Okay, full disclosure: Alex Rickert is a freelancer for the Weekly Newspaper. He’s also a dolphin trainer, and currently starring in “Making God Laugh,” a Marathon Community Theatre mainstage production.
In his late 20s, he is what someone from an older generation would call “such a nice young man.” But he’s more than that — he’s curious, hardworking and thoughtful and gosh dang his copy is clean. We like him. We really, really like him.
Rickert grew up in Rhode Island for the most part, and graduated from Northeastern University in Massachusetts in 2015 (a five-year program with two intern breaks studying marine mammals). He moved to the Keys soon after to begin work at the Dolphin Research Center. In 2017, he appeared on stage for the very first time as a cast member in “Cabaret.” (Rickert said, “They had a cast member drop out and asked me to fill in. They said, ‘We think you might be okay at this.’”) In December of 2018, he started writing part-time for the Marathon Weekly. Again, somebody told him, “You might be okay at this,” after seeing his work in the DRC newsletter.
Turns out, he’s a little bit more than just okay.
Here’s more …
Full name and nickname: Alexander Paul Rickert.
What did you study? I majored in biology and minored in psychology. Honestly, I wish I had done it the other way around. As important as a dolphin’s biology is, what I do now is more about relationships and learning and behavior and motivation, rather than cells and organisms and mitochondria.
What do you love about dolphins? I love that sometimes dolphins understand people better than they understand themselves. They know which people need a nudge. They can also humble people. And I love how they take care of each other and their babies. You almost have to see it to believe it. It’s ridiculous how intelligent, caring and unique each of the dolphins are.
What do you appreciate about Dolphin Research Center? I have never worked somewhere that views communication with animals as such an even, two-way street. Of course, we make decisions related to their health and well being, because that is our job. But we also factor in what they want, and the choices that they make.
What do you love about living in the Florida Keys? I’ve always been a water kid. At 4 years old I grabbed a net, caught minnows, and made a mini-aquarium in a bucket and constantly added water so they would have enough oxygen. In the Keys, though, I work on the water. I do lots of diving, I ride my Jet Ski, I spear … and after Hurricane Irma, I saw the way people bonded. Going into the theater and rebuilding after the storm was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
What other organizations are you a part of? I serve on the theater’s executive board and I am also a member of the Pearl Dive Team. Okay, the last is just a good group of friends who go out on the water together.
Any hobbies besides dolphins and writing and acting? Well, yes. I play guitar. I run. I used to play basketball but now it’s pick-up games of basketball and pickleball and softball. I also like diving and spear-fishing and wakeboarding and Jet Skiing. I guess I do a lot of “ing.”
What’s the last book you read? “From Darkness to Dynasty: The First 40 Years of the New England Patriots” by Jerry Thornton. (Guess we can add football-ing to that list.)
What’s the last movie you watched? “Avengers: Endgame.” So cool.
If you could star next to any Hollywood actor, whom would you choose? Neil Patrick Harris; he’s hilarious.
If your girlfriend were to give you a “hall pass,” which Hollywood star would you take out on a date? Brooklyn Decker.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Watching “The Bachelor.” Hey, during my internship in Hawaii, I was the only guy in a group of 22 students. I could either chill alone in my room, or go out into the living room and watch and make fun of everybody!
Has your life ever been in danger? When? I guess it’s a tie between riding a Jet Ski through a freak, pop-up hail storm in Rhode Island or the time a bull shark stole a grouper right of us when we were 80 feet underwater.
Finish these sentences …
My favorite holiday …is Christmas. I know that’s vanilla, but it’s true.
There are two types of people in the world … people who work hard for what they want and won’t stop, and people who blame others and anything else because they can’t have what they want.
In 20 years … I hopefully won’t be as broke as I am now!
My friends and family would say I am … an optimist. Also, they would say I am the reason for the data overages on our cell phone plan.
Alex Rickert stars as Thomas in “Making God Laugh,” opening May 9 and running through May 25 at Marathon Community Theatre. For tickets, visit marathontheater.org or call 305-743-0994. Curtain is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 each.