Ashley D. Kelley is a New York native, born and raised in Long Island. Having been born into a “singing” family, Ashley began her musical journey the moment she was able to walk and talk. She fashioned her voice through singing in her church home in Brooklyn, where her father is Pastor. Ashley grew up as a member of the music and drama ministries, and the drama clubs in both middle and high school. Realizing her passion for singing and performing, she went on to study theater at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
In Philadelphia she began her professional acting career when hired as an actress/assistant teaching artist with Philadelphia Young Playwrights Organization. Through them she performed at the Suzanne Roberts Theater and World Café Live several times, and assisted young aspiring playwrights in developing their craft in various Philadelphia schools. In 2009 at World Café Live, she had the opportunity perform with writer and Tony award nominee Quiara Alegría Hudes (In The Heights) in a preview of her musical Barrio Grrrrl.
Since Philadelphia, Ashley has performed in various theaters across the country and worked with many different artists/ directors. In 2011 she received a Spotlight award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role as Sylvia in All Shook Up. In 2012 Ashley performed as Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense at the Courthouse Center for the Arts, alongside Marilyn Farina, who originated the role of Mother Superior. Ashley has been nominated twice for a Spotlight award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her portrayal as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, and Mama Morton in Chicago.
In 2015, Ashley became an acting company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and performed in the world premiere musical Head Over Heels penned by Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q; Bring It On), directed by Ed Islandar and choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. The following season she went on to play Dorothy in The Wiz directed by Robert O'Hara and choreographed by Byron Easely.
In the fall of 2016 at the Dallas Theater Center, Ashley originated the role Bella in the new world premiere musical Bella: An American Tall Tale written by Kirsten Childs, directed by Robert O'Hara and choreographed by Camille A. Brown. This was a co-production with Playwrights Horizons in NYC and after a successful run in Dallas, Ashley made her Off-Broadway debut playing the title role again in the spring/summer of 2017. This performance was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical at the Lucille Lortel Awards May 2018.
In the Fall of 2018, Ashley booked a co-star role as Young Nurse on Marvel's Luke Cage Season 2 and a recurring guest star role as Dee Marshall on the Netflix Original Series Insatiable. Both shows are now streaming on Netflix.
She is based out of New York.