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As a music and theatre artist Onalea has performed numerous roles world wide including the role of Hecate in the hit show Sleep no More in New York City.
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 has created and performed shows as a singer, actor and puppeteer for symphony orchestras as a part of Dandi productions - a company formed with colleague Doug McKeag and she spent 7 seasons with the legendary Canadian physical theatre ensemble One Yellow Rabbit.
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 special events of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. REQUIEM was presented as a part of Vancouver Opera's 2018 season. Mata Hari in 8 Bullets (composed by David Rhymer with lyrics by Blake Brooker) performed off Broadway in New York and at the Edinburgh festival.
Onalea is also an activist who passionately believes using The Arts as a tool for education, advocacy and social change. She has collaborated in creating community and conversation around the topics of homelessness, poverty, mental health, addiction and missing and murdered women by engaging with the following organizations as a part of the Requiem project: Calgary Drop In Centre, Calgary Woman’s Centre, Henry Street Settlement Shelter, Fountain House, Covenant house youth crisis shelter (NYC) and The Kettle Society (Vancouver).
Onalea is presently working on a solo album project of torch, cabaret & originals and she will be hosting and performing at the 2019 Bell Grandstand show at the Calgary Stampede (July 5-14 2019). Follow her online @onaleag
“One of the most powerful performances I’ve ever experienced, this opera that is not merely watched but felt through and through. Every member of the audience was invested and fully wrenched in the anger, the despair, the wrath and the hope.” (The Vancouver arts Review -Maira Hassan RE Onalea's piece REQUIEM FOR A LOST GIRL)
"Intimate yet sweeping... haunting and powerful... you found yourself reeling from its emotional punch"
NY THEATRE.COM (RE Onalea's piece BLANCHE)
“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