Annaleigh Ashford back on Broadway in ‘Kinky Boots’

Annaleigh Ashford

Annaleigh Ashford

Annaleigh Ashford is back on Broadway this spring with Kinky Boots which started previews yesterday, March 3. The musical opens at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4. Since her Broadway debut in 2007, Ashford hit the ground running, filling the shoes of some of the most coveted characters in modern musical theatre.

Names like Maureen, Galinda, Jeanie, and Elle can cause young performers’ hearts to skip a beat as they envision themselves in these “dream roles.” To Ashford, however, these legendary characters are people she’s brought to life, second nature to her in a career that is already much more storied than that of some performers who are three times her age. After performing in Rent, Wicked, Hair, and Legally Blonde, all before the age of 25, it’s captivating to imagine what else she may have in store.

Ashford didn’t end up with such an enviable resume without hard work. She knew early on that she wanted to act, and graduated from high school a year early to start living her dream . A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College’s theatre department, Ashford finished her bachelor’s degree in three years so she could start working professionally as quickly as possible–the rest is history.

Fresh out of college, Ashford was soon cast in the ensemble of the national tour of Wicked, where she understudied Galinda. She made her Broadway debut in 2007 as an original cast member in Legally Blonde the Musical. She also understudied the starring role of Elle Woods, played by fellow blonde Laura Bell Bundy. That same year, she left Legally Blonde and the Palace Theater to move to the Gershwin, where she took on the role of Galinda in the Broadway production of Wicked.

Shortly after she graced Oz’s famous flying bubble, the tribe at Hair needed an actress to step into the role of Jeanie. Ashford, who has ingénue looks, yet a quirky, comedic ability, was naturally the girl for the job.

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About Claire H.

Writer, performer, picture-taker, New Yorker. Find me on Twitter at @Claire_Hannum.

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