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Alumna Spotlight: Ashley Koon

Ashley KoonName: Ashley Koon

Graduation Year: 2016

Degree Received: BFA Theatre

Why did you chose to attend WVU?

West Virginia University is the heart of my hometown. When I was in high school I started seeing shows at WVU's Creative Arts Center and started to take WVU more seriously as an option for school. The level of talent I saw on stage, the attention to detail in their show designs, and the clear direction of each show convinced me that WVU was the right choice for me.

What is your profession now?

I am a working actor with a great day job. I am lucky to have be consistently booking work since graduating WVU! During the day I am the Marketing Coordinator for a semi-professional theatre.

What is your most interesting current/upcoming project?

I am so excited to be working at ArtsWest in Seattle in their production of Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre was written by John Caird and composed by Paul Gordon and was on Broadway in 2000. The original version of the musical calls for a huge ensemble and orchestra, so John Caird and Paul Gordon have written a new version of the musical that only requires 10 actors. Since this is the West Coast premier of the show, we have a lot of liberty with this show, almost all of the actors are on stage the entire time. It has been so exciting getting to work on this show that is full of brand new scenes and songs and getting to carve out how this show works and flows with our director, Mathew Wright. Since there are new songs in this version of the musical, music director Chris DiStefano, has paid extra attention to detail so audiences won't miss a single lyric. Louis Hobson is playing our male lead, Edward Rodchester. Louis was in the original broadway cast of Next to Normal and Bonnie and Clyde. Getting to work with Louis has been so useful as a new actor on the scene. Watching the way him and our Jane Eyre, Chelsea LaValley, create their roles, shape songs, and work on scenes has been a truly amazing experience. 

Jane Eyre runs November 15 - December 23, with possible extension. 

Jane EyreHow do you feel WVU and the College of Creative Arts prepared you for your career?

When I graduated WVU I felt ready to go out and start making a career. WVU's Theatre program is designed in such a way that when you graduate, you have done something in every part of theatre. In my time at WVU, I learned how to build a set, paint a set, make a costume, style a wig, do my own stage make up in many different ways, assistant stage manage a show, and even house manage. I knew that with all these skills, plus voice lessons, dance classes, and acting classes, I could make it in the real world as an actor. WVU gave me the confidence in myself, and refinement in my talent that I needed to make my dream a reality. I still have a long way to go, but I am thankful for what I learned at WVU to get me here! 

*Jane Eyre photo credit: John McLellan