Alex Newell interview: ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’
Alex Newell was able to explore so much more with Mo in the second season of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” While Season 1 mostly saw Mo relegated to the next-door neighbor role, Season 2 found him opening up a business with Max and exploring love with fire marshal Perry. Newell says in an exclusive new interview with Gold Derby that he was excited by the prospect of getting out of the apartment and “making this person a real person that is relatable and is an everyday kind of person that goes through the same stuff that we all go through.” Watch the full interview above.
Mo first meets Perry around the midway point in the season and engages in playful banter with him that ultimately leads to romance. Newell appreciated that Mo’s first encounter with Perry wasn’t necessarily a “love at first sight” situation. “That first meeting, it’s very combative of playing a somewhat weird game of the Dozen, of sarcasm, of playing with each other, and me throwing shade and him throwing it right back.” Admittedly, Newell found it easy to develop chemistry with David St. Louis, who plays Perry. “Listening to that man talk, I can’t help but be in love with him,” states Newell. “His voice is his own presence.”
Season 2 allowed Newell to perform all kinds of numbers, including up-tempo tracks, ballads, duets and even a country song. One of the standouts, though, was performing “I Look to You” by Whitney Houston at a church right before Mo meets Perry’s kids for the first time. “I love singing Whitney’s music,” states Newell. “To get to even step into those shoes for just that minute and a half was just otherworldly.” In our interview with Newell last year, the actor had actually put out the idea of covering one of Houston’s songs. He is now continuing to manifest heading into a potential third season, this time hoping to reunite with “Glee” co-star Amber Riley and perform a duet together.
Newell earned a SAG Award nomination back in 2013 for being part of the ensemble of “Glee,” but this year he earned his first individual awards recognition for TV. The actor received a Critics Choice Award nomination earlier this year for his performance on “Zoey’s,” which he fully was not expecting. “You never really know what you’re doing until someone else notices it and you get recognition for it, ‘cause I just like to sing and dance and act and be pretty,” laughs Newell.