Ashley Park (actress)
Park in May 2018
Ashley Jini Park
June 6, 1991
|Alma mater||Pioneer High School|
University of Michigan
Ashley Jini Park (born June 6, 1991) is an American actor, dancer, and singer. She is known for her work on Broadway as Tuptim in the 2015 revival of The King and I and for originating the role of Gretchen Wieners in the 2018 Tony-nominated musical, Mean Girls, for the latter of which she received Drama Desk Award and Tony Award nominations.
Early life and education
She was placed in dance classes at the Oceanside Dance Academy at age 3 and began piano lessons at age 5. Park's love of performing led her to participate in Ann Arbor's community kids’ theatre throughout middle school and high school. She also attended Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in 2003. Park attended Pioneer High School where she participated in both theatre and choir. She also co-founded a women's a cappella group at Pioneer High School, Soulfege, which placed second at a national competition in 2009.
During her sophomore year in high school at age 15, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was hospitalized for 8 months. Park was a recipient of a "wish" from the Make-A-Wish Foundation for which she and her family went to New York City and saw the Broadway productions of A Chorus Line, The Lion King, Spring Awakening, and Wicked. In interviews she has stated, "My cancer experience is, I think, the reason I do theater...As soon as I was out of the hospital, all I wanted to do is be around people." After chemotherapy, Park returned to high school, and three months later, she was cast as the lead role of Millie Dillmount in her high school's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Park has disclosed that during this time, “putting on a wig and putting on shoes and costume and being a different person was the best escape from being just the girl who had cancer.”
She graduated from Pioneer High School in 2009 and then attended the University of Michigan, earning a BFA in musical theatre from the School of Music, Theater, and Dance in 2013. During her undergraduate years, she co-founded the Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop (MPOW).
In the summer of 2009, Park was cast as Yvonne and an ensemble member in the Music Theatre Wichita production of Miss Saigon in Wichita, Kansas. Park spent the next two summer seasons performing in various productions at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera during which she earned her Equity card.
Park made her Broadway debut as a member of the ensemble in Mamma Mia! at the Broadhurst Theatre on February 17, 2014. She left the production on September 21, 2014. From October 2014 to January 2015, Park portrayed Gabrielle in the original U.S national touring company of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella.
Park then returned to Broadway on April 16, 2015 in her first leading role as Tuptim in the 2015 revival of The King and I at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and remained with the production until its closing on June 26, 2016. Park was featured as a principal soloist on the cast recording for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award.
In the fall of 2017, Park portrayed MwE in the off-Broadway musical, KPOP, at the Ars Nova. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and a Drama League Award and also won a Lucille Lortel Award for this role. Park left the production in October 2017 due to her beginning rehearsals for the Mean Girls out-of-town tryout and was replaced by Marina Kondo.
Park starred as Gretchen Wieners in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical, Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey with music and lyrics by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin, respectively. The show had its world premiere as an out-of-town tryout at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. from October 31, 2017 to December 3, 2017 in which Park originated the role of Gretchen Wieners. The musical, which is based on the film of the same name, began previews on March 12, 2018, and officially opened on Broadway on April 8, 2018 at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City. She received nominations for numerous awards for her role as Gretchen Wieners, including nominations for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, the Drama League Award, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. In May 2018 Park was awarded the Clarence Derwent Award, an honor "given to the most promising female and male performers" in New York City, by the Actors’ Equity Foundation, along with Sean Carvajal. On March 10, 2019, Park left the production and was replaced by Krystina Alabado.
In June 2019, it was announced that Park would headline a "revamped" production of Thoroughly Modern Millie from May 6-10, 2020 for New York City Center Encores!. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production was cancelled, and ticket refunds were offered to the public.
As a student at the University of Michigan, Park was the co-founder of the Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop (MPOW), a student-run organization with the purpose of bringing performing arts educational opportunities to students in southeastern Michigan to, "foster creative expression, build self-esteem, and strengthen the community." MPOW hosts an on-campus workshop each semester for 130-200 public school students that includes performances by University of Michigan students as well as immersive and collaborative workshops in all arts-based disciplines. In 2013 Park was awarded with the Willis Patterson Diversity Award for using her "talents and scholarly abilities to enhance the development of, and appreciation for, a more culturally and ethnically diverse community in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance" at the University of Michigan.
During her undergraduate, Park was also involved with the Prison Creative Arts Project, an organization that engages "those impacted by the justice system into artistic collaboration" with University of Michigan students for "mutual learning and growth through theatre, dance, visual art, creative writing, slam poetry, and music" in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Since moving to NYC, Park has participated in events supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). In June 2018, she participated in the 28th annual Broadway Bares, an annual burlesque/striptease show fundraiser for BCEFA and personally raised nearly $3,000 for the organization. In August 2018 Park participated in Covenant House's Stage & Screen Sleep Out along with Mean Girls co-stars Kyle Selig and Curtis Holland, and together they raised over $14,000 for this organization which provides shelter, food, and crisis care for the homeless and runaway youth.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Park set up a second Instagram account from which she began offering ten minute one-on-one lessons and daily question and answer sessions via Zoom in exchange for donations to the Actors Fund.
|2009||Miss Saigon||Yvonne/Ensemble||Music Theatre Wichita||Darren Lee|
|2010||Benedum Center||Barry Ivan|
|2011||Jekyll & Hyde||Ensemble||Robert Cuccioli|
|Jesus Christ Superstar||Herod's Girl/Ensemble||Charles Repole|
|Love Changes Everything||Ensemble||Louanne Madorma|
|The Sound of Music||Ensemble||James Brennan|
|2014||Mamma Mia!||Ensemble (replacement)||Broadhurst Theatre||Phyllida Lloyd|
|Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella||Gabrielle||U.S. National Tour||Mark Brokaw|
|2015–16||The King and I||Tuptim||Vivian Beaumont Theater||Bartlett Sher|
|2016||The Fantasticks||Luisa||Pasadena Playhouse||Seema Sueko|
|The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen||Voyaging Moon||Manhattan Theatre Club||Brian Hill|
|2017||Sunday in the Park with George||Celeste #1/Theresa||Hudson Theatre||Sarna Lapine|
|Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure||Marian||Dallas Theater Center||Douglas Carter Beane|
|KPOP||MwE||Ars Nova||Teddy Bergman|
|Mean Girls||Gretchen Wieners||National Theatre (out-of-town tryout)||Casey Nicholaw|
|2018–19||August Wilson Theatre|
|2019||Lady in the Dark||Miss Foster/Sutton||New York City Center||Ted Sperling|
|2019–20||Grand Horizons||Jess||Hayes Theater||Leigh Silverman|
|2020||Thoroughly Modern Millie (cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic)||Millie Dillmount||New York City Center||Lear deBessonet|
• Credits in bold indicate Broadway production(s)
|2012||Charlene Kaye: Human||Statue|
|The V Card||Jessica|
|2014||Are You Joking?||Date|
|2014||My Dirty Little Secret||Ann Racz||1 episode|
|2017||Nightcap||Olivia Cho||8 episodes|
|2018||Saturday Night Live||Herself (uncredited)||1 episode, "Tina Fey"|
|2019||Tales of the City||Jennifer 'Ani' Winter||7 episodes|
|Untitled ABC Project||Winnie||Created by Jessica Gao|
|2020||Emily in Paris||Mindy Chen|
- The King and I - The 2015 Broadway Cast Recording (2015)
- Sunday in the Park with George - 2017 Broadway Cast Recording (2017)
- The Greatest Showman - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2017)
- Mean Girls - Original Broadway Cast Recording (2018)
- Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Volume 17 (2015)
- Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Volume 20 (2018)
As featured artist
- "Rockin' Around the Pole" by The Hot Elves (2018)
Awards and nominations
|Grammy Awards||Best Musical Theater Album||The King and I||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||KPOP||Nominated|
|Lucille Lortel Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical||Won|
|Drama League Awards||Distinguished Performance||Nominated|
|Tony Awards||Best Featured Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography||Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show||Nominated|
Special honors and awards
- 2013 – Willis Patterson Diversity Award
- 2018 – Clarence Derwent Award
- 2019 – Cancer Support Community's Marin Mazzie Award for Empowerment
- "Hamilton Wins Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album". Playbill. February 15, 2016.
- Snyder, Diane (June 8, 2018). "My Road to the Tonys: 'Mean Girls' Star Ashley Park". Billboard.
- "Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Ashley Park & More Join Cast of THE KING AND I Broadway Revival; Full Company Announced!". Broadway World. November 17, 2014.
- "Interview with Mean Girls star Ashley Park". New York Theatre Guide. June 20, 2018.
...an ever-growing success story for the Glendale, California native...
- Franklin, Marc J. (August 7, 2018). "Visit the Farmers Market With Mean Girls' Ashley Park". Playbill.
- Sullivan, Lindsey (May 26, 2018). "You Can Sit with Her! Tony Nominee Ashley Park Opens Up About Connections, Going Back to High School in Mean Girls & Her Amazing Year". Broadway.com.
- Jourdan, Jane (January 30, 2016). "#FFB: Ashley Park". Fit For Broadway.
- Mullen, Matt (May 1, 2018). "The scene stealer: Ashley Park". Interview Magazine.
- "Interlochen alumni among 2018 Tony Awards nominees". Interlochen Center for the Arts.
- "Show Photos: Pioneer High School Theatre Guild". Pioneer High School Theatre Guild.
- "Soulfege". Pioneer Choirs.
- Gioia, Michael (April 13, 2016). "Stars of The King and I Reflect on Surviving Their Toughest Battle: Cancer". Playbill.
- Blank, Matthew (April 21, 2015). "Cue & A: King and I Star Ashley Park on Bartlett Sher, Onstage Tumbles and the Time She Played Stevie Wonder". Playbill.
Park made her Broadway debut in Mamma Mia!...
- Mathis, Jo C. (November 3, 2007). "Pioneer High actress refuses to let cancer slow her down". MLive.
- "Musical Theatre Students Launch Outreach Organization". Michigan Muse. Spring 2012.
- "MISS SAIGON Comes To MTWichita Through 7/26". Broadway World. July 26, 2009.
- "Ashley Park". Pittsburgh CLO.
- "Ashley Park - Performer". Internet Broadway Database.
- "Additional casting has been announced for the national tour of CINDERELLA". Rodgers and Hammerstein. July 28, 2014.
- Rooney, David (June 6, 2016). "Broadway's 'The King and I' Sets June Closing". Billboard.
- Gioia, Andrew (January 23, 2017). "Complete Cast Announced for Broadway Revival of Sunday in the Park With George". Playbill.
- Levitt, Hayley (February 19, 2017). "A New Sunday in the Park With George Redraws Lines and Reunites Old Costars". Theater Mania.
- Clement, Olivia (July 12, 2017). "Ars Nova's KPOP to Include Ashley Park, Jason Tam, and Beyoncé Back-Up Dancer Ebony Williams". Playbill.
- "SpongeBob SquarePants Leads 2018 Drama Desk Awards". Playbill. June 3, 2018.
- Lefkowitz, Andy (May 6, 2018). "Ashley Park, Billy Crudup, Carrie Coon & More Win 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards". Broadway.com.
- McPhee, Ryan (April 18, 2018). "Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield, Laurie Metcalf Among 2018 Drama League Award Nominees". Playbill.
- Clement, Olivia (October 9, 2017). "Marina Kondo Steps Into KPOP Lead as Ashley Park Leaves for Mean Girls". Playbill.
- "Tony Awards 2018: See the Full List of Nominees Here". Vogue. June 7, 2018.
- Vine, Hannah (February 2, 2018). "See Who's Bringing Mean Girls to Broadway". Playbill.
- McPhee, Ryan (July 27, 2017). "Mean Girls Musical Finds Its Plastics in Taylor Louderman and Ashley Park; Additional Casting Announced". Playbill.
- "Erika Henningsen, Taylor Louderman, Ashley Park and Kate Rockwell to Play 'The Plastics' in Broadway-Bound MEAN GIRLS Musical; Cast Announced!". Broadway World. July 27, 2017.
- Vine, Hannah (April 8, 2018). "Inside the Mean Girls Opening Night on Broadway". Playbill.
- Lefkowitz, Andy (May 8, 2018). "Ashley Park & Sean Carvajal Win 2018 Clarence Derwent Awards; Margaret Colin & Michael Potts Honored with Richard Seff Awards". Broadway.com.
- Lefkowitz, Andy (February 12, 2019). "Krystina Alabado to Join Mean Girls on Broadway; Ashley Park Sets Exit Date". Broadway.com.
- Levitt, Hayley (June 3, 2019). "Ashley Park to Star in Revamped Thoroughly Modern Millie". Theater Mania.
- Lefkowitz, Andy (March 28, 2020). "Ashley Park-Led Thoroughly Modern Millie Canceled at City Center Encores!". Broadway.com.
- "The Team". MPOW.
Founders: Ashley Park and Laura Reed
- "eMPOWer". MPOW.
- "Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop". Maize Pages.
- "2013 SMTD Commencement Award Winners Announced". School of Music, Theatre & Dance - University of Michigan. March 20, 2013.
The Williis Patterson Diversity Award – Ashley Park (Musical Theatre)
- "Mission & Core Values". LSA Prison Creative Arts Project.
- "Prison Creative Arts Project". University of Michigan Arts & Culture.
- "STAGE TUBE: Ashley Park and Taylor Louderman Duet on Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face' at BROADWAY SESSIONS". Broadway World. July 11, 2013.
- "Stars from THE BOYS IN THE BAND, Ashley Park, and More to Appear at BROADWAY BARES: GAME NIGHT". Broadway World. June 14, 2018.
- "Ashley Park's fundraising page". Broadway Bare Stripathon.[permanent dead link]
- "Covenant House Sleep Out: Mean Girls Team Page". Covenant House Sleep Out.
- "Gathered NYC". The Broadway Collective.
- "Photo Flash: Broadway Workshop Celebrates MEAN GIRLS Day With Ashley Park, Erika Henningsen, and More!". Broadway World. January 30, 2019.
- "VIDEO: Ashley Park Shares Rehearsal Audio of Thoroughly Modern Millie at City Center". Broadway World. May 6, 2020.
- McKee, Jenn (February 10, 2015). "Pioneer High and U-M grad Ashley Park will have a key role in Broadway revival of 'The King and I'". MLive.
- Schwartz, Jonas (September 22, 2016). "Reviews: The Fantasticks". Theater Mania.
- "Ashley Park, Paolo Montalban and More Set for 'PRINCE JEN' Reading in NYC". Broadway World. November 1, 2016.
- Kaplan, Betsy (July 25, 2017). "Read Reviews for the Broadway-Aimed Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure". Playbill.
- Gans, Andrew (April 25, 2019). "Tony Winner Victoria Clark Is a Lady in the Dark April 25–27 at New York City Center". Playbill.
- McPhee, Ryan (August 5, 2019). "Michael Urie, Thomas Sadoski, Ashley Park, More to Star in Broadway's Grand Horizons". Playbill.
- "Ashley Park - IMDb". IMDb.
- Slagter, Martin (June 5, 2017). "Ann Arbor actress Ashley Park to make TV debut in 'Nightcap'". MLive.
- "Mean Girls - SNL". YouTube. May 19, 2018.
- Petski, Denise (October 16, 2018). "Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City: Paul Gross To Reprise Role In Netflix Revival; Full Cast Set". Deadline Hollywood.
- Gans, Andrew (March 12, 2019). "Mean Girls Tony Nominee Ashley Park Lands Role in ABC Comedy Pilot". Playbill.
- "Untitled Jessica Gao/ABC Project (TV Movie) - IMDb". IMDb.
- Petski, Denise (August 13, 2019). "Ashley Park to Co-Star in Darren Star's Paramount Network Series 'Emily in Paris'". Deadline Hollywood.
- Hetrick, Adam (June 1, 2015). "See Kelli O'Hara and King and I Cast Record Lavish New Broadway Cast Album With 29-Piece Orchestra!". Playbill.
- Lenker, Maureen Lee (September 22, 2017). "Jake Gyllenhaal's Sunday in the Park with George cast album is out and you can listen now". Entertainment Weekly.
- Weatherby, Taylor (May 3, 2018). "'Mean Girls' Musical Unveils Latest Track From Cast Recording Album, 'Apex Predator': Listen". Billboard.
- Rickwald, Bethany (November 3, 2015). "Broadway's Carols for a Cure Volume 17 Is Now Available". Theater Mania.
- Hetrick, Adam (November 19, 2018). "Casts of Mean Girls, Frozen, Dear Evan Hansen, and Pretty Woman Featured on 2018 Carols For a Cure". Playbill.
- Nelson, Jeff (December 7, 2018). "The Mean Girls Musical Releases Music Video for Holiday Song 'Rockin' Around the Pole'". PEOPLE.
- McPhee, Ryan (May 7, 2018). "'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child', 'My Fair Lady' Win Big at 2018 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Playbill.
- McPhee, Ryan (April 27, 2018). "Carousel, Once On This Island Among 2018 Chita Rivera Award Nominations". Playbill.
- Lefkowitz, Andy (March 13, 2019). "Ashley Park to Receive Inaugural Marin Mazzie Award for Empowerment". Broadway.com.
- Current Biography (Vol. 79, No. 10 ed.). October 2018. pp. 68–71.