For performer Ashley Brown, Broadway's original Mary Poppins, getting to reopen the New Amsterdam on Broadway is “a dream.”
Brown is helping reopen Disney theatrical's home with a show called "Live at the New Am: A Benefit Concert for The Actors Fund."
"We're just ready for a night of celebration," said Brown. "And I'm sure there'll be tears, ‘cause, you know, it's all super exciting, but I think they'll be happy tears. We're doing 'Go the Distance' from Hercules, A Star is Born. It's every Disney on Broadway song that you know and love. Also Josh Strickland, who's the original Tarzan, will be there; Michael James Scott, who's the genie in Aladdin, and Kissy Simmons, who was Nala in Lion King. We're of course singing from all four of those musicals, but we're also doing some Aida, some Hercules, some Little Mermaid. I mean, every Disney on Broadway show will be represented. And this show, this version of the concert is probably the most uplifting, upbeat, most positive version of the show."
Brown makes a living performing and does a lot of concerts. But all of her concert gigs were canceled last year. How did that affect her?
"Oh, I'll try not to get emotional, but it was hard, you know?" she said. "I think, you know, I don't know if any other business, other than being in live performance, that they're like, 'Broadway is closed. Concerts are done.' It was just overnight. Like the band-aid was just like - whoosh! There is no working from home for us. It almost felt like I was handcuffed, like, I can't do what I do."
Ashley Brown has a young daughter. When I asked her if her daughter knows that mom was Beauty in Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins on Broadway she responded, "She's five, so she's definitely getting there. She's extremely sassy and all knowing, I don't know where she gets it from. She will be at the New Am to see me in concert, and I'm so super emotional about that because she'll come to the Sunday matinee just because obviously she wasn't here when I was playing Mary Poppins, and I always thought, I was like, 'I wonder if my daughter will ever get to see me on Broadway, you know?' Nothing is ever promised or for sure, so when this came up I said to Daniel, my husband, I was like, 'She gets to see me.' My heart is going to be on that stage."