Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress!

magictodo123
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Instead of saying, couldnt they have a backup or couldnt Sara start earlier? Lets rewindDesi also covered the US tour when Christine Dwyer got married. Shes a superstar for doing this as far as Im concerned.

https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/desi-oakley-waitress-illness-west-end_50680.html
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Well, seeing everyone was sick - there was no available backup.
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Lucie Jones plus the two Jenna understudies were all sick on Saturday. Flying in Desi for a week makes the most sense. I can't think of a time where this ever happened on Broadway(with any show).

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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ACL2006 said: "Lucie Jones plus the two Jenna understudies were all sick on Saturday. Flying in Desi for a week makes the most sense. I can't think of a time where this ever happened on Broadway(with any show)."

Yeah, this is usually a rare occurrence (unless you’re Six and have bad management) but I’m so glad they’re bringing Desi in. She’s such a powerful force on stage, especially as Jenna. A well deserved debut

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I adored Desi in this role on tour. London audiences are in for a treat.
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This makes me think of the story with David Garrison from the 1980's, where he had left "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine", and he was rehearsing "Gallery" for the Public, and everyone was sick, so he was asked to come in and do a performance months after he left.

Also, I can't recall correctly, so I hope someone can help me...I faintly recall during the last revival of of "A Little Night Music", the show needing an understudy, and there was a cast member who was in another show, who had left 'Night Music' and the producers were the same of the 2 shows and let the actress have an understudy for the current show, and then go perform in 'Night Music' for the one performance...does this sound like anything to anyone else?

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ACL2006 said: "I can't think of a time where this ever happened on Broadway(with any show)."

IIRC, a couple Elphabas have been flown into international Wicked productions for similar situations. I know if happened with Jennifer DiNoia (was Broadway standby and flown out to Australia for a month, then back to Broadway) and Carmen Cusack earlier in the same year (had finished the tour the previous year, flown out to Australia as emergency standby). I can’t remember the other actress.

Laura Bell Bundy also jumped into the Legally Blonde tour due to Becky Gulsvig being injured. She was in the show for a month and came back later in the same year, but had to drop out after her second-to-last performance because she fractured her arm during the show. 

Desi is not my favorite Jenna, but better than some and does the part justice.

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Updated On: 1/13/20 at 10:03 AM
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I also seem to recall Lion King needing an emergency Simba at one point and calling in a former Simba who was in another show at the time to come back. I don’t remember the details of who the actor was or what the other show was, but I’ve definitely heard that story.
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Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress! #10
Posted: 1/13/20 at 10:22am
This happened with JC Sheets in Les Miz in the ‘80s, when it was a new show. He was an American who had understudied Valjean in the U.S., and Australia was short on Valjeans, so he was sent down there. You can see him in the Australia Day concert footage as one of the students.
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Updated On: 1/13/20 at 10:22 AM
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Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress! #11
Posted: 1/13/20 at 10:33am
I believe this happened with Rondi Reed years ago. I think she was currently in Wicked as Morrible and had to jet over to “August Osage County” to fill her original role. Don’t remember all the circumstances.
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Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress! #12
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:40am
Before Billy Elliot opened on Broadway one of the boys from the Broadway production was flown to London to play the role on the west end due to a similar reason.
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Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress! #13
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:48am

fashionguru_23 said: "This makes me think of the story with David Garrison from the 1980's, where he had left "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine", and he was rehearsing "Gallery" for the Public, and everyone was sick, so he was asked to come in and do a performance months after he left.

Also, I can't recall correctly, so I hope someone can help me...I faintly recall during the last revival of of "A Little Night Music", the show needing an understudy, and there was a cast member who was in another show, whohad left 'Night Music' and the producers were the same of the 2 shows and let the actress have an understudy for the current show, and then go perform in 'Night Music' for the one performance...does this sound like anything to anyone else?
"

Sara Jean Ford was let out of Night Music to go on as Christine in Phantom. 
http://www.playbill.com/article/exclusive-broadway-phantom-star-saves-the-day-at-a-little-night-music-com-173939

A week after leaving Aladdin, JMI was sprung out of Hamilton rehearsals to be Genie for a weekend.

 

I also recall a few years ago, a tour Elphaba having to train up from Philly with her costumes to do a show in NY that evening  

 

 

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Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress! #14
Posted: 1/13/20 at 12:28pm

ACL2006 said: "Lucie Jones plus the two Jenna understudies were all sick on Saturday. Flying in Desi for a week makes the most sense. I can't think of a time where this ever happened on Broadway(with any show)."

This has happened a few times with Rent, particularly when Antonique Smith covered for Maureen and then at some point she came back a few years later to cover when they had nobody.

 

I also think it happened somewhat recently with Wicked. Didn’t Christine Dwyer come in for a week or so?

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trpguyy said: "fashionguru_23 said: "This makes me think of the story with David Garrison from the 1980's, where he had left "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine", and he was rehearsing "Gallery" for the Public, and everyone was sick, so he was asked to come in and do a performance months after he left.

Also, I can't recall correctly, so I hope someone can help me...I faintly recall during the last revival of of "A Little Night Music", the show needing an understudy, and there was a cast member who was in another show, whohad left 'Night Music' and the producers were the same of the 2 shows and let the actress have an understudy for the current show, and then go perform in 'Night Music' for the one performance...does this sound like anything to anyone else?
"

Sara Jean Ford was let out of Night Music to go on as Christine in Phantom.
http://www.playbill.com/article/exclusive-broadway-phantom-star-saves-the-day-at-a-little-night-music-com-173939

A week after leaving Aladdin, JMI was sprung out of Hamilton rehearsals to be Genie for a weekend.



I also recall a few years ago, a tour Elphaba having to train up from Philly with her costumes to do a show in NY that evening




"

It was the other way. All the Elphabas on tour were either sick or on vacation so Dee Roscioli and Carla Stickler(who was the understudy on Broadway at the time) filled in for the week. 

 

It's happened in Wicked on Broadway too with Jenny DiNioa filling in random times and Christine Dwyer doing the same. 

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mailhandler777 said: "tIt was the other way. All the Elphabas on tour were either sick oron vacation so DeeRoscioli andCarla Stickler(who was the understudy on Broadway at the time) filled in for the week.”

Ah yes, that was it. Thank you for filling in the correct details.

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Also, Sean Ghazi, filling in as Angel in London when he’d only ever done the show in Germany! in German!
https://www.wildrice.com.sg/newsletter/NL41/article1.html

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Just remembered this one. Nikki M. James almost had to fill in as Nabulungi in London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWaujuqvfu0&feature=youtu.be&t=21m29s
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fosseboi008 said: "I believe this happened with Rondi Reed years ago. I think she was currently in Wicked as Morrible and had to jet over to “August Osage County” to fill her original role. Don’t remember all the circumstances. "

It was the final performance of A:OC on Broadway. Elizabeth Ashley had been playing Mattie Fae but took sick. The producers asked Reed, who was appearing in WICKED, to step back in for the final performance. She agreed, and the WICKED producers agreed to release her for the day to close the show. 

interestingly, it was a two-show day for WICKED, and Reed returned for the evening performance after doing A:OC at the matinee. 

"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Updated On: 1/13/20 at 05:58 PM
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Some amazing stories of performers going above and beyond to keep the show going. Thanks for posting.

A refreshing change after all the bashing of the modern work ethic that has been common on the board lately. Not sure even Merman herself would have flown to London to save a show the following night. 

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trpguyy said: "fashionguru_23 said: "This makes me think of the story with David Garrison from the 1980's, where he had left "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine", and he was rehearsing "Gallery" for the Public, and everyone was sick, so he was asked to come in and do a performance months after he left.

Also, I can't recall correctly, so I hope someone can help me...I faintly recall during the last revival of of "A Little Night Music", the show needing an understudy, and there was a cast member who was in another show, whohad left 'Night Music' and the producers were the same of the 2 shows and let the actress have an understudy for the current show, and then go perform in 'Night Music' for the one performance...does this sound like anything to anyone else?
"

Sara Jean Ford was let out of Night Music to go on as Christine in Phantom.
http://www.playbill.com/article/exclusive-broadway-phantom-star-saves-the-day-at-a-little-night-music-com-173939


Thank you! I knew I wasn't crazy!


"

 

"The 54th Street[theatre] had a rep as. . .where old musicals went to die." -Smaxie
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Desi Oakley steps into London’s Waitress! #22
Posted: 1/14/20 at 12:56pm

There was also a situation during previews of the Falsettos revival where some type of bug was going through the cast and hit Stephanie J. Block and her understudy.  They did not have another understudy at the time, so they brought in one of the swings (Stephanie Umoh) in the morning and taught her the role.  She did the performance with script in hand. 

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saxpower said: "There was also a situation during previews of the Falsettos revival where some type of bug was going through the cast and hit Stephanie J. Block and her understudy. They did not have another understudy at the time, so they brought in one of the swings (Stephanie Umoh) in the morning and taught her the role. She did the performance with script in hand."

I was at that performance!! I remember that. 

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Perhaps not as impressive as the other stories in this thread, but: When John Cameron Mitchell hurt his knee during the 2014 revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Michael C Hall returned to the role for a week because the production didn't have anybody as the Hedwig cover/understudy/standby.

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I believe Merle Dandrige was flown in from the tour to fill in as Aida on broadway because the normal aida was sick as was the understudy and the standby was on vacation.

It’s happened a bunch of times at “Chicago” over the years.