10 on Tuesday with 90210 THE MUSICAL's Alexis Kelley
Kelly Taylor is OK with a wardrobe malfunction. Maybe.
At least, that's what Alexis Kelley thinks. The talented actress is playing the spoiled teen vixen in 90210 THE MUSICAL, playing the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place Sept. 13-17. We caught up with Kelley for a 10 on Tuesday that included everything from "The Little Rascals" to her go-to song at karaoke night
Intrigued? Read on:
1) Show you first auditioned for (and did you get the part)? The show I first auditioned for was "A Christmas Carol" at Theatre West in Los Angeles. I didn't know what an "audition" was. I was around 6 or 7, auditioning for the role of Tiny Tim. I remember being on the stage and being asked to sing, and I just used what first came into my mind; the song Darla sings in Little Rascals at the talent show of course!... "L is for the way you look at me, O is for the only one I see..." I sang out, strong and true, like i knew what the word really meant and they offered me the part. I always try to remember that unwavering trust and confidence I had as a child; before I let the word "audition" scare me, and it was just a chance to be in front of people doing something from the heart.
2) Where are you originally from? I was born in Westchester NY, but moved to LA when I was three years old. I actually moved a lot as a kid, mostly in and around the LA region with my mom and sister. There were also a couple of years sprinkled in New Jersey and NYC here and there, where my dad lived. Though it didn't feel like it then, I feel blessed to have grown up on both great coasts.
3) When did you know you wanted a career on the stage? Gosh, hard to trace that one. I don't know if I wanted it, so much as it wanted me? I feel like most performers have no choice, they're pulled by some magnetic force, and once they meet the stage, that's it. Like meeting your soulmate. You're done for.
A time when I can most markedly trace my understanding of performing as a kid, was when Mrs. Juarez, my 9th grade Lit teacher, said we could have three options for the final on Lord of the Flies: take a written multiple choice test, write an essay, or get interviewed as one of the characters in front of the class. I sprung for the latter and chose to be Piggy. I remember that day; I was in front of the class in an oversized t-shirt and my mom's prescription glasses, and suddenly I started experiencing mannerisms that weren't mine and answering questions I didn't even know I had the answers to. It was Piggy speaking through me. I didn't understand it then, but Mrs. Juarez was introducing us to the gift of character. I think I began to realize, that acting was magic and being a character was a portal into another world of secret and truths. I really should thank Mrs. Juarez for understanding that not all kids learn in the same way, and some express themselves better with a mask. "The conch, the conch!
4) What's your dream role/production? Oh boy! Too many! I'd kill to play Vanda in VENUS IN FUR, Elle Woods in LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL, Maggie in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, AND what the heck, I'd love to be Piggy from LORD OF THE FLIES, if that's ever a thing. Mrs. Juarez would be so proud.
5) What's the one moment on stage that still haunts you? The time I finished a show and realized I'd had a Janet Jackson wardrobe slip on stage . This actually happened during previews of 90210 THE MUSICAL in New York. On the one hand, I was mortified, but on the other hand, [my character] Kelly Taylor can handle it (insert lip bite here).
6) Living or dead, who would you drop everything to see perform? Patti Smith. Saw her once, on the Lower East Side in New York, and she changed my life. She is a force like I've never experienced. She's got this poetic, guttural sound that goes through her and then through you. Wild, untamed, and unapologetic. I'd drop everything to see her again.
7) What's your guilty pleasure/vice? Dark chocolate. "Real Housewives of NY" (love you Sonja Morgan). Going into puppy stores just to look. Crying in the mirror.
8) What do you value most about acting? Acting allows us to show the human experience. People come to the theater, to be entertained, but also, to connect. Being entertained is more than just watching, it's experiencing. If you can have an experience in yourself because of connecting with what another person is going through on the stage or the screen, then a gap has been bridged. I think connecting with another person and their experience is the most important thing we can do, especially in today's world. Whatever the genre, from tragedy to parody, let's have a sigh and a laugh together about it all.
9) What is the one song you never want to hear again at an audition? "Defying Gravity,". "Let It Go" and "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette (though, still my go to on karaoke night).
10) Fill in the blank: "The thing I'd never change about theatre is..." ...the lighting. No just kidding. I'd never change the magic of it. Call it what you will, smoke and mirrors, just some actors dancing and singing on a stage; if a person can believe something so truly that an audience member a few feet away, or in the back of the house, now believes it too, then something very important is always happening at the theatre.