Lance Alexander presents $5,000 check for Innovation Hub with Union Principal Kyle Lichey and his fifth grade teacher, Tony Jones. Photo provided by family.
By Camille Williams
At 14, local actor Lance Alexander is achieving his dreams on the new Netflix series, Family Reunion, which premiered in July.
Family Reunion, centers on the McKellen family, who move from Seattle to live with extended family in Georgia. It’s a sitcom filled with shenanigans, but it’s also the story of a family struggling to reconcile generations of Black family values.
Alexander plays Elvis Maybury, a friend of the McKellen family. His charisma and joyful personality radiate off-screen as much as it does on-screen.
“He’s a lot like me. We’re both entrepreneurs, we both like to have fun, and we both like to go to church,” Alexander said.
Family Reunion is Alexander’s second television project. He first was a guest role on Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home, the sequel to That’s So Raven and his favorite show at the time.
To celebrate his success, the Alexander family hosted a meet and greet and Family Reunion watch party at Union Elementary, Lance’s old school in West Chester. The family also donated $5,000 dollars to develop the school’s new Innovation Hub. His mother, Angela Alexander, said it was important to give back to the community that supported him.
Alexander was about to start middle school at Hopewell Junior in 2017 when he decided he wanted to be an actor. His mother’s initial reaction was worry: “Somehow when he said acting, that somehow to me did not mean college,” she said.
However, he says he still wants to go to college. He also said he’s interested in animation and has been taking voiceover acting classes.
Planning to start him small in print modeling, his mother took him to Wings Model Management in Cincinnati, but when told that his larger than life personality belonged on TV, the family sought an acting agent at the Dallas Model and Talent Expo, and then moved to Los Angeles in 2017.
Leaving the comfort and stability of West Chester has been challenging for the Alexander family. “There’s a lot of traffic. It’s very hot, and I’d probably say it’s really hard to connect with my friends who are still in Ohio, because it’s a three-hour time difference,” the young actor said. “Every time I hop on Fortnite, it’s kind of hard because they’re either sleeping or I’m just waking up,” he said.
“Some people think we got the role and then packed our family and left, but it was actual quite the opposite,” Angela Alexander said. “Because we are a family of faith, and we believe in walking in our purpose at all times, so that was something that was revealed before he landed the role.”
Lance originally auditioned for a different character on the show, but when he was asked to audition for Elvis — in a Southern accent — he luckily earned the role.
Angela said that when she first read the “wholesome,” description of the show, she knew the opportunity was perfect for Lance and prayed for it. “I asked God: ‘I never asked anything specific for Lance in terms of work. This I’m asking you specifically, if it’s in your will.
Lance says his favorite person on set is Loretta Devine, who plays M’Dear, matriarch of the McKellen family. “She just sets a great example for us kids,” he said.
Though Lance just began acting in L.A., he’s already achieved several of his goals and filmed part two of Family Reunion.
“I definitely hope that the take I have on Elvis and what I put into Elvis is what everybody else thinks that character would be,” he said. “I want that after somebody comes from a long day of work or just waking up for them to smile, and I want them to enjoy my character.”