By Kristina Houck
From Cygnet Theatre’s “Sweeney Todd” to The York Theatre’s “Flambe Dreams,” Ashley Fox Linton has starred in a variety of stage productions on both coasts. Still, the former Del Mar resident remembers her local roots.
Linton’s first public performance was for her kindergarten class at Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach. After forgetting to bring her Care Bear for show and tell, the 5-year-old sang “Somewhere Out There” from “An American Tale.”
Impressed with her voice, Linton’s teacher had her sing for every classroom.
“I remember being nervous in front of the big third graders, but my teacher took me around and made me sing for every single room,” Linton said. “I thought, ‘Wow, OK. Maybe this is something I’m good at.’ I enjoyed it.”
Although Linton’s parents encouraged her creativity, they weren’t aware she had been performing at school until she sang at an assembly. Linton said she didn’t tell her parents because she was afraid they would be upset she forgot her homework.
After her parents discovered her passion for performing, Linton began taking acting classes at San Diego Junior Theatre, where she performed for 10 years.
“I think I just really naturally expressed myself that way and that was never shunned,” said Linton, whose mother is an artist. Her father works in commercial real estate but plays piano and guitar. “They were always very encouraging. I think it just developed from there.”
In addition to her work at San Diego Junior Theatre, Linton landed a number of roles in productions at San Diego State University, The Theatre in Old Town, San Diego Opera, The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse, including Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” and Lady Larkin in “Once Upon a Mattress.”
Linton headed east to earn her degree in musical theater at the Boston Conservatory and also studied at Berklee College of Music. Since her days at Santa Fe Christian School, Linton has appeared in a number of productions, including “Titanic,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Evita.” She also toured the U.S. and Canada with the musicals “Les Miserables” and “Wicked.”
“I’ve always wanted to be in “Les Miserables,” so doing that show was just an incredible experience,” she said. “It was really the realization of a childhood dream.”
Another dream came true for Linton when she released her debut album, “First Real Love,” in 2012. Described as “1970s throwback pop,” Linton co-produced the album with King Kozmo Records.
“It was a really neat experience because all of the songs are originals,” Linton said. “They’re all songs that were never recorded before, and most of them were never heard before.”
After living in New York for nearly a decade, Linton moved to Los Angeles last year. Recently, she played Betty Schaefer in Musical Theatre West’s “Sunset Boulevard” at the Karen and Richard Carpenter Theatre in Long Beach.
“It was tremendous,” Linton said. “The cast was just phenomenal. We just bonded so much. The audience responded so well to it.
“I’m definitely going to have post-show blues until I start another project.”