Teen embraces passion for entertaining

Alex Tash preforms in the Parkway Central High School show choir “Pizzazz.”Photo: Mia Kweskin

BY MIA KWESKIN, Junior, Parkway Central

Talented, hilarious, unique, smart, reliable, friendly and determined-these are the words family and friends use to describe Parkway Central junior Alex Tash. But there’s one more word describing Alex that people may be surprised to discover: Jewish.

Born in the capital city of Paraguay, Asunción, Alex was adopted when he was six months old and raised Jewish. He had a traditional Jewish baby naming ceremony, attended Solomon Schechter Day School for two years, and went to Shaare Emeth Sunday school where he celebrated his bar mitzvah and last year, his confirmation.

“Usually people are surprised or don’t believe me when I tell them [I’m Jewish] because I don’t ‘look Jewish.’ This explanation is usually always followed with me telling that person that I’m adopted. Then they understand why I don’t ‘look Jewish,'” Alex said.

This past summer, Alex went to Israel for a month, where his Jewish identity grew. While there, he also developed a greater connection to his religion.

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“I met a bunch of new kids and that was fun, but the experience didn’t really hit me until we went to the Western Wall. Upon getting to the wall and actually touching and praying at the wall, I felt an indescribable Jewish connection that changed my mind about Judaism forever and made me want to become more active in the Jewish community,” Alex said.

In his family, Alex has a unique bond with his brother Andrew Tash who is a year older. Both were adopted from Paraguay and are actually biological brothers.

“I think the fact that we are biological brothers brings us closer and gives us an even stronger bond of family and love,” Andrew said.

Despite being adopted, Alex says that his family dynamics are in no way different from any other family. He gets along extremely well with his entire family and loves the holidays, such as Hanukkah, that they spend together.

But it’s not simply his ethnicity that makes Alex unique and talented. Alex is an aspiring actor and singer.

“I think Alex is a wonderful performer, but of course I am biased,” said his mother, Lisa Tash.  “He does wonderful accents and I love to watch him in shows.  I always have the biggest smile on my face when he is performing.”

Alex started singing at a very young age. While others were playing sports, Alex could be found humming a tune.

“I used to play soccer on the Solomon Schechter team with all the other kindergarten and first grade kids. Of course, I never actually showed a desire to play. I would sit on the field or in the goal and sing to myself. That’s when my parents decided to get me involved in theater,” Alex said.

Since then, Alex has been involved in numerous shows. One of his favorites was “Beauty and the Beast,” in which he played the Beast. In middle school, Alex became involved in show choir, and was a lead in the middle school musical “Once Upon a Mattress.”

In high school, Alex’s interest and involvement in theater only grew. He starred in the Parkway Central production of “The Mousetrap,” and was cast in various one-act plays. He also made the Parkway Central swing choir “Pizzazz” as a sophomore, and also as a sophomore was nominated for a Cappie Award (High School Critic and Award Program) for his role as Andre in the musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

“It is hard to pick one favorite role since he has had so many wonderful roles, and he’s only 16 years old,” his mother said.

Through his involvement in theater, Alex has undoubtedly developed a passion that his family and friends agree will always be a part of his life.

“The best part of acting is getting to explore a new world and become a new person,” said Alex “You have to leave the world you live in behind and completely live the life of someone else for about two hours and there’s nothing more fun or satisfying than landing a challenging role and playing it great so that it’s unique from yourself and all other characters you play.

“I like musical theater because singing in theater is what allows the characters to openly express their emotions, something that is left up to subtext and portrayal in a straight play.”

Alex’s love for acting and singing has also led him to dive into other areas of the arts such as writing plays and full-length musicals. He hopes to continue in theater through college and into his professional life, possibly as an actor or even as a high school drama teacher. Who knows…he might just be the next famous Jewish performer. For now though, he’s looking forward to playing Kilroy in Parkway Central’s production of “Don’t Drink the Water,” on November 10-12.

“He was born to be an entertainer, to perform on Broadway or act in movies. It would be a waste of his abilities and personality for him to be anything else,” said his friend and Parkway Central junior Gina Gershilivech.