New York-based actress Alexis Field says she is called upon to do some pretty wild things in 50 Shades! The Musical – The Original Parody, playing at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Bluma Appel Theatre from April 1 to 13.
“One of the craziest things I do is racy and I do it right out in the audience,” Field says. “One night my brother was two feet away from me. He was a little shocked but he was laughing,”
Field – who wouldn’t say what the particular “racy thing” is – says she has since embraced it and it is now her favourite part of the show because she says she fully commits to it and doesn’t worry about looking silly or making people feel uncomfortable.
50 Shades! The Musical opens with a ladies book club deciding to read Fifty Shades of Grey, the popular erotic book by E L James. The show features 11 original songs including They Get Nasty I Don’t Make Love, and There’s a Hole Inside of Me.
“50 Shades is a musical parody where you experience the book through the eyes of three book club ladies,” Field says. The book is about the transformation of Anastasia Steele, who is a young, recent graduate of college, as she finds her sexual identity through Christian Grey.
Field plays two characters, one of them is Bev, one of the book club ladies.
“I would say that Bev is in the middle of the spectrum. One lady, Pam, is a little more of a risk taker sexually and you have Carol who really hasn’t figured anything out for herself yet. Bev’s this loveable character who you just feel sorry for through a good portion of the show,”she says.
“Bev is kind of a mixture of both of those women. She might have tried out a few things with her husband but she’s a novice when it comes to her own sexual freedom and expression. You see all three of these women go through their own transformation as they read the book. They kind of act as a Greek chorus – or narrators – they’re the link between the story and the audience members.”
Field also plays Katherine Cavanaugh, who in the book is Anastasia’s studious best friend. In this production, she’s a drunken sorority girl gone completely wrong.
“One of the greatest things about this show is it is so funny. I have never heard laughter like this from an audience before,” she says. “And, I think laughter is the best medicine for everything and you are sure to get a whole lot of that in this show. You will be shocked too, it is very racy but you are going to have a blast, even if you haven’t read the book. You might even learn a thing or two that you might want to take into the bedroom.”
Field is joined on stage by Tiffany Dissette, BJ Gruber, Eileen Patterson, Nick Semar, Sheila O’Connor, Datus Puryear, Jack Boice and Caroline Reade, along with a live band.
Field, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Boca Raton, Fla. grew up going to Jewish day school and attending her local JCC. She sang in the synagogue and led services at school. She even contemplated being a cantor.
“Singing has always been important to me because singing is my way of connecting to my Jewish identity and my way of connecting to something greater than myself. When I act and sing onstage, it is not going to mean anything unless there is something going on internally and I am connecting. One of the first ways I was able to do that was in synagogue. My theatrical training was actually through the Jewish Community Center and Jewish day school.”
She enjoys yoga and loves to play the ukulele which she brought with her to Toronto. Her other theatre credits include The Spitfire Grill and Speech & Debate.
50 Shades comes to Toronto after enjoying sold out runs in Chicago, New York and the Edinburgh Film Festival.Tickets can be purchased at St. Lawrence Centre box office, online: ticketmaster.ca; or 1-855-899-STLC (7852). For more show information visit www.50shadesthemusical.com.