Back in New York!

“Give me such shows — give me the streets of Manhattan!” Walt Whitman

Sailing out of Manhattan, October 2013

After another healthy dose of sailing around the world, this chick has decided to put away the luggage [for now] and settle back into New York City living.  I just got back to Astoria early yesterday morning, and after a decent nap, I reentered society via a soft-opening for a friend’s new shuffleboard club in Brooklyn. Seriously, GET THYSELF to this amazing place now. The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club was the ultimate “welcome home to New York City after cruising.” It was a great night catching up with friends, pushing biscuits around (don’t worry, you’ll learn what that means after your first shuffleboard lesson), having some fun cocktails and eating delicious Crif dog. By the way, the cool thing about this venue is they have a garage on the side that connects to the venue, so they will have different food truck providing a multitude of NYC options every single night.  Last night I went for Crif Dog’s famous “Spicy Redneck” – dear lord, so good, and so outside of my January 2014 calorie window.  Screw that.  So worth it.

So yeah, I’m back.  I was laughing as I looked back on my last post, which was soy long ago.  Yes, I’m talking like Ja’ime from Ja’mie: Private School Girl, my newest television obsession. So I tried to write a blog post while at sea, and yeah yeah yeah blah blah blah it’s hard to get internet wah wah wah.  And I never finished that blog post.  I kept putting it off longer and longer, blaming my computer that couldn’t upload my photos, etc etc.  But I thought I might post what I at least started to write, right?  With commentary of 2013 Ashley, by 2014 Ashley.

Have I seriously not updated this blog since August?  Oh that’s embarrassing.  Yes, Ashley, yes it is. One of my fellow singers on the ship reminded me, “You have to update your blog at least every three days or it’s just unprofessional.”  Yikes.  It’s not like I’ve visited a dozen different countries since then or anything. And now that total is up to 27, 20 of which you had never been to before this contract.

I am so blessed to be back at sea on the Silver Whisper.  I embarked the ship on September 2nd in Stockholm, Sweden, nearly missing the ship after an absent captain on Delta Airlines. Thankfully I made it in time and was greeted by a very excited cast of singers eager to bring me on board and show me around the Baltic on their last cruise. How lucky am I that when I wasn’t training to be the company manager I was visiting Estonia, Russia, Finland, Germany and Holland! I had a great time eating out in the restaurants and attending all the shows like a guest as I wasn’t starting my performance contract until September 12th with the rest of the new cast in Southampton, England. It was spectacular to actually watch the shows for the first time and see what all the fuss was about. They were great! Soy true, this company is a talented bunch.

And in terms of travel on this cruise I got to see some great places. My first day we came to Tallinn, Estonia, and myself and two other singers went for an amazing home-style lunch at a restaurant charmingly called “Mama’s Kitchen.” Krystle and Vince, two of my faves in the company. The food was great! Next we were off to St. Petersburg, Russia, where we overnighted and I was able to visit Saint Catherine’s Palace with its famous “Amber Room.” Helsinki, Finland was our next port of call – a gorgeous place with beautiful people and delicious strawberries! Then we went on to mein Heimat, Deutschland! The end.

Oh Ash, if only you could commit to one thing long enough to fini-

Just kidding.

But seriously, folks.  I went on to experience such a great four months of cruising and singing. We had unbelievably rough seas as we crossed the Atlantic to Iceland, saw glorious icebergs and scenery in the fjords of Greenland, sailing through the most spectacular autumn colors in Canada, ate more lobster than you can imagine in New England, sailing in and out of New York City (SOOOO INCREDIBLE), celebrated Halloween with an overnight in Bermuda, swam/snorkeled/tanned/relaxed our way through the Caribbean, and finished with a beautiful Panama Canal transit from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles.  All in all, it was a great experience with talented people. I made so many new friends – cast, crew and guests alike, and can’t wait to reconnect with everyone now that I’m back on terra firma. I also enjoyed pushing myself more creatively by writing new music and even performing a new song with the band during my cabaret show. I actually recorded one of the performances with Vince’s camera and extracted the audio here.  So for all you friends who kept asking me to record it, this is the best I could do for now!

I hope you liked that.  Oy vey I get so nervous about posting things like this!

Anyhoo, it’s great to be back.  I’ve got my wrap dresses and character shoes out.  I’ve renewed my subscription to Backstage and taken the dust cover off the keyboard. I’ve printed out new resumes and ordered new marketing materials from Vista Print.  So yeah, I’m available and I want to WORK. Let’s do this, 2014.


I was chatting today with my friend Sandy (who I’ve been working for since returning to the city and who designs the COOLEST jewelry ever – check out her facebook page here) about the amazing NYC theater experience, Sleep No More. Seriously, I could write pages and pages about how in love with this show I am, but I’ll save that for a rainy day.  It’s difficult to explain if you’ve never gone, but it’s an open house cum 360 degree, six floor stage that serves as a setting to a modern and avant garde interpretation of Macbeth.  Actors wander the space, creating scenes sporadically and effortlessly, and the “audience,” uniformly clad in spooky masks, voyeuristically inhabits and experiences the world around them.  If you’re lucky, and feeling open, you may have the luxury (or personal terror) of a one-on-one experience with an actor or scene.  It’s difficult to explain.  Basically, get your tickets now. Anyhow, when I went last year, I had not one, not two, but three bizarre experiences that were just for me and my entertainment (or anxiety).  Why was I chosen in these different situations? How was I so lucky?

I’ve always been one of the people that tourists, or anyone for that matter, come up to in asking directions, advice, etcetera.  I’m generally the one that takes pictures for strangers.  That zips up people in Gap dressing rooms.  Yes, I shop at the Gap.  People frequently ask how they know me because I look familiar “for some reason.”  People seem to feel comfortable around me – I’ve had some deep dark secrets confessed to me by people that I hardly know.  Whatever all this is, it cracks me up.  The more I get to know myself, mainly through my acting classes, singing, living in New York, the more I am realizing that I am truly an “attractive” person.  Hear me out.  I’m not saying that I’m Charlize Theron.  I’m breaking down the literal meaning of the word.  Okay – I’ll say it right now:  I loathe writers who quote the dictionary – it feels very sixth grade speech competition.  (Yes, I used that particular device in my school district second place-winning speech, “I Have A Concern.”)  But what exactly does the word “attractive” mean?  Cue the cheesy music and groans of all readers donning monocles.

at·trac·tive [uhtrak-tiv] adjective
1.  providing pleasure or delight, especially in appearance or manner; pleasing; charming; alluring: an attractive personality.
2.  arousing interest or engaging one’s thought, consideration, etc.: an attractive idea; an attractive price.
3.  having the quality of attracting.

There’s something outlandish and exciting about this for me.  I don’t usually look in the mirror and think, “goddamn I look hot tonight!”  But I do often acknowledge the fact that I have amazing people in my life, interesting situations coming at me all the time, artistic opportunities flying at my head, and yes – strangers asking how or from what they know me.  That really does make me an attractive person, and knowing this fact is unbelievably energizing. At Sleep No More, I had my bizarre experiences.  And I have them every day.  I say yes to opportunity and try to remain an open, positive, attractive person.  Now.  Let’s start attracting that Broadway contract…  😉