Desi Oakley Will Make West End Debut in WAITRESS This Week Following Multiple Cast Member Illnesses
On Saturday 11th January, principal Jenna, Lucie Jones, and understudies Olivia Moore and Sarah O'Connor were struck down ill. The show's producers made the decision to cancel both the matinee and evening performances, but it was too late for the box office to contact all ticket-holders for the performances.
The company worked to put together a presentation of songs from the show that the remaining company members could perform to audiences members who turned up. The company performed I Didn't Plan It, When He Sees Me, Never Getting Rid Of Me and the finale version of Opening Up.
All audience members for both performances were given letters explaining how they could claim a refund.
To add to the drama, as the presentation was beginning, theatre management were informed that the neighbouring Vaudeville Theatre had been evacuated due to a security threat. The Waitress presentation went on as planned, before patrons were safely moved out, and the theatre was put on lockdown. The workers inside were let out after about 20 minutes.
As Lucie, Olivia, and Sarah recover, the producers of Waitress have made the decision to fly over Desi Oakley from New York to London to ensure that come what may the show will go ahead on Monday and through this coming week. Desi played the role of Jenna in the US tour of Waitress. She will be making her West End debut.
Desi Oakley is a New York City-based actress, Broadway performer and singer/songwriter recently seen on Broadway starring as Roxie Hart in Chicago and touring the country as the original Jenna on the US tour of Waitress. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, she was exposed to professional theatre at the young age of eight years old. She became a professional performer at fourteen years old, as the youngest ensemble company member at Music Theatre of Wichita in history! Her learning continued at the University of Michigan where she earned a BFA in Musical Theatre. Upon graduation, she quickly made her Broadway debut in Wicked. From there, her Broadway career continued in the Revivals of Annie and Les Misérables. She got her National Touring start by helping lead the First National Tour of Evita as the alternate for Eva Péron. Alongside stage performance, Desi also works as a voice artist; additionally her new entirely original album, Repeat, can be found on iTunes and Spotify. In her spare time, she loves yoga, volunteering for charitable organizations, and teaching aspiring young artists in NYC.
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