Christopher Ashley (born July 6, 1964) is an American stage director. Since 2007, he has been the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse.[1]


Ashley graduated from Yale University in 1986, with a Bachelor of Art in Theatre.[2][3] In 1987, he completed The Drama League program for directors.[4]

He directed many Off-Broadway stage productions, including at the Manhattan Theatre Club. He directed Jeffrey by Paul Rudnick Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in 1993,[5] for which he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Director. He also directed the film version, which was released in 1995.[6]

Ashley directed the musical Memphis, which opened on Broadway in October 2009, receiving the Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Director[7] and Tony Award nomination, Best Direction of a Musical.[8][2] He previously directed the musical version of the cult 1980 film Xanadu (2007) on Broadway, receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination, for direction, as well as several other plays and musicals.

He directed the Sondheim Kennedy Center Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along in 2002.[9]

In 2007 he was appointed artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse, California.[3]

He directed the new musical Come from Away, which premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in June 2015,[10] and opened on Broadway in February 2017 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, receiving a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.[11][12][13] He was originally set to direct a film adaptation of the musical, which was canceled on February 2, 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he directed a live stage film recording of the show at the Schoenfeld Theatre in front of an invited audience including survivors and first responders from the 9/11 attacks, which was released on Apple TV+ on September 10, 2021, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the attacks.[14][15][16][17]

He directed the new musical stage version of Freaky Friday, which premiered at the Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia in October 2016.[18]

The 2021 film musical Diana, directed by Ashley, was released on Netflix on October 1, 2021.[19]

Personal life

Ashley is openly gay.[20]


Off-Broadway (select)


  1. ^ "Christopher Ashley Named Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse", April 10, 2007
  2. ^ a b [1] American Repertory Theater, accessed January 29, 2022
  3. ^ a b Boehm, Mike. "La Jolla Playhouse names artistic director" Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2007
  4. ^ [2]Drama League, accessed January 29, 2022
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Review/Theater; Laughs That Mask the Fears of Gay Manhattan" The New York Times, January 21, 1993
  6. ^ James, Caryn. "Film Review; Comic Side of Sex in Age of AIDS" The New York Times, August 4, 1995
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew."Memphis, La Cage, Zeta-Jones, Finneran and More Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" Archived July 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, May 17, 2010
  8. ^ "Nominations, 2009-10", retrieved May 18, 2010
  9. ^ "The Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration", retrieved May 18, 2010
  10. ^ McNulty, Charles. "Generosity overcomes terrorism in unpretentious 'Come From Away'" Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2015
  11. ^ " Come from Away Broadway" Playbill (vault), accessed October 9, 2016
  12. ^ Viagas, Robert. 9/11 Musical 'Come From Away' Books a Broadway Theatre" Playbill, September 15, 2016
  13. ^ a b "Tony Awards 2017: Complete Winners List" Variety, June 11, 2017, retrieved June 15, 2017
  14. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (November 17, 2017). "Come From Away Tony Winner Christopher Ashley to Direct Musical's Film Adaptation". Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 2, 2021). "eOne To Make Feature Production Of Tony-Winning Broadway Musical 'Come From Away'".
  16. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (September 10, 2021). "'Come From Away' Review: Looking for Light in Somber Times". The New York Times.
  17. ^ "How Christopher Ashley Got COME FROM AWAY Camera-Ready". Broadway World (with video). September 5, 2021.
  18. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn. "What To Expect from 'Freaky Friday 'the Musical" Playbill, October 4, 2016
  19. ^ McPhee, Ryan (August 12, 2020). "Broadway's Diana Musical to Be Filmed for Netflix Release". Playbill. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Folliard, Patrick (March 15, 2010). "Exploring diva worship and gay relationships". Washington Blade. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  21. ^ "List of 2001 Tony Award Winners" The New York Times, May 15, 2001
  22. ^ " 'Blown Sideways Through Life' Film Overview", accessed October 9, 2016
  23. ^ " 'Jeffrey' Film, 1995", accessed October 9, 2016
  24. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review 'Valhalla'" CurtainUp, February 4, 2004