Introduce Your Self(ie): 10 Questions with The Heidi Chronicles' Ali Ahn
March 11th, 2015
by Ali Ahn
California native Ali Ahn makes her Broadway debut as Elisabeth Moss’ bestie Susan Johnston, a smart, motivated woman who follows her dreams and makes things happen for herself throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s & ‘80s, in the Pulitzer and Tony-winning play The Heidi Chronicles. Below, Ahn talks to BroadwayBox about Keanu Reeves posters, life-changing theatre and backstage antics.
1. The line from The Heidi Chronicles that really resonates most for me:
Fran has a call to arms in the rap group scene where she addresses the way in which women have been conditioned to put aside their ambitions for the men in their lives. She says, "Now the only way to turn that around, is for us, right here, to try to make what we want, what we desire, to be as vital to us as it would undoubtedly be to any man. And then we can go out there and really make a difference!" It inspires me every time.
2. The thing I admire most about Susan Johnston:
Her lack of angst. She approaches her life with such confidence and commitment even if from the outside her choices seem inconsistent or contradictory. Susan is forward thinking in all ways—emotionally, professionally—and I envy that. I'm hoping some of that unflappability will rub off on me.
3. My favorite lawyer from TV or film:
How can I not say Jack McCoy from Law & Order? He's an institution. But I also have to give a shout out to John Laroquette's Dan Fielding in Night Court. I loved that show as a kid.
4. In my high school bedroom, I had posters of:
Keanu Reeves. From his Speed era. And I'm talking multiple posters of the same image. Different sizes. But same image.
5. The most important thing I learned about myself during my international travels:
My capacity for lactose and liquor is far greater than I give myself credit for.
6. The last TV show I binge-watched:
The Mindy Project. My sister is a huge fan but she lives in Zambia where her internet connection is not always reliable. So over the holidays she was on a mission to catch up and that's how I coerced her into hanging out with me.
7. The Broadway show that changed my life was:
Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses. Come on! Greek myths and a pool onstage?! Done.
8. A book I really want to find the time to read this year is:
Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex. I had these grand plans to read it before I started rehearsals for Heidi and completely underestimated how dense it is. I got through the first twenty pages and had to laugh at my hubris. Honestly, at this point in the rehearsal process, I would be thrilled just to have the time to read the paper.
9. The most fun thing about the Heidi cast is:
The awkward/inappropriate dancing we do backstage during transitions as well as the range and depth of our fart jokes.
10. If I could ask Wendy Wasserstein one thing about the play, I’d ask:
Where are these women now? I'd want know how she would frame the next chronicle because the questions that Heidi grapples with at the end of the play still feel completely contemporary and relevant to me.
Hurry over to the Music Box Theatre to see Ali Ahn and the cast of ‘The Heidi Chronicles’ tackle the important issues in this timeless piece of art.