Ashley Brown’s performance on Disney’s Broadway.Alan Menken talks about her career

Ashley Brown made her leading Broadway debut in Mary Poppins, for which she was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role from The Outside Critic, Drama League and Drama Desk. Ms. Brown’s other Broadway credits include Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.” She flew to Japan for her concert “Disney’s Broadway Festival feat. Alan Menken” (Click here for review: Disney’s Broadway Festival feat. Alan Menken) on August 16-18 .

How did you feel when you found out that you were going to participate in this concert?

I love Tokyo. This is actually my third time here, but it was a dream when we put together this concert with all the original Broadway productions from New York and were able to share it with the rest of the world. I love how much the Tokyo audience loves Disney, loves our show, and has a lot of respect for what we’re doing and understands the music…I’ve met a lot of people who come to New York to see our show, but to be able to bring it here is such a blast Eyes, it’s been exciting to see how popular it has been.

How do you feel in Japan now?

I actually have to admit that this is the first time I’ve let myself go out and explore Tokyo. Because as a singer, with travel, and jet lag, sometimes I break a bad habit; get to the hotel, get up, go to the gym, rehearse, and then go back to the hotel. You’re not in “work mode,” which sounds like, “I’m really going to see Japan this time. I’m going to have a lot going on.” So I think this time, I’m going out and exploring this beautiful little place every day. town and beautiful city. I can’t believe it, living in New York City. But I can’t believe how big it is. We all felt so welcome and it’s such a warm and clean place to live! I wish New York or America would cherish cleanliness as much as Tokyo.

I used to live in New York, I loved it and missed it so much, but I understand when you say “clean”.

It’s not even comparable. Seeing here, so many people come to busy big cities, the cleaning ability alone is enough. We can’t get over it!

Has your impression of Japan changed?

Honestly, I think that when you visit different countries, we know as a tourist sometimes ask “Are they happy here?”, I do feel that we really want to embrace this culture, we have very Respect it, I love how warm everyone is to us, to invite us in. We’ve had all different experiences since we’ve been here. I would say, I just feel welcome. Because sometimes I think Americans have a bad reputation.Ha ha

No! !

Some people will say, “They’re too loud and rude,” but that’s not true for all Americans. So my feeling is honest, because sometimes I feel like it’s our reputation, “Not all of us are like that!” ’, like you have to prove it. lol

I think it could be anyone. Japanese people can also be rude. I also think we are too quiet and tend to hide our feelings.

Yes, I understand it might be a little. Definitely different. But I also feel the audience, we noticed that the audience is very engaged, usually when you look at five thousand people, if you’re in America, you see people’s heads moving, people flapping and doing all kinds of things. Here, you just sit back and watch the show. Very refreshing.

Does this make you nervous?

No, it’s just that sometimes I have to get used to being quiet.

What was the hardest part of playing Belle on Beauty and the Beast compared to other characters you’ve played?

Honestly, I think Beauty and the Beast, when I played Belle, was my Broadway debut, so it was my first show in New York. I think the hardest part might be because I’m replacing someone. I’m not the first to play Bale, I only had three weeks of rehearsals, and the cast has been in the works for years. So they all know each other. They are very comfortable. When I joined they were playing eight times a week for many years. So to be honest, it was just a little rehearsal and I had very little experience because it was my first Broadway show. So embarking on something like this without much experience is pretty nerve-wracking, to say the least. Just getting into a group of people who were already close and had friendships, playing the lead role, and I just popped out of nowhere so people would ask, “Who is this girl?”, so it was a fear of having to prove myself and in three weeks Learn to perform. But at the same time, opening night was… it was my dream. This is what I was born to love. I can’t even remember a day when I wanted to do this, so I just tried to get all my attention on this thing, like, “I’m never going to make my Broadway debut again.” Like, “I Gave my whole life to this.” That’s what I dreaded about the show, but it was all the hard work and I was really young at the time. It was a blessing to have such a big breakthrough at such a young age, but it was so worth it that night. Because sometimes when the big moments happen, they kind of lose their minds. I just remember this because that’s what it’s all about. This is my biggest fear.

What about the original cast of “Mary Poppins”?

For Mary Poppins, the fear is endless. It’s a well-loved character, and I like Julie Andrews, but she doesn’t. So just filling in for her, but I knew I had to do it my way, not her way, because she’d done it perfectly and I thought I had to bring myself into the role. Because I don’t want to be “Julie Andrews is Mary Poppins”. “I” has to be Mary Poppins, or it’s fake. Because she is who she is. Only she can do it her way. So I had to build the confidence to make it my own as much as possible. I always say that my most important job on Mary Poppins is making everyone who comes in love her, and my job is making sure they leave feeling the same way. Because people started liking “I Love Mary Poppins.” You just want to leave after two and a half hours, like, “I still love her.”

How do you get through when you have such a difficult time?

In my chosen profession, honestly, as I get older, they still have a tough time. There are many upstairs and downstairs. Lots of rejections. No matter how many shows you do, there will always be ups and downs in your career. I haven’t always been successful but I think work life balance is…I have a family now I have two daughters and a husband and being able to focus on that and they are such a priority matter. I kind of enjoy the different seasons of life. Like sometimes your career is going to flourish and sometimes I’m raising my family and then I just learn to accept it all instead of trying to plan for the future because no one else can.

Do you have anything to say to Japanese fans?

I like you very much. The success of this concert, how much joy it brought us to be here when our 5,000 seat theater was sold out for 3 shows, and we were there. It’s so popular because we care so much about the show. We’ve put in a lot of work, we’re happy to be here, and because of the reception we’ve had, hopefully we’ll come back and we can continue to share these evenings together in music and keep these arrangements with big orchestras. It’s really, really special. What a collaboration between WOWOW, the producers and the New York Disney Theater. I probably don’t even half know what it takes to get us all here. Schedules, flights, logistics, everything, we need to know, all the hard work, years of meetings and emails, we are here. is happening. Then everyone was very supportive and very excited. Like, we sometimes get stopped on the street, “We love this show!”, “We can’t wait!” Very very very sweet. We love Tokyo. We love being in Japan.

Photo Credit: (Jeanne Anderson)

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