Name: Ashley Austin
Major: Theatre and French
Hometown: Potomac, MD
What’s your role in this year’s Dolphin Show, My Fair Lady?
I’m in the Servant’s Chorus, which is a fun group of four girls and two guys that manages the household of Henry Higgins, one of the protagonists of the show. We’re definitely Downton Abbey inspired, by which I mean that we appear very prim and proper on the exterior, but that we know all the dirt and intrigue that goes on in the house as well.
Tell us a little bit about this year’s Dolphin show.
The rehearsal process has been such a blast—the cast, directed by Tristan Powell, has gotten really cohesive and close, and we’ve been given a good sense of Tristan and the artistic team’s ideas for the show. What we keep repeating about our version of My Fair Lady is that it is “the show that you love, but not necessarily the show that you know”. This just means that we’ve taken liberties to exaggerate and heighten reality in our version of My Fair Lady’s world.
How long have you been performing for?
I’ve been in shows since I was little, starting with operas, because my dad is an opera singer. I did theatre and show choir in high school, and a few regional things, but I didn’t begin to take it very seriously until college. Northwestern is the absolute best community if you want to do theatre–I’ve made so many incredible friends and peers through it.
What’s your favorite part about performing in big shows like this?
Being a part of a big show like the Dolphin Show is always extremely special. Specifically, the Dolphin Show is the biggest student-produced musical in the country, and there are over 150 people working on it, from the cast, to the artistic and executive boards, to the marketing and graphic design teams, to the run crew. This is so much more than putting on a show, and we all can feel it.
What’s your favorite part about this specific musical?
Wow, there are too many things. My Fair Lady is a musical with an opinion; everyone in the show has an opinion about everyone else, and they all talk about it. Henry Higgins has an opinion about Eliza, Eliza has an opinion about Henry, Eliza’s father has an opinion about Eliza, and the servants have opinions about all of them. There’s a lot of humor in this show, but there’s also a lot of heart, and I think that’s really clear in our version.
What’s one good reason for Northwestern students to come to the show?
The costumes! And the HATS. Cassie Bowers has outfitted every person with handmade, gorgeous hats to go along with the stunning costume pieces designed by Chelsea Taylor. We have really whimsical, striking costumes that are fun to wear and fun to watch on stage. Just you wait.