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Alison Fraser Is in Love

The celebrated actress discusses her current gig in Love, Loss, and What I Wore and other projects.

Alison Fraser
(© Tristan Fuge)
Alison Fraser is one of the theater world's most consistently busy -- and consistently entertaining -- actors. This year alone, audiences have already seen her in two major Off-Broadway hits, The Divine Sister and The School for Lies, and she's currently part of the cast of the long-running Off-Broadway show, Love, Loss, and What I Wore at the Westside Theatre. TheaterMania recently spoke to Fraser about these projects, her dislike of department stores, and her future plans.

THEATERMANIA: Are you enjoying being part of this show?
ALISON FRASER: It's really a lot of fun and such a terrific group of performers. Each one of them is magnificent in her own way. Marla Maples is so beautiful and so nice, and it's been a real exercise in self-confidence walking up Broadway with her. I've looked up to Anita Gillette for years. In fact, I once went to Halloween party dressed as her. It was a game-show themed party so I put on a red wig and a 1970s outfit. Aisha de Haas is a fantastic comedienne, and I love Zuzanna Szadkowski. We've all really bonded in a short time. I really have to thank Daryl Roth for asking me to be part of this sisterhood.

TM: It's a change of pace from your last two shows, isn't it?
AF: It is. I am thrilled to not play a villain for the first time this year -- and not to wear a corset, wig, leather skintight boots, or my trademark beauty mark. I had to remind myself that I could be nice and normal. And for the first time this year, I'm not screaming on stage; the other two shows were quite difficult on my voice. It's almost like being on vacation while on stage, which to me is the best of both worlds.

TM: How is being in the show most different from being an audience member of Love, Loss?
AF: I've seen the show four times. And the first time when I saw it, I noticed it was a very female audience. But up on stage, I am noticing there are a lot of men in our audience -- and they seem to be enjoying it. I bet it's because of Marla.

TM: Let's talk about your relationship to clothing. Can you define it for me?
AF: I try really hard to dress the French way, which is not to have a lot of clothes, but to have clothes I like to wear over and over. I like things that look expensive and tailored, and I like rich colors. But I only buy cheap clothes for summer.

Alison Fraser in The School for Lies
(© Joan Marcus)
TM: Do you go out and shop a lot?
AF: I hate going shopping in department stores. Sometimes, I'll go to this sample sale place on Madison and 27th, or I'll do shopping on the Internet. My rule is if it doesn't fit, I will go to the tailor or send it back. I just hate being in dressing rooms; they're anathema to me. In fact, the hardest part of the show was that I had to set foot in Bloomingdale's. It's a nice store, but it was my first time there in over 20 years. I went with our costume coordinator, and I chose the very first outfit she picked out for me.

TM: I was a bit surprised School for Lies didn't have a longer life. Were you?
AF: Yes. It was wicked, smart, sly, and hilarious. When I first got the script I said to myself "Oh my God, what a gift it would be to say the words of David Ives, to work with Walter Bobbie, to be clothed by William Ivey Long, and to act with Hamish Linklater." And when I got it, I knew I had to say goodbye to The Divine Sister, and even though it killed me, it was the right decision.

TM: What's coming up for you. Are you going to take a break?
AF: I have no idea what I am going to do next. I just finished voicing a book on tape called The Night Stranger, which is very scary and disturbing and psychological. It was a real honor to be asked. I'll do some concert work here and there. And because of The School for Lies, I was asked by Theatre for a New Audience to do A Broken Heart, which is another verse play, later this season. But right now, I'm just enjoying this delicious experience in Love, Loss. It's like someone handed me a piece of candy.