Ashley is a smoking carriage. She featured in most productions of Starlight Express between 1984 and 2018.

She has a bad habit when it comes to smoking. She is also mature and experienced, offering worldly relationship advice to Pearl and Dinah.

History

Ashley was part of the original passenger train, alongside Pearl, Dinah and Buffy.

In the Western world, smoking has been on the decline since the 1980s. In the original production, Ashley sang that she'd "tried to kick the habit". In later versions of the show, she sang that she was "the last [smoking carriage] in the land"

Smoking was banned on trains in the UK in 2005, and in all workplaces, including pubs and restaurants, in 2007. This meant that, when a UK tour was mounted in 2012, young audiences would have no memory of smoking cars. They might oppose also smoking in principle. Ashley was replaced in English-language productions with a sleeping car, Duvay, although she remained in the German production. 

In 2018, Ashley and Duvay were replaced by Belle the Bar Car and Carrie the Luggage Van

In the Mexican production, Ashley's name was translated as "Bacha".

Personality

Ashley is a sassy, independent, and confident smoking car. She is also the defacto "big sister" of the coaches, giving them advice. She is incredibly mature whose been around the tracks. Instead of racing, she'd rather be smoking a cigarette. She is closest to Buffy and friends with Pearl and Dinah. Ashley, as her name suggests, has a habit with smoking. In her part in A Lotta Locomotion, she says that she knows the affects of smoking but her insides are used to it and that she smokes when she's scared.

Role

In the original production, we first meet Ashley as one of the four coaches brought in by Rusty in "Call Me Rusty". The girls don't think Rusty's aims of racing are wise, he'll only hurt himself, he doesn't have a chance. In "A Lotta Locomotion", as she tries to discourage Pearl from racing with Rusty. Ashley hooks up with Bobo for the races, but they come second to Poppa and Dustin. But Ashley and Bobo remain close, with him giving her, Dinah and Ashley a lift during The Rap. Ashley's left trying to pick up the broken pieces of Dinah's self confidence in Girls' Rolling Stock, with Buffy and Belle. After the final race, and Rusty and Pearl's story has played out, Ashley has a solo moment to reflect "Now steam is the winner, now steam's back in style, maybe smokers might rate an occasional smile".

In the revised London show, Bobo and Ashley make it through to the final races, but once Greaseball has uncoupled Pearl, he needs another partner, and steals Ashley from Bobo. At this point Buffy is racing with Electra, and the two friends bail before the big crash. Ashley also took a more prominent vocal role in the revised show, taking over Belle's lines where they remained.

In the German production, Ashley races with Espresso rather than Bobo, and it is Ruhrgold who makes it into the final races.

In the 2004 UK Tour Ashley had no major contributions to any of the songs other than the sexually-loaded Whole Lotta Locomotion, and is reduced from secondary principal to being an ensemble role.

Appearance

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Ashley's costume is shades of Tobacco brown, with ashtrays on her bodice, fine wooden marquetry, and the suggestion of comfortable furnishings in her skirt. Her hair is styled up into a chimney.

Gallery

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Cast

London

1984 - 1985 Chrissy Wickham
1985 - 1987 Voyd
1987 - 1988 C. Jay Ranger
1988 - 1989 Erin Lordan
1989 - 1990 Nikki Belsher / Deborah Leanne Spellman
1990 - 1991 Victoria Maxwell
1991 - 1992 Anna Louise Mountford
1992 - 1993 Samantha Lane
1993 - 1994 Lisa Peace / Claudia Bradley
1994 - 1995 Deborah Leanne Spellman
1995 - 1996 Dawn Buckland
1996 - 1998 Samantha Lane
1998 - 1999 Francesca Newitt
1999 - 2000 Dawn Buckland / Danni Kearsley-Wooller
2000 - 2001 Amanda Valentine
2001 - 2002 Lucie Fentum

Broadway

1987 - 1988 Andrea McArdle
1988 - 1989 Stacia Goad

Japan / Australia Tours

1987 Erin Lordan
1990 C. Jay Ranger

Bochum, Germany

1988 - 1989 Roslyn Howell
1989 - 1990 Johanne Simpson
1990 - 1991 Lisa Peace
1991 - 1992 Susan Torbeck
1992 - 1993 Elizabeth Holum
1993 - 1994 Bernadene
1994 - 1996 Kati Farkas
1996 - 1998 Erika Metz
1998 - 1999 Kirsty Sparks
1999 - 2000 Sharon Mudie
2000 - 2001 Caroline Arrowsmith
2001 - 2002 Emma Raciti
2002 - 2005 Sarah Landy
2005 - 2007 Louise Lenihan
2007 - 2008 Deborah Hayward
2008 - 2009 Tasha Taylor Johnson
2009 - 2014 Emma Jenkinson
2014 - 2015 Emma Jenkinson / Victoria Anderson
2015 - 2017 Emily Beth Harrington
2017 - 2018 Sian Velazquez
2018 - (replaced by Belle the Bar Car)

US Tour 1989 - 1991

1989 - 1991 Rachelle Rak

Las Vegas 1993 - 1997

1993 - 1994 Meera Popkin
1994 - 1995 Jennifer Bizik
1995 - 1996 -
1996 - 1997 Amanda Clarke
1997 - close Angel Creeks

US Tour 2003 - 2004

2003 - 2004 Kait Holbrook

UK Tours 2004 - 2008

2004 - 2005 Amy Field
2006 - 2007 Amy Thornton / Rebecca Lisewski
2007 - 2008 Amy Thornton

NZ Tour 2009

2009 Sarah Landy

UK Tour 2012-2013

Replaced by Duvay the Sleeper.

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