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Singer-actress likes her tiny Bahamian hideaway

By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services

8:28 PM EST, February 7, 2012

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Born in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and living in New York City, singer-actress Ashley Brown originated the title role of "Mary Poppins" on Broadway. She reprised the role in the national tour, receiving the 2010 Garland Award for that performance. Her television special "Ashley Brown in Concert: Call Me Irresponsible" also won a 2011 Telly Award. "Speak Low," her CD of American standards, is available now. For more on Brown, visit her website at ashleybrownonline.com.

Q: Where have you traveled that reminded you of your production settings?

A: When I was cast in "Mary Poppins," they sent me to London for two weeks for research. I had never been there before. It was an unbelievable experience. Someone from the Disney offices in London took me around. So I got to see all the touristy things that appeared in our show as well as what the locals see and do.

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

A: Guana Cay, Bahamas. It's a very small island where people only drive golf carts. No cars. Not built up at all. My family likes to rent a house and just cook in and enjoy each other. Also, Kauai and Maui in Hawaii. I just had my honeymoon there. It was so amazing. The scenery is so unreal.

Q: What was your first childhood trip?

A: My parents took us snow skiing in Park City, Utah. I'm the youngest of four and was only 6 years old at the time. But I loved the snow and my purple, puffy snowsuit. I looked like the kid from the movie "A Christmas Story"!

Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A: Vegas is like Disney World for adults. I'm not a gambler, but there is so much to do there. We have some friends who live in upstate New York that we like to go visit as well. It's nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city when we can.

Q: What are your favorite cities?

A: Philadelphia, New York, London and Vancouver (British Columbia).

Q: Where have you traveled that most reminded you of home?

A: I'd have to say any beachy destination. Pensacola Beach is seriously the most beautiful beach ever. All of the communities are different, of course. But it's hard to beat our beach.

Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been?

A: Australia and the Maldives.

Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A: My husband, Daniel; Eddie Brown; and a toothbrush. Anything else I could do without. Eddie's a white French bulldog, and I love him! He's the best traveler. He's only 20 pounds, so he gets in his bag and goes under the seat in front of me on the plane. Sleeps the whole time.

Q: What would be your dream/fantasy trip?

A: I've always wanted to go somewhere where I can ride horses on the beach. I've also always wanted to ride an elephant and a camel. Random, I know, but true!

Q: What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?

A: Sleeping, renting overpriced movies in my room and, of course, room service.

For more from the reporter, visit jaehakim.com.