Nothing compares to an Allison Mack fan. The throng of worshippers this 28-year-old actress has amassed over the last nine years includes some of the most loyal, passionate and caring fans I have ever seen. And their love has not gone unnoticed by Allison — in fact, it is their dedication that led her to reprise the role of Chloe Sullivan one last time during the upcoming tenth and final season of “Smallville.”
But before she heads back to Metropolis, Allison is heading to Broadway as one of “Love, Loss and What I Wore’s” leading ladies. In the play she is one of five women who bring to life a series of style-inspired stories.
As she prepares to end her run and fly to the “Smallville” set one last time, I caught up with Allison to talk about her NYC theater debut, what it’s like preparing to say good-bye to Chloe and what’s next!
PopWrap: What attracted you to “Love, Loss & What I Wore?”
Allison Mack: Well, I’ve been wanting to do theater in NYC since I was 9 years old, but to be perfectly honest, the content wasn’t the basis for my decision — it was the women I would be working with. Adriane Lenox, Kate Mulgrew, Kristine Nielsen & Jayne Houdyshell — it’s like a master class. I’d be ridiculous not to take this regardless of the material. Luckily Luckily the material was great [laughs].
PW: I chatted with previous castmembers of this show [watch], and they said you all become like a family. The experience bonds you.
Allison: 100%. You spend so much time together, it’s challenging not to have an amazing relationship come out of that. Theater is such a team based sport – you support each other, get to know each other throughout the run, so it’s hard to walk away without a deeper connection. This experience has far beyond my expectations. It’s fantastic, I feel so at home on stage. It’s phenomenal. Exceeded.
PW: There is also something to be said about the thrill of performing for a live audience.
Allison: Yes, there’s a relationship in the reality with how theater is presented – you can’t experience that anywhere else. When you mess up, you mess up obviously, when you sweat, you sweat obviously, when you cry, you cry obviously. There’s no hiding in theater.
PW: Any bad experiences?
Allison: We’ve had a couple of nights with lots of cellphones. It’s always disappointing because you’d hope that people have a deeper appreciation for what it is that we’re doing. But you know, everybody forgets – it’s happened to me. Phones are less offensive than people talking because they’re not as deliberate.
PW: What is your favorite piece to perform?
Allison: I really love the piece that I do with Kate, where I play her 13-year-old daughter. That one is really fun. I also love the one about my shoes, my high heels. Which is funny, because it didn’t start out as one that I liked very much, I was uncomfortable doing it in the beginning, but as the show’s worn on, I’ve become more comfortable doing it.
PW: What’s your first memory of fashion?
Allison: Growing up, my mom made us this amazing thing called The Mack Theatrical Wardrobe. It was a massive trunk filled with everything that you’d want as a kid if you were into imagination and play. Using clothes to transform was a huge part of my childhood. But also, I’ve been acting forever and wardrobe changes the way you feel, so it totally indicates the character you’re going to play.
PW: I would imagine that after nine seasons, it’s pretty easy to slip into Chloe’s skin though.
Allison: Uh yea, Chloe feels very familiar by this point. Although, she’s very different than I am – I put on my high heels, my tight pants, they do my hair and it feels very different. It’s quite a different experience being her than being me.
PW: Does preparing to play her for the final time feel different?
Allison: Yea. I think that I have a much deeper appreciation for what I have with that character and that show. Just the privilege it’s been to play her. It’s like the Joni Mitchell song, “you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.” Because ["Smallville' is] winding down, I’m able to really evaluate the life she has led, which has been a real honor.
PW: What’s important to you in the way Chloe’s story is wrapped up?
Allison: Just that she maintains her integrity. That she really upholds what is important to her and doesn’t sacrifice anyone. I spent a lot of time playing a character who gives up a lot of the things that are most important to her, for the sake of other people. I think she’s finally reached a point in her own maturation process where she doesn’t do that anymore. I hope the writers maintain that standard as we end her run.
PW: Do you know how many episodes you’ll be back for?
Allison: I’ll be back for five total episodes.
PW: I heard that the incredibly loyal fans were one of the reasons you decided to return. True?
Allison: Definitely. They were the reason I decided to come back. I was very much ready to move on, and not because I was unhappy with the show or that anything bad happened, I was just very much ready to enter a new phase of my life. But I realized as we came towards the end of the season that my character wasn’t getting a completion. I didn’t feel comfortable walking away from the show, and my character, without a completion. So I committed to doing five episodes to giving her the ending I think she deserves. I do think there’s a relationship between my character and the people who’ve watched the show for so many years. I want to honor them, her and myself.
PW: So it would be safe to say that once “Smallville” ends we’ll be seeing a lot more of you on the stage?
Allison: Yes, [doing theater is] fantastic, are you kidding me? I’m used to 16 hour days – this is an hour and a half day! Even though you’re doing eight shows a week, which can be quite taxing, there’s no comparison. Imagine the endurance you have to have in film/TV versus theater. It’s like a sprinter versus a marathon runner. So yes, more theater for sure — spread the word so people hire me [laughs].
Allison Mack will be in the NYC production of Love, Loss & What I Wore through August 29, buy your tickets here.