Desi Oakley

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Desi Oakley
Born (1989-06-12) June 12, 1989 (age 32)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Michigan (BFA)
OccupationActress, singer
Known forWaitress, Chicago, Wicked
Websitewww.desioakley.com

Desi Oakley (born June 12, 1989) is an American singer and actress, known for her work in musical theatre. She has performed in shows such as Waitress, Chicago, and Wicked.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Desiree "Desi" Oakley was born in Wichita, Kansas. She was exposed to professional theatre at Music Theatre Wichita and began performing at 8 years old. Some of her early roles included Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Eponine in Les Misérables, Gabriella in High School Musical, and Ariel in The Little Mermaid.[2] She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with a BFA in Musical Theater.

Broadway career[edit]

Oakley made her Broadway debut in Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre on January 3, 2012, as one of the show's swings.[3] She later got plucked up to the Ensemble along with understudying the roles of Nessarose and the lead role of Elphaba.

Prior after her first contract in Wicked, Oakley went on to appear in the 2012 Broadway revival of Annie at the Palace Theatre. Along with appearing in the Ensemble, she understudied both Grace Farrell and Lily St. Regis. Immediately afterwards in 2013, Oakley went on the National Tour of the 2012 revival of Evita serving as the alternate for the titular role performing twice a week.

In 2016, Oakley joined the cast of the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Misérables at the Imperial Theatre as part of the Ensemble along with covering the role of Fantine. She stayed with the production till its final performance on September 4, 2016.

Oakley is best known for her performance in the lead role of Jenna in Waitress, which she originated on the show's first National Tour.[4] She also temporarily starred as Jenna in the West End production of Waitress, at the Adelphi Theatre, in January 2020.[5]

On May 13, 2019, Oakley began starring as Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway.[6] She played three two-week engagements in the role, with her final performance on July 28, 2019.[7]

Other works[edit]

Along with performing on Broadway, Oakley is also an acclaimed singer-songwriter. She has released several solo studio albums consisting of 2014's Don't Look Back, 2019's Repeat, and most recently 2020's A Pocket of Time which she helped raise money with all the donations from the digital downloads go directly to the Dramatist Guild Foundation in supporting struggling artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also recorded a several one-off singles including White Butterfly and 2020's Winter Song (featuring Becca White).

Oakley also has taught at various Musical Theater intensives giving master classes both in New York City and across the country. In November 2019, she along with her Evita tour castmate and best friend Krystina Alabado launched Pop Rock Broadway: a Broadway training program for young actors in NYC expanding into the world of Pop, Rock, and Contemporary Musical Theatre. [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Desi Oakley". Internet Broadway Database.
  2. ^ "Desi Oakley". A Class Act NY. December 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "Desi Oakley". Playbill.
  4. ^ Gilbert, Ryan (August 9, 2017). "Serve with a Smile! Desi Oakley, Bryan Fenkart & More Will Star in the National Tour of Waitress". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 13, 2020). "Producers Fly Desi Oakley to London to Fill in for Ill Waitress Stars". Playbill.
  6. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 13, 2019). "Desi Oakley Joins Broadway Cast of Chicago May 13". Playbill. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  7. ^ "Desi Oakley to Razzle Dazzle in CHICAGO as Roxie Hart". BroadwayWorld. May 9, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  8. ^ "Pop Rock Broadway". Pop Rock Broadway. Retrieved April 14, 2020.