About Valisia

This Memphis,TN native of African, Irish, Asian, Scandinavian & American descent (Thanks Ancenstry.com) started singing in church at the age of six years old. She grew up with musical influences such as Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross and many others. At a young age, Valisia new she was born with a gift from God. Growing up in Memphis she could be found singing anywhere where people would listen; church, funerals, weddings, hair shows, talent shows, karaoke contest, beauty pageants, local fairs, schools and theme parks. Her first professional singing gig came at the age of 15 when she was chosen to perform during the summer at the local theme park, Libertyland.  At that show Valisia was chosen to portray both Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. She spent her high school summer years performing at Libertyland before heading off to UT Knoxville. There she became one of the University's Mascots (Smokey) during her freshman and sophomore year, but she failed to make the squad her junior year, so she then decided to drive an hour each way from Knoxville, TN to Pigeon Forge, TN to become a featured performer at  Dollywood Theme Park in the great Smokey Mountains.  She would spend the next two years there while taking eighteen semester hours her junior and senior year of college. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, Valisia moved to NYC with dreams of becoming the next "Aretha Whitney Houston Franklin." She immediately landed a USO Tour (USA & Germany) and after one Off-Broadway show, two national tours, multiple regional theatre shows (Winner of a Jeff Award and a Kevin Kline nomination, Black Theatre Alliance Award nomination) and four Broadway shows (all Tony nominated) Valisia's fifth Broadway show garnered her the lead role of "Diana Ross" in Motown The Musical!  Valisia spent two years developing this role with Berry Gordy and the director, Charles Randolph Wright and her hard work paid off.  In 2013, she was named one of the "13 to Watch 2013" on EntertainmentWeekly.com. She won a 2013 Theatre World Award and was nominated for a 2013 Tony Award (Leading Actress in a Musical), Drama League Award and an Outer Critics Award. She was awarded a 2013 Triumph Award (NAN) and was on the 2013 "The Root 100" list. In 2013, She also received the "Accomplished Alumni Award" and in 2014 the "Alumni Promise Award" both from her alma mater, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  At the end of 2013, Valisia was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, just a few days after learning she had been nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award. Over the last couple of years, Valisia has used her voice to educate others about ovarian cancer. She has been honored by all three national ovarian cancer organizations and has worked with Stand Up To Cancer on numerous campaigns.  She was also the spokesperson for the NOCC and has been the guest speaker for cancer organizations across the country as well as a guest speaker at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Princeton University. Valisia serves on the advisory board for the Department of  Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Her journey has been featured in Elle.com, Vogue.com, Vanity Fair Magazine, Essence Magazine, Parade Magazine, USA Today, NY Times and many other publications.  Valisia was named the 2016 Look Good Feel Better Dream Girl.  In 2018, Valisia was honored by Thrive Causemetics with the "Thrive Award" and with that honor, one of their products

( Valisia, Pomegranate Lip Liner ) was named after her.  On June 15, 2018, Valisia's journey of "Becoming Diana" (backstage rituals)   illustrated by Lila Ash was featured on Lena Dunham's LennyLetter.Com. 

Valisia was featured on Tina's Wish.com in February 2019 for Black History Month. She will be a guest speaker & performer at their  Annual Benefit Dinner on Sept 26th, 2019.  Tina's Wish is a non-profit ovarian cancer  dedicated to research for the prevention and early detection of ovarian cancer.

Check out the song "I Am Here" that was inspired by Valisia's journey with ovarian cancer. It was written by Julius Thomas III​ and performed by the Broadway Cast of Motown The Musical.

Valisia can be heard singing on the cast recordings of Motown the Musical and the revival of 110 in the Shade.

                                  TALK OF THE TOWN 

"LeKae, a Tony Award nominee, has a voice you can sink into, a plush coat of a timbre with a creamy finish, and she sustains her pitch with uncommon rigor, showing it’s not just how you attack a note but how you hold it fast."

                     Mark Twain's River of Song - San Francisco Chronicle   

 

"Yet it’s a tiny mite of a woman, Valisia LeKae, who usurps the stage whenever she’s given the chance. In a surprisingly large breadth of roles, mostly female although some male (like Huck Finn), she comes closest to being the real heart and soul of “River.”

                        Mark Twain's River of Song - The Mercury News

   

"Valisia LeKae (with an exceptionally sweet voice and graceful stage presence) ... sing, sometimes, exquisitely, a cappella, and play various small roles, including Huck and Jim in an affecting river-raft scene from “Huckleberry Finn.” LeKae’s several brief monologues as enslaved women are especially poignant."

                    Mark Twain's River of Song - San Francisco Examiner 

"Four men and a woman add immeasurably to the music and the reality of the story...Valisia Lekae, who plays LaVern Baker, a singer whose dynamic personality shone through her voice and her smile. Lekae is brilliant as Baker. She herself shines through this extraordinary company."

                            Rock & Roll Man - The Berkshire Eagle

"But only Ms. Lekae and Mr. Crandle start to convey the disruptive electricity of these recording stars."

                   Rock & Roll Man -  Ben Brantley- The New York Times  

"The guys who form the quartet... are terrific, as is powerhouse Valisia Lekae "

                            Rock & Roll Man - The Berkshire Eagle

"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. "

                               Motown The Musical - TheaterMania.com

"...the strengths of "Motown the Musical" lie within its celebrity-infused performers, especially Valisia LeKae's formidable leading facsimile of Ross (a very challenging role, executed with verve)"   

                                    Motown The Musical - Chicago Tribune

"... to the sweet and spicy Ross of Valisia LeKae, whose lithe, tangy soprano evokes that diva in both song and speech"

                                       Motown The MusicalUSA Today

Valisia LeKae as Sarah, whose beauty and tragic knack for bad decisions drives much of the show's dramatic action. Lekae has a beautiful soprano voice, which she uses to lovely effect during "Your Daddy's Son" and, especially, "Sarah Brown Eyes."

                                     Ragtime -BroadwayWorld.com

"Valisia LeKae, for instance, proves she was born to be an R&B diva

by tearing the roof off with "Sunshine on My Shoulders," transformed here into an electrifying piece of soul"

                            Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver- Variety.com 

2010 - present
2010 - present
Film

Coming Soon

Actress

Television

NBC 2019| THE BLACKLIST EPISODED 601| Dr. Hans Koehler

CoStar

 

CBS 2017| BLUE BLOODS EPISODE 805 | The Forgotten

Leah Walker /Guest Starring

CBS | 67th & 60th Annual Tony Awards | 

2013- Motown: The Musical  "Diana Ross"

2006- Three Penny Opera    

PBS | Camelot Live from the Lincoln Center

Ensemble

ABC | One Life to Life |

Evangeline (body double) 6 episodes

Broadway 

Motown: The Musical | Diana Ross | 

Starring: Valisia LeKae

Nominated for a Grammy, Tony, Drama League & Outer Critics Award.  Winner of a Theatre World Award. 

 

 

Book of Mormon | Nabulungi Understudy *performed|

Ensemble

Ragtime | Sarah understudy *performed |

Ensemble

110 in the Shade  Starring: Audra McDonald |

Snookie Understudy *performed |

Ensemble

Three Penny Opera Starring: Cyndi Lauper & Alan Coming | Swing *performed 

Camelot  Starring: Marin Mazzie & Gabriel Byrne

| Lincoln Center Theatre |

Ensemble

Commercials

CHICOS | That Holiday Feeling |

Broadway Stars : Valisia LeKae

2019 website by V.L.                 Photos by Antonio Navas