Local actress back for ‘Sweeney Todd’

Many children take singing, dancing and acting lessons with the hope of making it big. Few see that dream come true. Del Mar’s Ashley Fox Linton had her eye on the prize at age 3 and never looked back. Hard work, determination, talent and probably a small dose of good fortune has placed Linton on Broadway stages and filling roles in numerous productions around the country.

She is currently starring in Cygnet Theatre’s “Sweeney Todd” in Old Town.

Linton attended Santa Fe Christian School. She appeared in the Old Globe’s “Grinch” production and spent 10 years singing, dancing and acting in San Diego Junior Theatre. Although she thought about a journalism career, acting remained constant in her life with performances at SDSU, The Theatre in Old Town, San Diego Opera, The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse.

As a teenager, Linton was president of the Honors Society, directing, choreographing and producing productions with other students. “Acting just happened naturally,” she said. “My parents and I never even had a conversation about my career choice; acting was just something I always did.”

With her skills in acting, singing and dancing, Linton chose to attend the Boston Conservatory, where she received a B.F.A. in musical theater. There, she participated in productions including “In the Groove,” “Chicago,” “Crazy for You,” “The Secret Garden” and many others. Linton also attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she appeared in “Tommy.” Her beautiful voice was shared with many when she sang “Best of Broadway” with The Boston Pops. Linton was excited to land a role in the touring production of “Les Miserables.”

“I listened to the soundtrack growing up, so for me it was the realization of a childhood dream,” she said. “With a touring show like this, it’s hard to figure out that instant magic, but ‘Les Mis’ is a classic, and it was exciting to be part of it.”

Linton also toured with the smash hit “Wicked,” and appeared in regional and New York productions of “Titanic” and “A Chorus Line,” “Dancing With Abandon” and “The Thing About Joe,” among others.

Linton has expanded her talents as a voice-over artist on numerous commercials and is heard on children’s CD Roms, including MGM’s “Babes in Toyland” and the Saturday morning cartoon “Pokemon.” She enjoys a diversified career.

“I try to focus on the material rather than the medium,” she said. “I’m lucky to work on material that inspires me. Musical theater has allowed me to stretch myself by using all of my abilities at once.”

Her role in “Sweeney Todd” has brought Linton back to her hometown. She plays the role of Johanna, and in the dark and brooding tragedy, her beauty and magnificent voice is a standout throughout the show. Linton was interested in the show when she learned James Vasquez was going to co-direct with Sean Murray.

“I worked with James at the Old Globe,” Linton said. “He’s exceptional, so I knew it would be a good production. I had also heard great things about the Cygnet Theatre Company from the San Diego community.”

A show about a barber whose mind is so badly ravaged by revenge he would rather slit his customer’s throats than give them the perfect shave might not appeal to some actors. For Linton, this show was on the top of her list.

“I like that it’s not just a horror musical; there’s an important story among the gore,” she said. “It’s a gorgeous score, the music is beautiful, and the lyrics are clever; I think it’s an absolute masterpiece.”

Linton is experiencing great success in her career. “I love being challenged,” she said. “I’ve had more jobs than I can count, and while some people find that stressful, I like the feeling of being off balance because it gives me a chance to prove myself.”

Part of her success, she said, has been the constant encouragement of her family.

“This is really important, and I have a fantastic family that encouraged my creativity and taught me early on the importance of discipline.”

Linton now lives in Manhattan, N.Y., where she continues to pursue her career. She is working on a new album.

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