Marisha Wallace's rise to fame as she joins Celebrity Big Brother

Marisha Wallace - Celebrity Big Brother 2024. (ITV)
Marisha Wallace is one of the stars to join the Celebrity Big Brother house. (ITV)

Celebrity Big Brother is set to welcome 12 new stars to the Big Brother house on Monday, 4 March and one of the cast to appear on the ITV show is West End icon Marisha Wallace.

The 38-year-old singer has a long history of treading the boards on Broadway and in the West End, with her most recent performance being a nearly year-long run as Adelaide in the critically-acclaimed hit Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre in London.

Read more: Celebrity Big Brother 2024 lineup 'leak' including Sharon Osbourne

But who is she and what should you know about her? Well, ahead of the launch of Celebrity Big Brother, here is everything you need to know.

Marisha Wallace's rise to fame as she joins Celebrity Big Brother

London, UK.  Marisha Wallace  at the Olivier Awards. Royal  Albert Hall. 2nd April 2023.  Ref:LMK11-S030423-001.  Steve Bealing/Landmark Media .
Marisha Wallace at the Olivier Awards in April 2023, where she was nominated for her performance in the Young Vic's Oklahoma! (Getty Images)

Wallace is a trained singer who began her career in the US, appearing in the Broadway productions of The Book of Mormon, Aladdin and Something Rotten!. Her career was one earned through hard grafting, and came after she experienced terrifying health concerns.

Speaking with the Guardian in 2023, Wallace said when she was 16 she discovered a cyst on her vocal chords, she required risky surgery to remove it. The night before surgery her church's 150-strong congregation helped pray for her, and the next day after she went in for surgery she learned that the cyst had gone.

Reflecting on the surprising event, Wallace told the publication: “I’m not religious but I am spiritual. I think things happen in our lives that change the course of how it’s going to go. Because if that hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t be here.”

Broadway and West End Star Marisha Wallace performing on the opening night of her UK tour at Ilkley Kings Hall on September 24, 2021 Featuring: Marisha Wallace Where: Yorkshire, United Kingdom When: 24 Sep 2021 Credit: Graham Finney/WENN
Marisha Wallace began her career in the US, performing in Broadway before she was hired as an emergency replacement in the West End production of Dreamgirls, which kick-started her career in the UK. (Getty)

Her move to the UK began in 2016, whilst she was appearing in Something Rotten!, when she was hired as an emergency replacement for Amber Riley in the musical Dreamgirls.

Sharing her story on social media, Wallace explained to fans that there had been a sickness in the cast and so she was hired to lead as Effie White. She learned the show in five days and was so successful during her time on the show that she was promoted to alternate and then lead over the course of two years.

Rather than return to the US, Wallace decided to stay in the UK and took measures to get a new visa to be able to live and work in the UK after leaving Dream Girls. Once her visa was approved she was hired on the cast of Waitress, which she starred in opposite Katharine McPhee.

Marisha Wallace, Katherine McPhee and Laura Baldwin during a media call for the new West End musical 'Waitress' at the Adelphi Theatre, in The Strand, central London. Picture date: Thursday February 7th, 2019. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.
Marisha Wallace later joined Katherine McPhee and Laura Baldwin in the West End musical Waitress. (EMPICS Entertainment)

Her success in the West End continued to grow from there, with the actor landing a job on Hairspray! as Motormouth Maybelle and in the Young Vic's adaptation of Oklahoma! in which she starred as Ado Annie. Oklahoma! saw her earn an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

Then in 2023 Wallace took on the role of Miss Adelaide, the night club singer perpetually engaged to Nathan Detroit (Daniel Mays) in Guys & Dolls. Her run on the musical ended in February, and in her Instagram post about leaving the show she said she was "so excited for my next adventure".

As well as work on Broadway and the West End, Wallace has been embarking on a fitness journey that she has kept fans up-to-date with since she began in 2021. In a post shared in September 2023, Wallace explained the difficult place she was in when she began her wellness journey in March 2021.

Marisha Wallace in Guys & Dolls at The Bridge Theatre in March 2023, a role she performed for almost a year-long run. (Getty Images)
Marisha Wallace in Guys & Dolls at The Bridge Theatre in March 2023, a role she performed for almost a year-long run. (Getty Images)

She wrote: "The pandemic was raging and I was going through it with an ex who had mental health issues. My mental health was awful. I was bingeing and filled with anxiety. The one thing I loved performing was taken away and I didn’t know if I would stay in London or return to America.

"I was newly divorced and just lost. No one knew because I’m great at smiling and acting like everything is okay. It was in that moment I decided to change my life."

Wallace added: "It is a lifelong commitment to yourself. Just like a marriage. No get fit quick scheme. Consistency and patience. I am in this for the long haul. There will be times I gain, lose or maintain. It’s all apart of it. I’m so proud of this work. It is life changing."

Celebrity Big Brother begins with a live launch at 9pm on Monday, 4 March on ITV1 and ITVX.