On February 14 Annaleigh Ashford appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk about her upcoming Broadway turn as Dot in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George. What began as a one-night-only concert event at City Center, became a four-performance engagement, and now a ten-week limited engagement at Broadway’s newly reopened Hudson Theatre.
When asked to do the initial concert, Ashford immediately said yes, but some people wondered if she’d be okay, as she was about to welcome her first child. “Whatever, he’s just gonna sleep a lot,” said Ashford of her feeling at the time. “They just sleep so much and all they do is eat. And he didn’t sleep at all.” Cut to: “There was milk everywhere. We started the process, and I was doing okay, and then we got to the day of the show, y’all, and I woke up and my breasts … I got an infection called mastitis, so I was running offstage, and we would put my breasts on pumps in between songs and I would just stand there until I had to run back on.”
Meyers joked that it was a whole different show backstage than the audience was seeing.
A Tony winner for You Can’t Take It With You, Ashford revealed that while she doesn’t listen to musical theatre often, she turned on Dreamgirls during her labor and used vocal exercises to push through.
While her baby boy may be her co-star offstage, Ashford spoke of onstage co-star Jake Gyllenhaal. “It’s the best kept secret in show business that he is a really, really good singer,” she said. “He likes to remind me often that he was in a competitive show choir in high school.”
Ashford, who has also appeared on Broadway in Legally Blonde The Musical, Wicked, Hair, Kinky Boots (for which she earned a Tony nomination), and Sylvia, shared her own theatre childhood history with Meyers before saying farewell.
Sunday in the Park with George is now in previews at the Hudson Theatre with an official opening set for February 23.