Taking Center Stage


Anna Moore

Ashlyn Steen

Anna Moore

Steen and her Acting Journey

Taking Center Stage

We all have that moment that will change our lives forever. For Ashlyn Steen, that moment was the year 2010 during the kindergarten performance of The Wizard of Oz. Little did she know that her first big acting debut would be as a munchkin in the lullaby league. While most 5-6-year-olds would spend their year adapting to a new environment, there was Steen, ready to put on a show.

Steen, a junior at Mount Vernon High School lives a normal life as a 16-year-old. She enjoys math and choir along with volunteering at Odyssey Theatre, a youth production program in Mount Vernon. While she has always found an interest in theater, it was a few years later that she made a discovery. “In seventh grade, we once again performed The Wizard of Oz, and I got to play the Wicked Witch of The West,” Steen said. “This is when I realized that this is something I want to do for a long time.” Maybe it was the magic of The Wizard Of Oz that made Steen so invested in acting, or maybe just her love for theater, however, she knew one thing, she wasn’t going to stop anytime soon.

While there are hundreds of plays performed on Broadway there is one in particular that stuck out to her. “My favorite Broadway show is ‘Hamilton,’” Steen said. “Although it may seem stereotypical, that is because it is so phenomenal. A show can’t become popular without being that good.”

As inspirational as Broadway might be, that isn’t where Steen gets all of her motivation. “I really look up to my sister Maddie Steen, Quinnie Rodman, and the class of 2019. They were very good. Quinnie Rodman was someone I really looked up to when going up in the theater world. I went to the ‘Drowsy Chaperone’ and she played the gangster. I think I pretty much based my entire acting career on that show. My style and everything.”

Speaking of style, Steen performs and competes in multiple types of theater. She participates in spring musicals, fall plays, and speech. With everything she’s done, she definitely has a few top shows and characters. “My favorite character I’ve ever played is Billy Flynn from “Chicago.” It was really fun being killed by multiple women,” Steen said. “My favorite part of that show was being a puppet master over Sophia Andrews.” Her favorite show she’s ever done is “Once on This Island,” the fall musical of her freshman year. “Once on This Island” won the state title and then went on to the International Thespian Festival. This was a big achievement for Steen as she was only a Freshman at the time.

Similar to the Thespian Festival, Steen has also taken part in All-State. “My favorite part of All-State is meeting so many people who are invested in theatre and share the same interests.” When preparing for All-State, there are a few tricks to help out along the way. “Learn your auditions right away. When you learn them don’t stress about it, because you have a spot,” Steen said. “It’s not a big deal, just do your thing, and have fun with new people. Just try not to stress because everyone’s in the same boat.”

While Steen is just starting out on her journey, she has learned a few things from her years of experience. “The key to acting is letting loose and not worrying about looking silly. You can hold back, but when everyone else is letting loose and trying hard and you’re not, then that is when you are going to look silly.” One of her favorite things about acting is the environment. “It’s one of the most welcoming environments so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to people because they’ll help you,” Steen said. “If you have questions or aren’t sure about something, just ask about it. Everyone is not only willing to but wants to help out.”

Steen has thought about pursuing acting more seriously in the future, but as of now, it is up in the air. “I would like to do something like directing or becoming a teacher. Something behind the scenes, and something involved with acting.”

Steen may not know where this journey is going to take her. Maybe a director or a teacher like she said, or maybe taking “The Wizard of Oz” to the next step on Broadway. Who knows? If one thing is for sure, it’s that she’s going places. To do that, all she has to do is follow the yellow brick road.