September 25, 1979 |
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Valisia LeKae (born September 25, 1979) is a Grammy and Tony nominated American actress and singer . She was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award and in 2013 she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical both for her performance as Diana Ross in the Broadway musical Motown: The Musical.
LeKae was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and listened to Motown records in her grandfather's barbershop as a youngster. She started to sing in church at age six and then worked at the Dollywood theme park. LeKae graduated from college with a degree in Psychology and minor in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
LeKae left Motown: The Musical in December 2013 to be treated after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. In February 2014, LeKae was named spokesperson for The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. www.ovarian.org
During a debate about the medical necessity of pelvic exams Valisia's male gynecologist, Dr. David Fishman, used a pelvic exam he performed on her as an example for why he felt such examinations were of medical benefit. After inserting his lubricated finger into her vagina, Valisia felt some discomfort during the penetration, leading him to send for an ultra sound test which in turn discovered a small cyst.
The one person who truly shines, though, is Valisia LeKae as Gordy's longtime paramour, superstar Diana Ross. It's not just her almost spot-on re-creation of Miss Ross' breathy voice and steely demeanor that commands our attention. The consistent display of her genuine star power – most evident in a thrilling 'Reach Out and Touch' segment – also draws us in.
The TalkinBroadway reviewer wrote: "Valisia LeKae does a killer impersonation of Ross, and effectively mimics her smoky innocence."
For her performance she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She was also nominated for a Drama League Award (Distinguished Performance Award) and Outer Critics Circle Award (Outstanding Actress in a Musical) and won the Theatre World Award (Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway debut performance).
Previously, she was a swing and understudy in the Broadway productions of The Book of Mormon (2011), Ragtime (2009) for which she was the winner of a Joseph Jefferson Award , and The Threepenny Opera (2006) and a performer in 110 in the Shade (2007).
- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/29S5-W43 Date of birth, familysearch.org; accessed June 4, 2014.
- Gans, Andrew. "DIVA TALK: A Chat With 'Motown The Musical' Star Valisia LeKae", playbill.com, March 15, 2013
- Mandell, Jonathan. In the Middle with You: Motown Stars Valisia LeKae and Brandon Victor Dixon", playbill.com, May 2, 2013
- Hetrick, Adam. "Tony Award Nominee Valisia LeKae Departs Broadway's Motown to Undergo Treatment for Ovarian Cancer" playbill.com, December 17, 2013
- Heidi Evans "Medical group urges against gynecological pelvic exams; other doctors disagree" nydailynews.com/, June 30, 2014
- Hetrick, Adam. " 'Hail to the Beat': 'Motown: The Musical' Opens On Broadway April 14", playbill.com, April 14, 2013
- Lipton, Brian Scott. "Review. 'Motown: The Musical'", theatermania.com, April 14, 2013
- Murray, Matthew. "Broadway Reviews. 'Motown: The Musical'", talkinbroadway.com, April 14, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. "Nominations Announced for 67th Annual Tony Awards; 'Kinky Boots' Earns 13 Nominations", playbill.com, April 30, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. "Nominees Announced for 79th Annual Drama League Awards", playbill.com, April 23, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. " 'Pippin' Is Big Winner of 2012-13 Outer Critics Circle Awards", playbill.com, May 13, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. "Tom Hanks, Bertie Carvel, Valisia LeKae, Rob McClure and More Are Theatre World Award Winners", playbill.com, May 7, 2013
- Witherspoon, Chris. "Motown Actress Valisia LeKae Delivers as Diana Ross", thegrio.com, May 20, 2013
- "Valisia LeKae Listing", playbillvault.com
- "Valisia LeKae Profile", broadway.com