(it's long, grab a snack)
Actress, comedian, and lyric soprano Miki Yamashita has appeared in principal roles on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show, iCarly, Law & Order, One Life To Live, and As The World Turns. She was the first Asian American to be cast in a leading role in a pilot for Oxygen, the digital cable platform for women.
Born in western Massachusetts, the second generation Japanese American studied classical voice at New England Conservatory of Music, and drama at Yale University.
Miki made her professional debut in the role of Maria in West Side Story at the Mount Washington Valley Theatre (NH). She has played the role of Connie Wong in multiple productions of A Chorus Line, including a national tour. Other favorite roles include Tuptim in The King and I, Luisa in The Fantasticks, and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, for which she was praised by The New York Times: "Miki Yamashita has the kind of beautiful voice and effortless delivery that a revue of this nature demands."
Miki's musical theater experience drew her to audition for the Walt Disney World Resort, where she had hoped to sing as Mulan or Pocahontas. Instead, Disney's casting executives, intrigued by Miki's comedic talents, cast her as an improvisational and sketch comedy performer in The Anacomical Players at Epcot. Before leaving Disney however, Miki was able to fulfill her wish to sing as a Disney Princess when she was cast in the role of the Young Indian Maiden in the live production of The Jungle Book, at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Miki's lifelong passion for figure skating led her to create, write, and co-host the late night talk show Lutz Chat, an over-the-top send up of the world of competitive skating. Full of blistering and outlandish commentary on everything from costumes to choreography to skaters' sex lives, Lutz Chat was hailed by The Village Voice as "the funniest half-hour on TV" and chosen as one of "The Best in NYC."
Miki is the playwright of The Geisha Next Door, a solo performance piece that draws unexpected comedic parallels between the life of a traditional Japanese geisha, and that of Miki's struggles as a modern day Asian American actress striving for equal opportunity, and combating both stereotypes and industry invisibility. Miki has performed the show in Off-Off Broadway venues, as well as at Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles.
Miki served as principal singer and teaching artist with the Los Angeles Opera, where she made her mainstage debut as Marcellina in Figaro 90210. Miki's unique blend of classically trained vocal technique and effervescent personality has enlivened audiences of all ages in LA Opera's many community engagement productions, in roles as diverse as a hungry coyote (The Prospector), a grandmother bird spirit (The White Bird of Poston), and Turandot (The Legend of Cannery Row).
Miki is the producer, writer, and host of Opera Off The Cuff, a live concert series in Los Angeles that features emerging minority talent in the worlds of opera and stand-up comedy.
Miki holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Theater Arts from Mount Holyoke College.