My name is Ashley Wool. I'm an actress, singer, dancer, songwriter, regular writer, and autistic advocate for intersectional justice and general radness.
I was born and raised in Westchester County ("only 45 minutes from Broadway" as George M. Cohan wrote) but I usually just tell people I'm a native New Yorker because it's easier than explaining what Westchester is.
I was a smart kid, but weird. I talked early and had a spectacular vocabulary, but had very little intuition about how to hold a conversation. I liked pretty much everybody, but struggled to relate to them and know for sure whether or not they liked me. And, like so many weird kids before me, the performing arts became my gateway to the rest of humanity. I learned the nuances of socializing by studying the patterns of theatre scripts. I learned about other cultures by consuming different tellings of similar stories. Dissecting character motivations taught me how to connect the dots between my empathy and my intellect. Music taught me harmony, rhythm, and dynamics. Dance taught me teamwork and spatial awareness. Singing taught me how to express myself in ways that would actually make people listen and understand me in ways that speech alone couldn't. Writing and performing my own songs and scripts tied all the pieces together.
It wasn't until I was 20, and nearly done with a musical theatre degree at SUNY Geneseo, that we discovered my brain's particular configuration of quirks, strengths, struggles and sensitivities was called "autism." It took another decade for me to finally embrace this diagnosis and talk about it, but since coming out of the "disclosure closet," everything in my life and career has changed for the better. I've now got context for what I've always felt was my life's purpose: to use my stories to further our society's understanding of humanity, and to use my talents and passions to help others share their stories. When certain insights fall outside of my own experience, I try to direct people to a wide and diverse variety of autistic voices as possible, but for those who are extra-curious about my particular story, you might wanna check out my blog.
Anyway, I'm told that this is where I'm supposed to describe my "brand." Here's how some other people have described it:
"Can't tell if you're a man-eater or a comedienne" -anonymous talent agent at an industry showcase
"How have you never been cast in Seussical?" -David John Madore
"How have you never been cast in Urinetown?" -Michael Mirra
"The poor man's Kerry Butler" -someone on YouTube
"How about the new and improved Kerry Butler?" -Kerry Butler
In regular life, you might find me doing any or all of the following: helping people navigate the complicated web of the American healthcare system, telling my cats how cute they are, drinking too much coffee, going on "dissociation walks," making Pinterest boards full of LED clothes, guesting on someone's podcast, or baking a lot of cookies.