Christopher Ashley

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Christopher Ashley (born July 6, 1964) is an American stage director. Since 2007, he has been the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse.[1]


Ashley graduated from Yale University in 1984, where he studied Math and English.[2][3] In 1997, he completed The Drama League program for directors.[4] He was appointed artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse, California, in 2007.[3]

Ashley directed the musical Memphis, which opened on Broadway in October 2009, receiving the Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Director[5] and Tony Award nomination, Best Direction of a Musical.[6][2] He previously directed the musical Xanadu (2007) on Broadway, receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination, for direction, as well as several other plays and musicals.

He has directed many stage works Off-Broadway, including at the Manhattan Theatre Club. He directed Jeffrey by Paul Rudnick Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in 1993,[7] for which he received the Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Director. He also directed the film version, which was released in 1995.[8]

He directed the Sondheim Kennedy Center Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along in 2002.[9]

He directed the new musical Come from Away, which premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in June 2015,[10] and opened on Broadway in February 2017 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, receiving a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.[11][12][13] He was originally set to direct a film adaptation of the musical, which was canceled on February 2, 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he directed a live stage film recording of the show at the Schoenfeld Theatre in front of an invited audience including survivors and first responders from the 9/11 attacks, which was released on Apple TV+ on September 10, 2021, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the attacks.[14][15][16][17]

He directed the new musical stage version of Freaky Friday, which premiered at the Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia in October 2016.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Ashley is openly gay.[19]


Off-Broadway (select)


  1. ^ "Christopher Ashley Named Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse", April 10, 2007
  2. ^ a b "Christopher Ashley — Nominee for Best Director of a Musical", accessed October 9, 2016
  3. ^ a b Boehm, Mike. "La Jolla Playhouse names artistic director" Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2007
  4. ^ BiographyVariety, accessed June 22, 2009
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew."Memphis, La Cage, Zeta-Jones, Finneran and More Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" Archived 2010-07-21 at the Wayback Machine, May 17, 2010
  6. ^ "Nominations, 2009-10", retrieved May 18, 2010
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Review/Theater; Laughs That Mask the Fears of Gay Manhattan" The New York Times, January 21, 1993
  8. ^ James, Caryn. "Film Review; Comic Side of Sex in Age of AIDS" The New York Times, August 4, 1995
  9. ^ "The Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration", retrieved May 18, 2010
  10. ^ McNulty, Charles. "Generosity overcomes terrorism in unpretentious 'Come From Away'" Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2015
  11. ^ " Come from Away Broadway" Playbill (vault), accessed October 9, 2016
  12. ^ Viagas, Robert. 9/11 Musical 'Come From Away' Books a Broadway Theatre" Playbill, September 15, 2016
  13. ^ a b "Tony Awards 2017: Complete Winners List" Variety, June 11, 2017, retrieved June 15, 2017
  14. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (17 November 2017). "Come From Away Tony Winner Christopher Ashley to Direct Musical's Film Adaptation". Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 2, 2021). "eOne To Make Feature Production Of Tony-Winning Broadway Musical 'Come From Away'".
  16. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (September 10, 2021). "'Come From Away' Review: Looking for Light in Somber Times". The New York Times.
  17. ^ "How Christopher Ashley Got COME FROM AWAY Camera-Ready". Broadway World (with video). September 5, 2021.
  18. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn. "What To Expect from 'Freaky Friday 'the Musical" Playbill, October 4, 2016
  19. ^ Folliard, Patrick (15 March 2010). "Exploring diva worship and gay relationships". Washington Blade. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  20. ^ "List of 2001 Tony Award Winners" The New York Times, May 15, 2001
  21. ^ " 'Blown Sideways Through Life' Film Overview", accessed October 9, 2016
  22. ^ a b Internet Movie Database listing
  23. ^ " 'Jeffrey' Film, 1995", accessed October 9, 2016
  24. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review 'Valhalla'" CurtainUp, February 4, 2004

External links[edit]