Today's UPSTAGED! interview is with Allison Fradkin, who (in her own words) is "a triple threat—patron, playwright, performer." Her YA story, "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Queer," is one of the most original pieces I've ever worked on. My own kids—performers themselves—loved it, their favorite part being identifying all the wonderful Broadway shows tucked inside.
What attracted you to the performing arts?
Remember the episode of I Love Lucy, "Lucy's Italian Movie," wherein the film's producer inquires, "Tell me, Mrs. Ricardo, have you ever considered acting?" I considered acting as well—specifically, I considered it out of the question. I lacked Lucy's luster and bluster, the peculiarity of her temerity, her peerless fearlessness.
Now how could I succeed in show business without really trying out for anything? I would never be right for the part, I reasoned, but maybe I could write for the part. So I pursued playwriting.
Still, the curtain kept calling. Eventually, at the age of 24 (I'm 34 now), I finally worked up the courage to start studying the craft and, at long last, the audacity to audition.
With gumption came presumption. At the audition: I'd be surprisingly good for you. At the first rehearsal: I think I'm gonna like it here. And on opening night: I'm the bravest individual I have ever met.
As a triple threat—patron, playwright, performer—I've developed some of Lucy's most lovable character traits: nerve and verve and unquenchable confidence. Leave it to Lucy to show people that show people experience something wonderful. I give the gal props for leading this lady out of her shell and onto the stage.
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
I recently played the courageously and commandingly comedic Mae Peterson, the mother of all roles, in a community theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie. Currently, I am auditioning for fall shows. Scriptly speaking, my short play "Holy Inappropriate," the story of a lovely lady bringing up three very lovely girls—in the Christian Patriarchy Movement, will be produced by Broken Nose Theatre in Chicago later this month as part of their annual Bechdel Fest, which features parts for ladies exclusively and, in the case of my piece, lady parts extensively. I'm also developing a lesbian-feminist musical tribute to The Golden Girls called Say Cheesecake! The Musical about Girls of a Golden Age.
What's your favorite food?
matzo ball soup
What genre (other than your own) do you like to read?
What's one of your hobbies?
What's on your playlist?
Motown (mostly girl groups), show tunes, ladies of the 80s, and old-time radio shows
What's on tap?
Me! I'm transitioning from beginning tap dancer to intermediate.
What are some of your favorite plays?
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche / The Bad Seed / The Beebo Brinker Chronicles / Extremities / Harvey / In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play / Intimate Apparel / A Raisin in the Sun / Stage Door / Steel Magnolias / Stick Fly / These Shining Lives / The Women
What are some of your favorite musicals?
Anne & Gilbert / Caroline, or Change / The Color Purple / Dogfight / Fun Home / Grease / Hairspray / Leader of the Pack / Little Shop of Horrors / The Pajama Game / Spamalot / Starlight Express / Sunset Boulevard / The Wedding Singer / Wonderful Town
About Allison Fradkin:
Allison Fradkin is a playwright with thespian tendencies. She makes her stage presence felt in community theatre productions of musicals (State Fair, Big Fish, Spamalot), as well as straight plays (The Miracle Worker, The Women, Children of a Lesser God). In addition to performing, she plays the part of Dramatist for Special Gifts Theatre, adapting musicals for actors of all abilities; and acts as Literary Coordinator for Pride Films & Plays, curating new works by female-identified screenwriters and playwrights. Scriptly speaking, Allison's plays, which include "Girl, You Know Its True Colors" and "I Love Lezzie," not only surpass the Bechdel Test but have come out onstage at 10-minute play festivals nationwide. Although she has a soft spot for short plays, Allison is currently developing her first full-length work: a feminist tribute to The Golden Girls entitled Say Cheesecake! The Musical about Girls of a Golden Age. To give her props, please visit allisonfradkin.blogspot.com.