Alex Haven spent years developing a career as a musician, playing saxophone with idols such as Mike Clark, "Little" Louie Vega, and De La Soul. But deep down inside, he always wanted to act. "I never acted before in my life," Haven says, "though I had always wanted to, like every other closet actor out there who's a drag to rent DVDs with because he's seen everything in the store."
After moving from Los Angeles to New York, Haven had a startling stroke of luck: A friend showed him a casting notice in the nonunion musicals section of the Sept. 28 issue of Back Stage East for Murder Mystery Blues, an Off-Broadway musical adaptation of several stories by Woody Allen. It called for an actor with excellent sax-playing abilities to play a Bogart-like private eye.
"I just knew I could kill it," Haven says. "It wouldn't be that much of a stretch." Haven went out on a limb for this big audition. "I went in character," he says. "I bought a trench coat and put on a double-breasted suit and a shirt, and I had the hat.... I got off the elevator and went to the audition, and I stayed [in character] until basically the director was asking me, 'Please, I want to hear what your real voice is like.' I thought, She's either going to love this or think that I'm a total asshole."
Luckily, director Janey Clarke, who originally directed the show in London, had the desired response. "He reminded me of the character," Clarke says. "It was a chord that struck within me. It's not easy to find exactly the correct actor when they also have to play an instrument to a professional standard and have great jazz instincts."
The production opened on Nov. 21, 2006, at 59E59 Theaters and received positive reviews from The New Yorker and the Associated Press, proving to be a wildly successful debut for Haven. Although his next big project is completing an album release deal with Bug Digital, his desire to act has become substantially more prominent.
"I enjoyed the whole process of it. I definitely want to keep doing it," he says. "Right now I'm back focusing on my music, but it's just nice knowing that I can do it. Going out there having never done it before and landing an Off-Broadway role -- it was an amazing feeling."
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