BWW Interviews: Ashley Rose Montondo's Guthrie Summer
Ashley Rose Montondo, a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA program in Minneapolis, was cast into the lead role of Elizabeth Bennett in the Guthrie's summer smash, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, starring opposite Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser as Mr. Darcy when the original actor unexpectedly pulled out of the show. It is her first major starring role on the Guthrie stage, though she did have minor roles in a number of prior productions through her college program. Ashley took a few minutes to talk about her experience this summer.
Are you from Minneapolis? If not, where are you from originally?
I'm originally from South Carolina.
As a recent graduate of the U of M/Guthrie BFA program, what has the opportunity to be a part of that program meant for you as an actor in terms of gaining experience and opportunity?
My experience in the program has been invaluable. Ive been able to study with amazing artists and teachers at the Guthrie Theater that have influenced and shaped so much of my work.
You jumped into this role after another actor was unable to do it... how much time did you have to prepare for it?
I had exactly one day before the first day of rehearsal.
Now that you have nearly completed the run of Pride & Prejudice, how has the character of Elizabeth Bennett changed or grown for you?
The role of Elizabeth has settled in lovely way, there is a great ease to her that I've found in the run of the show. I'm amazed by the depths of her heart.
What has been the highlight of this production for you?
The whole experience of putting this production up has been incredible. I've been so lucky to work with an amazing ensemble of actors this whole summer; I cant imagine a better way to have spent my summer than spending it playing every night with my cast and crew.
Was it intimidating to work with an established celebrity actor as your leading man at first?
Not at all. Vincent was so kind and warm to everyone in the room instantly on the first day. He's a great actor and I love having him as my partner.
After nearly two months of doing the same role many times a week, how are you keeping it fresh for new audiences?
My work on deepening my journey as Elizabeth never stops. I'm always working to uncover secrets in the play and when everyone on stage is dedicated to having a great show and supporting one another it always feels fresh.
What's next for you as an actor?
I'll be in PlayLabs at the Playwright's Center (in Minneapolis) in October!
Do you expect to return to the Guthrie or are you planning to continue on with roles in NYC, etc.?
I hope to return to the Guthrie soon, I'm a dedicated Minneapolis artist for now.
When your fans in future years look at this article, what do you want them to learn from you at this point in your career, about you as an actor or anything from this experience?
I love my job as an actor and I love to do it incredibly well and I feel so fortunate to have shared my summer with my ensemble and sharing an amazing love story.