Following a major bout of illness in the West End that has affected Lucie Jones, who currently stars as Jenna, and understudies Sarah O’Connor and Olivia Moore, the producers of Waitress have flown over Desi Oakley, who starred as Jenna in the First National Tour.

Desi most recently played Jenna in Canada, closing the First National Tour, having originally left in September 2018. She has been recently seen in Chicago on Broadway in New York, and her starring role as Jenna at the Adelphi Theatre will be her West End debut.

Both performances of Waitress were cancelled on Saturday 11 January, due to cast illness, which resulted in Olivia Moore, who had been covering the role of Jenna for the week prior, to be taken unable to perform just before the Saturday matinee was due to start.

For the evening performance, David Hunter, who plays Dr. Pomatter, hosted a special concert presentation of four songs from the show – Marisha Wallace performed “I Didn’t Plan It,” Hannah Tointon performed “When He Sees Me,” Joel Montague performed “Never Ever Getting Rid Of Me” before the entire cast closed with “Opening Up (Finale).” All audience members for both performances were given letters explaining that they could claim a refund or rebook. The Adelphi Theatre was later put on lockdown due to a suspicious package in a restaurant near the Vaudeville Theatre, next door, resulting in their show, Magic Goes Wrong, being cancelled and the theatre evacuated.

Desi will play the role for the week commencing Monday 13 January.