By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Oct 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

The first time I saw her was in Next Act Theatre’s outstanding production of "Microcrisis" last fall.

The play had an absolute powerhouse of a cast. David Cecsarini, John Kishline, Lee Palmer, Michael Cotey and Erica Cruz Hernandez were all there, each with a boatload of credits and awards.

And then there was Alexandra Bonesho, fresh out of Marquette’s Theater Arts program. Her professional credits were almost non-existent. She was a community and college theater veteran.

But something about her was striking. She was great-looking, but there are a lot of great-looking actors in Milwaukee, both men and women.

What set her apart was the fact that this virtual neophyte held her own and then some with some real heavyweights of the Milwaukee stage. 

Since "Microcrisis," Bonesho has found a steady diet of work on Milwaukee stages. She was an understudy in "Pinkalicious" at First Stage, a delightfully sexy something in "Cartoon" at Youngblood and most recently a young Little Edie in the spectacular Off The Wall production of "Grey Gardens." Next up is "Groucho: A Life in Review" starting next month at Next Act.

Cecsarini, artistic director, founder and just about everything else at Next Act, shared the stage with her during "Microcrisis."

"Allie's a delight to have around," Cecsarini said. "She brings to the rehearsal hall an infectious, positive attitude, and she's game for anything. No one works harder, which adds a nice polish to her abundant talents. I'm looking forward to our next gig together in 'Groucho.'"  

Like many a young female actor, Bonesho knows that the bright lights of New York beckon. And while she is not planning on moving next week, she knows that what she faces is not easy. As part of that process, she recently broke up with her boyfriend.

"I know it sounds selfish," she said over coffee at Colectivo. "But I want to focus solely on me. In this business, you have to be able to get up and go.

"I’ve always had an instinct to go to New York," she said. "I just don’t know when. I want to be able to work consistently. I talk to a lot of people in New York, and they say you go to 100 auditions and hear 'no.' Then maybe you get one 'yes.' I don’t know if I’m ready for that. It could be terrifying."

Bonesho may have New York on her mind, but she has no stars in her eyes. She seems realistic about what it takes.

"I’m very self-critical," she said. "There is so much I still have to learn. I keep learning all the time. In every play.

"I’m antsy right now. But I’m not ready yet. I’m just starting to know who I am. I’ve finally come to terms where I can say I’m a working actor. I never thought I’d be able to do that."

It’s obvious that Bonesho has talent. She’s only 24 and as darling as they come. But she also seems to have her head on straight and a lot of respect for the people who have helped her and taught her on her journey. People like Cecsarini, actress Niffer Clarke and her husband Jim Farrell. Her gratitude is palpable, and it doesn’t seem the least bit phony.

Selfishly, I hope she sticks around Milwaukee for a while because I so enjoy her on the stage. But it won’t be long before she stretches herself and heads to toward the Great White Way. She is learning what it takes to be a serious actor, and she’s about ready to take the big step. When she goes, a lot of Milwaukee will be rooting for her. 

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.