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            [[bold]] BROADWAY REBEL
"I've never played by their rules," says Elizabeth Ashley [[/bold]]
[[image: black and white photograph of Elizabeth Ashley holding a cigarette with credit: KEN HOWARD]]
[[photo caption]]
[[italics]] Elizabeth Ashley in [[/italics]] Agnes of God [[italics]] (Music Box Theatre) [[/italics]]

Convention-spurning Elizabeth Ashley is Broadway's unrepentant renegade, its celebrated rebel, its outlaw and still-skirmishing guerilla.
     "Broadway thinks of me as its prodigal and its heretic," the Tony award-winning actress proclaims in that enchanting, silk-and-sandpaper voice of hers, a voice still laced with the sugary sediment of her native Baton Rouge. 
     "They're right," she shrugs under the plain black cotton caftan she's wearing. Ashley is seated in a worn wing chair in her dressing room, knees tucked comfortably under her chisled chin.
     She's just finished a performance of [[italics]] Agnes of God, [[/italics]] the riveting drama by John Pielmeier in which she stars with Geraldine Page and Amanda Plummer at the Music Box Theatre. And she is feeling relaxed and reflective.
     "I have never played by their rules," says Ashley about the commercial theatre establishment. "They gave me the room and the space in which to act and work at what I love. I was a kid away from home when I got here in 1958. And they gave me the place to be." She landed the role of the winsome ingenue in the Broadway comedy [[italics]] Take Her, She's Mine [[/italics]] and she won herself a coveted Tony award for her efforts.
     Neil Simon wrote [[italics]] Barefoot in the Park [[/italics]] for her, and that performance brought her a second Tony nomination. She was hot and getting hotter. Elizabeth Ashley razzle-dazzled audiences and critics in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' [[italics]] Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, [[/italics]] which brought her a third Tony nomination. She did interesting revivals of [[italics]] The Skin of Our Teeth [[/italics]] and [[italics]] Caesar and Cleopatra. [[/italics]]
     Always daringly outspoken, Elizabeth Ashley called things as she saw them in the not-always perfect environment of the theatre. Her criticisms didn't exactly endear Ashley to the powers-that-be, "But I care about [[italics]] theatre, [[/italics]]" she emphasizes. "It's important to me," she says, brushing her long, brown hair behind her ears. "I learned about theatre from people who were enraged, impassioned and radical.
               [[bold]] by Fran Weil [[/bold]]
[[page number in bottom left corner]] 18
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