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Alexandra Grey turns trauma into triumph in “The Life”

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“The only thing I knew was that I loved to sing,” said Alexandra Grey of her first time on stage in a school production of Once on This Island.

Nearly two decades later, the 31-year-old actress, known for her recurring roles on Empire and MacGyver and co-starring in two feature films currently in production, finally returns to the stage in a concert revival of The Life at New York City Center.Directed by Billy Porter and co-starring Ledisi along with a roster of Broadway’s best, Grey’s professional stage debut is overdue — a dream discarded long ago after a childhood of foster homes, abuse, and family disownment.

But if there’s one thing that Grey has in common with the character of Queen, a transgender sex worker fighting to get off the streets, it’s resilience.“For so long, you know, I didn’t even have time to dream about this,” Grey told INTO by phone the day after The Life’s opening night. “I didn’t have time to think about it because I was surviving.

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