Name: Ashley Mills
Hometown: Bettendorf, IA
Education: B.F.A. in Music Theatre from Viterbo University (La Crosse, Wisconsin)
Select Credits: Regional: Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Dorothy), Annie (Grace); South Korea: Rapunzel in the Wild West (Rapunzel), Alice (Alice), Cinderella and the League of Extraordinary Princes (Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty)
Why theater?: I have a love of community and a fascination with sharing and developing ideas, thoughts, and feelings. I cannot imagine a better way to be able to pursue those!
Who do you play in Rapunzel in the Wild West?: Rapunzel
Tell us about Rapunzel in the Wild West: It’s a musical melodrama that is fun for the whole family! An evil Bandit Queen is stealing money from every town in the West. Rapunzel and her famous, long golden hair must save the day and prove to everyone (especially her mom) that she’s more than just a lady! The audience will get to help Rapunzel defeat the Bandit Queen just in time for Rapunzel’s birthday party!
What is it like being a part of Rapunzel in the Wild West?: This show is incredible and has such a huge place in my heart! At its core, it’s about believing in yourself and fighting to be who you are. I think that message can resonate with anyone, but it’s especially fulfilling to go on Rapunzel’s journey being an artist. As an actor, you’re constantly climbing uphill; facing rejection and hearing people tell you “no” and “you can’t.” To have the opportunity to work through that struggle and prevail every time in this show is a huge inspiration!
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: All kinds! I don’t discriminate! I believe you can find inspiration and truth in the small, the large, the bawdy, and the simple! Children especially inspire me. They are painfully honest and art is all about truth in some way!
Any roles you’re dying to play?: Ah! So many! I feel like people always answer “new ones!” to this questions, and yes, absolutely there is something really exciting and magical about creating a show or character from scratch, but I feel like there are also so many incredible and interesting roles that already exist! I was raised on R&H, so Maria in The Sound of Music and Anna in The King and I have always been up there on my list. Dot in Sunday in the Park With George, Mother in Ragtime...the list goes on and on. Basically I’m drawn to strong, heady women. ;)
What’s your favorite showtune?: “Bring Me to Light” from Violet and “The Carousel Waltz” from Carousel are immediately transporting for me.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Jeanine Tesori. She is a god to me.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Amy Poehler and it would be called “Pursue Your Bliss!” (subtitle: trying to be as cool and empowering as Amy Poehler)
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I have been lucky enough to see a LOT of theatre. The thing that’s coming to mind now is the original cast of Ragtime.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Something Rotten! I think it’s such a valentine to our world and a beautiful celebration of music theatre. Also the revival of The King and I is stunning and pure perfection! I wish I could get tickets to Fun Home!
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Ke$ha
What’s up next?: Vacation hopefully!
For more on Rapunzel in the Wild West, visit www.whatfuntheatre.com and www.facebook.com/WhatFunTheatre