Congratulations, Annaleigh Ashford! Last night was huge as the stellar actress and singer won a 2015 Tony Award –Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play – for her portrayal of Essie Charmichael in You Can’t Take It with You. Everyone at The Smith Center was definitely rooting for Ashford and watched the live telecast onCBS. We are thrilled that she won and we loved her acceptance speech.
Oh, did we mention the Tony Award winner will be visiting us at The Smith Center this month? We really can’t express how greatly we are looking forward to Ashford’s upcoming Cabaret Jazz show, Lost in the Stars, which runs Saturday, June 27 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 28 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available now, but are going fast!
Annaleigh Ashford: Lost in the Stars is a genre-bending production that takes the vintage form of a lounge act and spins it around like a shimmering disco ball. Presenting a bubbly mix of song and storytelling, Ashford is backed by the scratch Whisky 5 band. At the microphone, she’ll roam through an eclectic range of songs and styles that includes a smoky Alanis Morrisette cover (with comedic cue cards for a sing-a-long, no less) and an amped-up Donna “Hot Stuff” Summer tribute, too. She’ll also visit the classic songbooks of greats like Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim and Johnny Mercer.
Lost in the Stars’ eclectic constellation of tunes is directed by Will Van Dyke, a composer with an impressive résumé including Kinky Boots (where Ashford and Van Dyke first worked together), Wicked, Rent, Grease and The Addams Family.
Ashford has had a long and impressive career as a performer, starting as a child in her hometown of Denver, Colo. In an interview with Playbill, Ashford joked about her precociousness. “I came out of the womb singing, dancing, and telling awkward jokes … I sang every song a child shouldn’t sing,” she told the publication.
Having moved to New York City as a teenager after graduating early from high school, she went on to earn a theatre degree from Marymount Manhattan College at the age of nineteen. Since then, Ashford’s Broadway career has been scintillating. She performed as Maureen in Rent and originated the role of Margot in Legally Blonde. She’s also one in a singular cadre of performers: she’s appeared as Glinda in the immensely popular Wicked. In 2013, Ashford starred in Kinky Boots, which led to nominations for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. Her most recent stage work was the role of Essie Carmichael in You Can’t Take It With You for which she received a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. In September, Ashford will take on the title role in a new production of Sylvia, being directed by Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan.
Ashford has also enjoyed a growing screen career, including supporting roles in the films Sex and the City: The Movieand Rachel Getting Married. Recently, she’s been blazing on television with her provocative portrayal of Betty DiMello on Showtime’s smash hit The Masters of Sex.
With such a rich repertoire of song and acting under her belt, Ashford and her musical clan will be bringing an amazing experience to Cabaret Jazz. Oh yes, she’ll also probably be bringing some sequined costuming as well. She tends to sparkle on stage.
Here’s a sneak peek at Annaleigh Ashford: Lost in the Stars with a beautiful, old-timey rendition (with kazoo!) of “Come Rain or Come Shine.”
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