As a consummate crossover artist, Onalea's original work is a unique blend of music and the theatrical. As a performer she has worked in both the traditional and the avant-garde playing roles on the stage, screen, and in cartoons. An accomplished vocalist, she has sung with everything from solo piano to chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, and big bands. She has recorded four CD's ranging from big band to jazz standards, electronica to original material.
Onalea's original pieces REQUIEM FOR A LOST GIRL: A Chamber Musical About Homelessness and BLANCHE: The Bittersweet Life Of A Wild Prairie Dame premiered in New York City as a special events of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. BLANCHE was named a top 20 show in New York in 2011 by the Huffington Post. REQUIEM will be presented as a part of Vancouver Opera's 2018 season.
As a theatre artist Onalea has performed numerous roles across Canada, including 7 seasons as an ensemble member with the award-winning Canadian physical performance theatre company One Yellow Rabbit, creating many original characters and starring as Sylvia Plath in Sylvia Plath Must Not Die. Additionally, Onalea has co-created and performed several shows as an actor, singer and puppeteer, with symphony orchestras internationally as a part of Dandi productions - a company formed with Canadian Colleague Doug McKeag.
Select Roles include: Sleep No More (Off Broadway -Hecate); Mata Hari in 8 Bullets (NYMF) The Ballad of Weedy Peedstraw (Hazel -Caravan Farm Theatre); Into the Woods (Cinderella); The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Drood); Assassins (Squeaky Fromme); Falsettos (Cordelia); and Bernstein's MASS with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra - Hans Graf conducting (Mezzo Soprano/Blues singer).
Current work in progress is TORCH SONGS FROM THE GYPSY VAN a love story with Jazz and String quartet.
“Gilbertson's distinctive, charming voice bristles with intelligence and captures your attention effortlessly. You always sit up and pay notice when she's singing." -Michael Giltz, Huffington Post
"...an artist with a beautiful voice..." - Celia Wren, The Washington Post
“An enchanting stage presence and a silky voice” - Time out New York