Ashley Brown

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Ashley Brown
Ashley Brown.jpg
Born (1982-02-03) February 3, 1982 (age 38)
OccupationActor, singer, dancer
Years active2004–present
(m. 2011)

Ashley Brown (born February 3, 1982) is an American singer and actress who is best known for playing the titular character in the United States national tour and Broadway productions of Mary Poppins.

Early life[edit]

Brown was born February 3, 1982, in Gulf Breeze, Pensacola, Florida, the youngest of four children. She started singing when she was 6 years old and then started professional singing lessons when she was 14. She studied at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.[1]


Brown initially caught the attention of casting director Tara Rubin not long after graduating from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. After a successful audition, she was cast in the Disney touring production On the Record. This in turn led to her Broadway debut on September 20, 2005, replacing Brooke Tansley as the lead character, Belle, in the Disney Theatrical production of Beauty and the Beast. She departed the role on May 28, 2006, after eight months and she was succeeded by Sarah Litzsinger.

On November 16, 2006, Mary Poppins opened on Broadway with Brown starring as the title character. Brown left the Broadway company on October 5, 2008, after playing the role for two years and was replaced by Scarlett Strallen who previously played the role in the West End.

In March 2007, Brown appeared on All My Children as herself.[2]

On March 11, 2009, Brown reprised the role of Mary Poppins in the US national tour. She left the tour on February 7, 2010, and was succeeded by Caroline Sheen.

On October 20, 2009, Brown performed the role of Snow White in the world symphonic premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – A Symphonic Retelling, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, conducted by John Mauceri.[3]

She has recorded her first solo album of American songbook standards, which was released in January 2010.[4]

Brown played Maria in The Muny production of The Sound of Music, which ran from July 26 to August 1, 2010.[5] For this role she won the Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.[6]

Brown starred as Oona in the world-premiere of the new musical Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin, which ran at the La Jolla Playhouse from September 7 through October 17, 2010.[7]

Brown played the role of Mary Poppins again in the Broadway production from March 8 to July 17, 2011, while Laura Michelle Kelly was away filming a movie.[8]

Brown played Magnolia Hawks alongside Nathan Gunn as Gaylord Ravenal, Alyson Cambridge as Julie LaVerne, and Morris Robinson as Joe, in Francesca Zambello's production of Show Boat for the Lyric Opera of Chicago's, which ran from February 12 to March 17, 2012.[9] It is due to be broadcast on NPR stations on June 16, 2012,[needs update] the first time a complete performance of Show Boat has ever been broadcast on radio.[citation needed]

In 2013, Brown made her sold-out solo Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops[10] as well as having a minor role in the television broadcast The Sound of Music Live!, in which she played Ursula, one of the servants in the Von Trapp household.

In 2015, she sang "A Kiss Goodnight" by Richard M. Sherman, the exit song from Disneyland Forever, a production that commemorated Disneyland's 60th anniversary.[11]

Brown played the Mother Abbess in the national tour of The Sound of Music, which launched September 2015.[12] She then played Mrs. Juniper and Madame Calypso in the 2017 Encores! production of The Golden Apple, and returned to Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops in December 2018.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Brown became engaged to actor Daniel Wisler on April 18, 2010;[15] they married November 5, 2011.[16] Brown gave birth to a baby girl on May 9, 2016.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Show Result
2006 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Mary Poppins Nominated
2006 Austin Critics Table Award Distinguished Performance Mary Poppins Nominated
2006 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Mary Poppins Nominated
2009 PBS Telly Award Film Video – TV Programs, Segements, or Promotional Pieces - Entertainment Ashley Brown: Call Me Irresponsible Won
2010 Kevin Kline Award Best Actress in a Musical Sound of Music Won

Theatre credits[edit]

Year Title Role Venue Other notes
2004 Meet Me in St. Louis Rose The Muny
2005–2006 Beauty and the Beast Belle Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
2006–2008 Mary Poppins Mary Poppins New Amsterdam Theatre Original Broadway cast member
Nominated Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Nominated Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance
Nominated Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical
2010 The Sound of Music Maria The Muny Winner Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
2010 Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin Oona La Jolla Playhouse Out-of-town tryout for Chaplin: The Musical
2011 Mary Poppins Mary Poppins New Amsterdam Theatre Return to role
2012 Show Boat Magnolia Hawks Lyric Opera of Chicago
2013 Oklahoma! Laurey Williams Lyric Opera of Chicago
2013 Hello Dolly! Irene Molloy Goodspeed Opera House
2015 My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle Cape Playhouse[17]
2017 The Golden Apple Mrs. Juniper/Madame Calypso Encores![18]
2019 Cinderella Marie/Fairy Godmother The Muny[19]


Year Tour title Role
2004–2005 On the Record Kristen
2009–2010 Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
2015–2016 The Sound of Music Mother Abbess


Year Title Other notes
2004 Disney's On the Record
2009 Speak Low
2018 The Secret of Christmas


  1. ^ Everett, Carole J. (2009). "University of Cincinnati College—Conservatory of Music". College Guide for Performing Arts Majors: The Real-World Admission Guide for Dance, Music, and Theater Majors. Peterson's. p. 325. ISBN 9780768926989. 'Faculty, Resident Artists, and Alumni' ... Alumni continue to hold key positions in the performing and media arts. Numbered among them are ... musical theatre stars Faith Prince, Lee Roy Reams, Michele Pawk, Jason Graae, Jim Walton, Vicki Lewis, and Ashley Brown.
  2. ^ "In". Soap Opera Weekly. 2007-02-27. p. 5.
  3. ^ "Disney Symphonic Legacy With John Mauceri and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Premieres at Walt Disney Concert Hall 10/20", BroadwayWorld, October 6, 2009
  4. ^ "Ashley Brown Bio". Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. June 19, 2009. Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  5. ^ 2010 Muny Season to Feature Gary Beach, Stephanie J. Block, et. al
  6. ^ Actress Ely wins twice at Kevin Kline Awards
  7. ^ Robert McClure Is Chaplin in Limelight Musical; Ashley Brown, Jenn Colella Among Cast Archived October 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Ashley Brown, Broadway's Original Mary Poppins, to Return to New York Cast in March" Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine, Playbill
  9. ^ Francesca Zambello's Chicago Show Boat Stars Ashley Brown, Nathan Gunn, Alyson Cambridge, Morris Robinson, Playbill. Archived January 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Special Ceremony Commemorates Official 60th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort, Disney Parks Blog, Retrieved July 22, 2015
  12. ^ Ashley Brown, Ben Davis & Newcomer Kerstin Anderson Will Hit the Road in New National Tour of The Sound of Music, Broadwayworld, Retrieved July 21, 2015
  13. ^ Ashley Brown, Lindsay Mendez, Ryan Silverman and More to Lead The Golden Apple at Encores!, BroadwayWorld, Retrieved May 2, 2017
  14. ^ Ahsley Brown returns to Carnegie Hall
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2016-03-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2016-03-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "At Cape Playhouse, Lady is a knockout" by Sandy MacDonald, The Boston Globe, July 31, 2015
  18. ^ [2] Playbill, April 17, 2017
  19. ^ Mikaela Bennett, Jason Gotay, Ashley Brown, Alison Fraser Star in Muny’s Cinderella Playbill, July 8, 2019

External links[edit]