Desi Oakley

Desi Oakley originated the role of Jenna Hunterson on the First National Tour of Waitress the Musical. She took a break from the tour, to star in Chicago on Broadway, before returning to complete the tour in Toronto in summer 2019.

On playing Jenna, Desi said: “One of the hardest challenges while on the road has been maintaining my sense of self and separating the character from myself. Jenna is so relatable and has an accent that is how a lot of my family talks. She almost comes naturally to me, and I’ve grown to love her. So I FaceTime my friends, I read my book, I do yoga, I try to find something fun in each city. It’s about playing Desi and remembering my true identity so Jenna can thrive onstage.”

Desi left the tour to play Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway, and was replaced by Christine Dwyer in September 2018. She released an original album, entitled “Repeat,” in 2019, and previously portrayed Antonia on “Gotham.”

In 2020, Desi made her West End debut, playing Jenna for the week commencing 13 January 2020, due to the illness of Lucie JonesSarah O’Connor and Olivia Moore, which resulted in the cancellation of two performances on Saturday 11 January 2020. Lucie returned to the role on 20 January, with Desi in the audience, but was unfortunately unable to continue for the second act, so Desi stepped in and finished the show. She continued to play Jenna up until 25 January 2020, with Sara Bareilles taking over on Monday 27.

Desi reprised the role in a new non-replica production of Waitress the Musical in 2024 at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Maine.

Selected Previous Credits


  • Chicago
  • Les Misérables
  • Annie
  • Wicked


  • Evita, Tour
  • Prince of Egypt, New York Theatre
  • Chasing The Song, New York Theatre
  • Show Boat, New York Theatre


  • Shrek: The Musical, Connecticut Repertory Theatre
  • Girlstar, Signature Theatre
  • The Little Mermaid, Music Theatre of Wichita
NameDesiree Oakley
Born12 June 1989
FromWichita, Kansas
TrainedUniversity of Michigan
RoleJenna Hunterson First National Tour
Jenna Hunterson West End
Jenna Hunterson Ogunquit Playhouse