If you’ve ever attended a show at the Ridgefield Playhouse or a gala here in town, most likely you’ve met Alex Fischetti. His shining light of a personality naturally draws people to him, and if you are lucky enough to be his friend, you are rewarded with a lifelong loyal relationship with a very special person.
Alex, 32, is a social media manager, head usher, and steadfast volunteer. As a person on the spectrum, Alex calls himself “Alex the Aspergarian” and everything he does, he gives it his all. He’s a magnet for making friends and meeting celebrities, many of whom have had a huge impact on his life.
Alex had recently moved to Ridgefield, when he attended an author reading by Charles Grodin at the Westport Country Playhouse in 2004. The two met and a friendship was born. Grodin became a mentor to Alex. A few years later, Grodin reached out to Allison Stockel, who was then the Executive Director of The Ridgefield Playhouse to ask if she could offer Alex a job. “We hired Alex to be an usher and from day one he took his job very seriously and has always been one of our most reliable employees,” Stockel says. “From that work relationship, Alex has become a close family friend. He has a special place in my heart.”
In 2009, Alex and his family moved to Vero Beach, where he met Reeny Sempsrott, their Pastor’s wife. She had such a big impact on his life that he decided to write a book about their relationship, The Lonesome Boy and The Blonde-Haired Angel. “Alex and I first bonded through our mutual love of the Lord and concern for people. I saw the beauty in him that he couldn’t see for himself at the time,” says Sempsrott. His book is available at Books on The Common, Audrey Road, Bella Home and Sphere as well as on Amazon, with over 45 five-star reviews and over 1000 books sold!
When Alex moved back to Ridgefield in 2012, he returned to his job at the Playhouse and it’s there that he has made his most special relationships. He met his “bestie” Kristen Jensen in 2014 at the Playhouse Drink Pink event. “I knew the minute I met Alex that we were kindred spirits. Alex is pure white light and his love, support, compassion, and empathy for all is what makes him so irresistible,” says Jensen. She introduced him to Cleveland Miller, who became the illustrator for Alex’s book.
Alex also found two of his greatest supporters at The Playhouse, Lori Beresford and Elaine Cox, leading him to become involved with The Center for Empowerment and Education (formerly The Women’s Center), Sphere, Ann’s Place and more. “We are so blessed to have Alex as part of our Ridgefield community. He has the biggest heart to go with that beautiful contagious smile! Alex takes pride in remembering everyone’s birthday. He’s always the first to post a celebratory wish!” says Cox.
Beresford says Alex has really matured in the years she’s known him. “When I first met Alex, he was an extremely shy young man who could barely look you in the eye. It’s been a joy to watch him grow into the confident person he is today. I’m glad that I get to be part of his journey,” she says.
Since 2014, Alex has helped raise over $40,000 for The Center for Empowerment and Education with their annual Safe Walk fundraiser and donates his time and money to many of his other favorite causes. This past October 2022, Alex was presented with the General Assembly Official Citation for his volunteer work and his 10th anniversary at The Ridgefield Playhouse. Local officials and friends attended the event to surprise him with this prestigious award.
His latest project is as Social Media Manager and “Man About Town” photographer for Local-Insta.com. He helps founder Birgitta Stone manage two of their over 40 town-based Instagrams. “Alex is a perfect fit. He adores people, loves events, and he brings joy to everything he does,” says Stone. He co-manages the popular @ridgefield.ct community Instagram page and manages the @tarrytown.ny page on his own. “Local-Insta has opened the door for me to establish relationships within the community and to help businesses,” says Alex.
Alex has met and interviewed many celebrities with his articles published in Hamlet Hub and The Ridgefield Press. He has met Ed Asner, a longtime autism advocate and has interviewed Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty, Regis Philbin, Peter Falk and so many others, but Grodin, who passed away in 2021, will always be dearest to him. “He looked out for me in the most beautiful ways,” says Alex. Grodin told him that the best way to help yourself is to help other people, words Alex continues to live by to this day.
“I am immensely blessed to be surrounded by people that want the best for me,” says Alex. Frank Sinatra once said the best place to live is where your friends are. For Alex Fischetti, that would be Ridgefield, where he counts so many as friends. •