It’s a tough job, but someones got to do it, and the task of ‘playing’ Frankie Valli’s girlfriend in the hit musical Jersey Boys now falls to the talented Ashley Hale. Thanks go to Ashley for taking the time to provide us with such an interesting interview. Scroll down to read what she had to say about her background, joining the cast of Jersey Boy’s, and who she admires in the musical theatre world.
1 a) Ashley Hale may not be a familiar name to some of us, so what can
you tell us about yourself?
I was born in Chicago, USA and grew up in Edinburgh, and a tiny village in Glasgow. I started dancing aged 2 and trained at the Dance School of Scotland, and Laine Theatre Arts. I have travelled all over the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Scandinavia with my work in Musical Theatre. I have lived in London for quite a few years now and still absolutely love it.
1b) Do you have any party tricks/ hidden talents, items which you can’t live without, or guilty pleasures?
I love learning languages and accents, I find it fascinating and also very useful! I play the clarinet, not very well though.I also have two passports, British and American meaning I can work in the States, which is pretty cool. I hope to go there next year, if I find the right job.
I can’t live without high heels! I wear them practically every day and gorgeous shoes always make me smile. I really enjoy going to the gym for a work out when it’s nice and quiet for some ‘me time,’ but that should always be followed by a great chat with friends over good coffee or a sneaky glass of wine.
2) You’ve been involved in a lot of dance themed/ related projects in the past, do you have a favourite style of dancing?
One of my favourite things to do is go to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and watch my friend Laura dance. She is in the Royal Ballet and we were at school together. I trained in ballet all my life so it will always be special to me. Great choreography that is challenging and passionate will always be good for the soul. My
ultimate dance piece is the Havana scene from Guys and Dolls, choreographed by Rob Ashford, just perfection. The musical arrangement by David Chase was wonderful. It was a privilege to be The Havana Girl every night in that show.
3) Do you have any tips for anyone interested in dance, musical theatre etc? How much do you feel your training has helped you?
If you have genuine talent and passion then this can be such a rewarding job, but you have to be strong minded too as it can be tough as well. My classical dance technique has been invaluable in my career so far. At Musical Theatre College you not only train in dance, singing and acting, but find out how important other factors are such as hard work, discipline, drive and motivation.
4) Do you have a favourite audition piece when you are going for roles?
It is important to have a wide portfolio of songs as you never know what could be asked of you, but you do end up using a handful of songs that really show off your voice. Script is normally sent out before the audition so you get a chance to play around with it, that’s always fun.
5) Who do you admire in the theatre/ musical/ music world?
We have so many amazing people in the theatre, you are never short of inspiration. I saw Judi Dench in a play for the Donmar two weeks ago and she was incredible. She had such effortless star quality. I’m reading Julie Andrews biography and she is another inspirational performer with an excellent career in music, musicals and film. I was on such a high leaving a Jason Mraz concert last week; he is such a motivational, positive song writer. I warm up to his songs everyday right now.
6) Are there any titbits you could pass on about your character in Jersey Boys?
I play Lorraine, Frankie Valli’s girlfriend in the show. She is an intelligent career girl and unlike the other characters in the play, she is not from New Jersey. She cannot understand this ‘neighbourhood code’ the boys seem to live by and ultimately she leaves Frankie, knowing she will always come second to his Jersey Boys. It is bizarre
to be playing characters based on real people, most of whom are alive
7) If you could issue an award to another member of the cast or crew, who would it be, and what would the award be for?
I could be here all day! As I’m fairly new to the cast, it is great getting to know such lovely people. Everyone is very individual and extremely gifted in their own way. We have a brilliant cast and crew and I’ve been made to feel very welcome in Jersey Boys. The cast are wonderfully talented and it’s inspirational to be working with them
8) How would you sum up Jersey Boys to someone who hasn’t seen it yet?
Our show is the story of four boys from New Jersey coming together through music and their incredible roller coaster ride to stardom as the Four Seasons. It’s a fast paced musical with amazing music and incredible performances that is wonderful to watch and thrilling to perform.
9) One for the girls, who would be your ideal leading man?
I’ve already worked with Patrick Swayze who is such a beautiful man, inside and out. I danced with Adam Cooper which was a dream come true. Otherwise, it would be great to work with Hugh Jackman, I saw him in Oklahoma and he was brilliant. John Travolta is awesome, such charisma and very sexy. Saturday Night Fever was my first job and watching him in the movie is some of the easiest research I’ve ever done. Our leading men in Jersey Boys are all fantastic too and very sweet which is good for the show, the audience and me!
10) If you were to set a musical theatre or dance style task on a reality show like Big Brother or The Apprentice what would it be?
I would love contestants on The Apprentice to cast, design, direct and perform their own musical (anyone would need a whole series!) so they would understand how much effort and hard work is involved. Every tiny detail is thought through on a great show like Jersey Boys and it shows in the end product. It’s all about the balance of letting the audience believe it’s happening for the first time in front of their eyes and
making it look easy. To get to that point you need talented people in every department and a wonderful cast of people committed to creating the magic.
At the time of going to press the Jersey Boy’s cast will be, as Ashley says “committed to creating the magic” until March 2010. Get your tickets now from www.jerseyboyslondon.com. Keep your eyes on music.co.uk for more from the West End soon.
Click here to read an interview with Mark Carroll from Jersey Boys.