Having recently completed an Apprenticeship at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, soprano and actress Ashley Yvonne Wheat is equally at home in opera and musical theatre. Her voice has the warmth of Puccini's Mimi combined with the charisma and authority of Cleopatra but with the nonstop showmanship of a Fanny Brice.
In 2012, Ashley made her professional debut in the role of Musetta in La Bohéme with Winter Opera St. Louis. She later reprised the role that same summer at the Southern Illinois Music Festival. While at the festival, Wheat also made her debut with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, singing Susanna. Immediately following the festival, Ashley traveled with StoneLion Puppet Theatre, where she is a core company puppeteer, to perform The Toy Box with cabaret marionettes at the Summer Surprises International Puppet Festival in Dubai, U.A.E.
In Kansas City, Ashley has performed in the Musical Theater Heritage productions of Sweeney Todd, Hello Dolly, and most recently, as a principal artist in Wouldn't It Be Loverly, a Lerner and Loewe musical revue. With the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, in 2012 and 2013, Ashley performed the role of Soprano in A Christmas Carol. Wheat also made her debut with The Chestnut Fine Arts Theater in 2014, performing as a principal artist in Climb Every Mountain, a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical revue.
In 2013, Ashley debuted as Nedda in I Pagliacci with Heartland Opera Theatre. Currently in the second year of her apprenticeship with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Ashley made her mainstage principle artist debut at the Lyric as Annina in La Traviata in the fall of 2014 and at University of Missouri - Kansas City as Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte. Ashley also sang Beth in Little Women at the Conservatory in March 2015.
The end of 2015 brought Ashley's debut as the First Wood Sprite in Rusalka at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as well as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at UMKC. Wheat finished out her Lyric season as Giannetta in L'elisir d'amore before returning to the Apsen Music Festival as Victoria Corelli in A Wedding by William Bolcom in July, 2016.
Ashley received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, under the tutelage of Elizabeth Hynes. Ashley now studies with Vinson Cole.