I begin the show as one of only two female members of New Rochelle (besides Mother and Evelyn). So I begin the show as a very closed off member of the white group. I begin very standoffish and I am not open to the change that is happening in my community with the arrival of immigrants and behaviors of both the immigrants and the people of Harlem. Because of this nature, it is very distinct when I am playing my character and when I am playing the part of ‘storyteller’ in the opening number.
My name is Elizabeth Ashbury and I am married to Michael (aka David). At the beginning of the play we are relatively unhappily married, but stable as far as I know. However I have a secret job as a Chorine in Evelyn Nesbitt’s vaudeville show. I love this job because I have a passion for dance and show business, but my husband would not approve if he knew. As the first act progresses, I am able to be a Chorine and generally perform as Elizabeth (with only a slight change of character when I am Shiovhan McGee, an Irish immigrant, who was relatively wealthy in Ireland until her family suffered due to the economy. I came to America and was astonished by how I was treated, since I was used to being treated as a relatively high member of society in Ireland). Anyways, as Elizabeth I begin to loosen up and get more used to the changing society. At the end of At 1, I am comfortable enough with people of other races to feel very sorry at the death of Sarah.
However, in the months that follow, my husband discovers my job as a Chorine, and in order to take revenge on me, he sleeps with one of my fellow Chorines. When I find out, I am understandably very angry. We become separated and now that I no longer live off of his money alone, I must quit the profession I love and become a social worker in order to make more money. I am bitter about the state of my marriage and my job change, so I take it out on people such as Mother. However, my husband eventually apologizes profusely for his actions and helps me regain my job at the vaudeville show. We vacation together in Atlantic City and it does wonders for our relationship. We are happier than ever, and through these trials, we have become much more accepting. I finish the show remorseful for my former attitude and hopeful for a future where my community is more united.