There’s an alternate universe where Glee is still airing and Wade “Unique” Adams ends a tough week at William McKinley High School by singing a powerful cover of The Greatest Showman‘s chart-topping anthem “This Is Me.”
Unfortunately, that’s just fantasy. But actor Alex Newell — who played Unique on the hit Fox show after a turn on Oxygen’s The Glee Project — gave Gleeks everywhere the next best thing on Monday when he performed the tune at MCC Theater’s Miscast gala.
The annual event — this year’s honored actress Laurie Metcalf — puts Broadway’s hottest in roles they would never be cast in. It also helps raise fund for the MCC Theater, which not only produces exciting Off-Broadway work from emerging playwrights, but also runs a Youth Company and in-school partnerships that serve New York City public high school students.
Monday’s show was packed full of talent, including (among others) Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, Moana voice Auli’i Cravalho, Supergirl star Jeremy Jordan, and Frozen‘s new Elsa, Caissie Levy — all of whom had the audience at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom applauding with joy.
It was Newell, 25, who took it to the next level, though.
Closing out the show with the Oscar-nominated song by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — and with the backup of Krystina Alabado (American Psycho on Broadway), Marcus Paul James (Rent), Tiffany Mann (NBC’s Rise), and Ben Thompson (Waitress) — the actor (currently starring in the acclaimed new Broadway production of Once on This Island) had the whole auditorium on its feet by song’s end.
Check out his performance above.