Ashley Says Bye Bye Baby
March 31, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
(Mar 31, 2009)
It's the last dance.
When Hamilton's Ashley Leggat swivels into the spotlight Saturday April 5, she'll let her body loose on that quintessential date song The Time of My Life for the last time -- at least for now.
Being emotional, Leggat expects to fight a tear or two. "It's hard to let go," she says. "But you know, in a way, I'm ready. My body needs a break. I've been bruised since August. This is a heavy show to do, physically demanding. There's no time to catch up between numbers." When Leggat first took over the role of Baby in August she asked the show's hairdresser when she could expect to have a bathroom break during act one. "Oh honey, you don't go to the bathroom ... Once you're on, you're on." Surprisingly Leggat never even thought of auditioning for Baby in Dirty Dancing. "When my agent suggested it, I was shocked. And when I got the part I was floored. I just love Baby though. She's so much like me, vulnerable, but durable too. I'd love to play her again if the show goes on the road." Right now Leggat's going back to work as Casey in Life With Derek, the TV show she's been doing for four years on Family Channel.
For a few years Leggat was so busy with TV she forgot how much she loved the stage. Now she realizes it's where she wants to be and can't wait for the next show. "It's tougher than TV. I mean you've got that audience right out there and they're expecting big things. It's up to you to deliver." Leggat says she knows when there are Hamilton people in the Dirty Dancing audience. "They aren't shy," she grins. "They let loose. I guess that's why I love my home city." Ashley Leggat grew up singing and dancing in Hamilton. Her family still live here. From Toronto it's a short trip back. Leggat shrugs when you ask her why Dirty Dancing is closing. "It's been on over a year," she says. "And it's right to close while we're still getting good houses. It would be sad to watch it dwindle away. And the economy is rough right now. Letting go will be tough, I know that. I guess I'll just play that last performance for all its worth. I'll make it The Time of My Life. Know what I mean?"
Gary Smith has written on theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for more than 25 years.
Who: Ashley Leggat
What: Dirty Dancing
Where: Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W. Toronto
When: Through April 5th