Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

March 27, 2010

The Family That Plays Together

The Ashleys of Southampton

Stacy and Ben Ashley have been a couple for nearly 20 years - many of those years onstage. Now they are a quartet, and still onstage. Stacy and Ben met during a production of "Guys & Dolls," which seems a fortuitous title to their eventual relationship. Sixteen years of marriage later, their son Ben and daughter Jacqueline join mom and dad onstage in Exit 7 Players' spring play "Titanic."

Has the smell of the greasepaint been in the family for generations? Perhaps. Or, perhaps the kids grew up watching their parents rehearse and perform that they thought every parent does this. Since Stacy and Ben have starred or appeared in countless local theatre productions, mostly musicals, rehearsing meant a lot of singing - over and over again. "Whatever show were working on, they would be singing every word," says Stacy of her children. "They have been dragged to all kinds of rehearsals since they were born. Ben used to fall asleep as a toddler during rehearsals for 'Buddy Holly' [dad Ben took the lead role]. Luckily, Jacqueline came early, just before 'Forever Plaid' opened [again, dad Ben starred as one of the Four Aces' wannabes]."

By the time they could walk, they were performing, having started dance and then theatre classes at the Hackworth School of Performing Arts in Easthampton. At age 15, Ben is already quite comfortable in community theatre and high school productions. He is simultaneously rehearsing for "Titanic" and his role of the Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz." His sister Jacqueline appeared with her brother in "It's a Wonderful Life," but concentrates on dance.

Local audiences would be hard-pressed to have not seen Stacy and/or Ben, particularly in Majestic Theater shows, where they have starred in performances and were lead singers in The Majestics Band for 10 years.

"Titanic" will be the Ashleys third play as a family. "Ben is playing my son, Jack Thayer, and my husband is Fred Barrett, the Stoker," says Stacy. Jacqueline has a role as passenger in steerage. "She tells everyone that 'she goes down with the ship.'"

To see the Ashleys, along with the other 40 actors in this massive community theatre production of "Titanic" on April 16 - May 1, check Exit 7's website at