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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Monti grad Bloom in acclaimed play

Based on real-life Marine, wife

By: Contributed
Monticello High School grad Ashley Bloom has been performing “Basetrack Live,” a multimedia production based on an Iraq War veteran's experiences.
Ashley Bloom is a 2004 graduate of Monticello High School, and received a dual BA in Theater and Rhetoric & Communications from the University of Richmond in 2008.
This year, The Manhattan resident has a leading role in the play “Basetrack Live,” created by Edward Bilous, with writer Jason Grote, director Seth Bockley and composer Michelle DiBucci. This play has been touring the country since its premiere in Austin, Texas on September 11.
Ashley has been acting since she was 3 years old, often casting her close friends in her “home” dancing, and musical creative play. She performed in numerous productions (and talent shows) from grade school through high school. She has had the support of teachers, friends and family in pursuing her dream.

In “Basetrack,” two actors (Ashley and Tyler La Marr) portray real-life Marine AJ Czubai and his wife Melissa, following their journey as a couple from his tour in Afghanistan, to the birth of their daughter while deployed, to his battle with PTSD and his readjustment to marriage and civilian life. Intertwined with their story are videos and photos of real-life Marines, a live contemporary score, and post discussions with the audience.
The New York Premiere was at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) from November 11-15. It was also staged at SUNY Purchase on November 22.
The “Basetrack” website ( creates media-rich educational resources for schools and communities in order to present authentic accounts of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ashley and Tyler met the real Melissa and AJ in Austin, Texas. She was pleased to learn that Melissa felt it was an accurate portrayal of herself (accent included), and her life with her husband AJ. Tyler also had a similar positive experience.
Tyler and Ashley have done multiple community outreach programs throughout the tour. They spoke at classrooms at Texas A&M and the University of Richmond. They have held multiple community discussions bringing vets and civilians together in San Luis Obispo, Cal, Manhattan, KS, and Louisville, Ky.
They even visited a vet hospital in Kentucky where they were able to speak with vets struggling with substance abuse. The tour has enabled them to reach student, Vet and civilian communities, encouraging a broader conversation that educates and informs people about the war in Afghanistan.
Ashley's mom Lynn lives with stepdad Larry in Annapolis, Md., while father Dr. Eric and stepmom Mia live in Monticello. She also has a brother, Jonathan, who lives in Milwaukee, Wis., with wife Abbie and children Arden, Jack and Grayson.

Times weighs in…
This is what New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood wrote about ‘Basetrack” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music:
“The experience of these American service members - fighting for their country abroad, and sometimes fighting new battles on the home front when they return -is given riveting life in this production, a powerfully moving work of documentary theater…
“Most of us know about the impact of the wars on the soldiers, including numerous suicides, but this production brings the gritty, brutal truths alive in ways that nothing I've read or seen has succeeded in doing.
“Mr. La Marr and Ms. Bloom give engaging, natural performances, so that while AJ and Melissa tell their stories in retrospect, they still have a sharp immediacy.

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