, a violinist in the orchestra, and an athlete on the baseball, tennis, and soccer teams. However, it was on that stage that everything became clear.
"Mrs. Fisher's leap of faith in casting me as Buddy Layman in The Diviners in ninth grade was a major point for me," Kramer said. "Never before or since have I felt more like I was doing exactly what I was meant to do. Without a doubt, that production changed the course of my life." Noting that the character consumed him entirely, he said the experience revealed his future path.
"I knew that this was what I had to do with the rest of my life. I have never been able to shake that feeling and I haven't stopped my pursuit of an acting career in the ten years since."
It's a goal that was not obvious at the outset. Kramer says that his parents won't admit they "almost forced him to act." After being encouraged to try out for the Upper School production of The Miracle Worker as a sixth grade student, Kramer almost skipped the audition, planning to tell his parents he hadn't made the cut. Overcoming his fears, he auditioned and was cast, and the rest was history.
He performed in nearly every play he could thereafter, including As You Like It and Fiddler on the Roof while still in middle school. From a lengthy list of Upper School productions, Kramer cited turns as Danny Zuko in Grease, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Ali Hakim in Oklahomaas highlights.
Kramer went on to study and perform as a theatre studies major at Yale, graduating in 2013. After spending the summer working at a fine arts camp in Sitka, Ala., he moved to New York and began the process to break into show business. While the particulars of his pursuit have taken a few different forms, Kramer has set his sights on film and TV, and feels he is gaining momentum.
His recent work includes a new Hulu show called The Path, in which he plays Aaron Paul's brother (Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad) in multiple episodes. He will also appear in an episode of the new ABC show The Family, acting opposite Andrew McCarthy. Kramer was also recently cast in the independent film Aardvark, in which he has a fight scene with Zachary Quinto (Spock in the new Star Trek movies).
"It's been an awesome stretch of success," Kramer shared. "It certainly feels great to see the last several years of hard work pay off in this way." As his career takes wing, Kramer said he is "loving life" in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he lives with three roommates from Yale.
Looking back on his 10 years at St. Anne's-Belfield School, Kramer said he obviously honed his skills as an actor, and "became a better thinker, writer, and problem solver." In addition, he truly values another ability he gained along the way: the confidence to express his beliefs to different types of people. By being encouraged to meet with a teacher or administrator, or to stand up in a morning meeting and say something that mattered personally, Kramer said he came to understand what he values in himself and others.
"What more valuable skill could you ask for in life?"
This article originally appeared in the winter 2015 - 2016 issue of Perspectives magazine