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Annaleigh Ashford: Bubble-Bound

Ambitious and amiable, Annaleigh Ashford made her Broadway debut originating the role of Delta Nu sorority sister, Margot, in the Tony Award-nominated musical Legally Blonde. Prior to this engagement, Annaleigh was a bright 20-year-old spinning in a grandiose green dress on-stage in the first national tour ensemble of Wicked.

Some nights on the road, she would cover the role of Glinda, The Good. But beginning Tuesday, October 9, 2007, Annaleigh returns to the legendary bubble, assuming the role on Broadway!

BroadwayWorld.com's own News Desk Editor, Eugene Lovendusky, grabbed a table at the Caf Edison in Times Square to chat with Annaleigh (as she experimented with a new lunch platter) to discuss her transition from one thrilling moment in her early performing career to another

Eugene Lovendusky: You just hit 22-years-old, and here you are about to ride on the big Broadway bubble! How do you feel?

Annaleigh Ashford: It's so crazy, I can't even believe it. I'm so excited I just had a lesson this morning with my vocal coach; we were singing through the very top of the show I sang through it and then we both looked at each other and screamed "Oh!" like little girls! I can't wait. It's going to be fun and so great to take a journey every night; to start in one place and end up somewhere completely different.

Eugene: You grew up in Denver, Colorado. Did you find musical theatre or did musical theatre find you?

Annaleigh: I think we came upon each other at the same time My mom is an elementary school gym teacher and my whole family is into sports. But when I was a little girl, I loved to sing and dance and any chance we could get to see anything, I was so excited. My mom made me do track and I hated it! I was so bad. I hated running. I did gymnastics, swimming, I was so over it! I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in dance class and having a singing teacher. I looked up at my mom and said: "It is time." She knew exactly what I meant, so we opened up the Yellow Pages and we flipped to the nearest dance studio it was this really fabulous little ad and it was for Kit Andre's Dance and Performing Arts Center and it was this woman in a top hat, really fabulous.

Eugene: How old were you?

Annaleigh: I was seven; I started taking dance there and I started taking voice lessons with Kit Andre, and she kind of became a grandma to me. She taught me such basic fundamental lessons about singing breathing and a structure of a song. We danced every night. That studio was really into musical theatre. I knew what "All That Jazz" was when I was eight. I knew Fosse and A Chorus Line. I got a really great education there. I had a Liza Minnelli karaoke tape! I had a karaoke machine that I would sing in the front yard with Whitney Houston and Liza. My mom would catch me and ask me to go to the back yard [laughs] But I did my first musical when I was nine it was Ruthless! The Musical. I remember I had a friend come into town and she was a casting director and she called me in and I ended up getting it! It was my first show at a great theatre in Denver (that just closed)! Two of the greatest theatres that I worked in Denver just closed.

Eugene: What a bummer

Annaleigh: It was so strange. I made my Broadway debut and the first theatre I got my Equity card at and the first theatre I worked at closed in the same season. Isn't that weird? I started working here and there, and when I hit thirteen I started doing chorus work. By the time I was sixteen, I got my Equity card playing Sandy in Grease. It was at one of the first Equity dinner theatres in America and they gave so many people their card! I had played Patty there four years ago and I wasn't going to audition because it was my senior year of high school They called me about four days before they opened and said: "Sandy has vertigo and strep throat; we need someone!" I had just found out I was going to Marymount Manhattan College and I told them I needed my Equity card I drove in, listening to the CD on the way there. I learned the show in four days, I got to do it for three months, I got my Equity card, I got to graduate. I started school, and the very first audition I ever went to in the City was for Wicked before they had ever started working on it in the Fall of 2002. I read the break-down and loved it. I went in and it was crazy! I waited four hours; I was like number 463! My line was up and they came out and said: "We've had to cut it back from sixteen-bars to eight-bars." I didn't have an eight-bar song! I was so freaked out! I went in and I sucked I cracked on my last notes I only sang three notes. I picked the wrong song. I got so upset. And then I didn't audition for it again until I auditioned for the road. I'll never forget that It was the first show I ever auditioned for!

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Eugene Lovendusky Eugene Lovendusky graduated summa cum laude from SFSU with a BA in Writing for Electronic Media and a minor in Drama. Raised in the SF Bay Area, his love for the arts bloomed at an early-age; a passion that has flourished in NYC, where Eugene now lives and works. He is a proud member of the New York City Gay Mens' Chorus.