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August 23, 2017
Interview: Lesli Margherita on Doing Cabaret, Festivals and Getting Close to Her Fans

We caught up with the hilarious, incredibly talented Lesli Margherita to discuss her upcoming shows at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

I saw you play the Devil’s assistant in Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil at NYMF and I would’ve totally sold you my soul too.

Why thanks! (laughs)

How was it to play that part?

I’d worked with the director in Matilda, he said the script was hilarious and I had to play the devil, so I said “of course.” Once I read the script I couldn’t pass it up.

What’s your process for selecting the songs you’ll sing in a cabaret show?

I have different shows for different types of music, for a show like this at Feinstein’s/54 Below I love to sing pop music more than theatre standards, so I make a dream list of what I’d like to sing. I ask myself what I wanna talk about and make a list of topics, it’s really funny because most of the time they end up making sense together. Then I go through what I feel strongly about for that version of the show, there are stories and songs I’ve done for years that have to stay. They’re classics to me, but every time I do a new show there’s new pop songs out that I wanna do my own take on. You wanna be able to do everything but you can’t, that’s why I have so many different shows.

Is there one song you’ve never been able to fit into any show despite loving it?

I like to sing “My Man” from Funny Girl and I can never fit it into any show.

Not even in the encore?

No, because my shows tend to have a real story arc to them, I like to think of them as 80 minute shows. If a song doesn’t make sense in the show I don’t put it in.

So if you have this arc and you’re doing a song from Zorro or Matilda do you try to play the character during that song?

I’m me, I don’t do anything from Matilda in this show, I do songs from Zorro to tell the story of how I got there, how I won the Olivier, and so the songs are interspersed into the story. The songs come out of the story, but they’re always me, you can’t replicate a performance in a cabaret show. It’s weird and out of context.

Have you ever been tempted to write a musical about your own life?

I feel these kinda are, especially this show. I have a different show of standards but Rule Your Kingdom is my musical. It’s about my life and things that are important to me, like I tell the audience, I have your money already so now I’ll sing about things I care about.

Why is it important for you to do cabaret shows and festivals, instead of just sticking to Broadway?

It’s important to get my views out, things I want to sing and talk about. The festivals are so important to me because they’re the future of theatre, I feel like if I can get any audience to them to get their work seen, that’s the most important thing I can do. It’s also important for me to reach fans who don’t know me as a person. If somebody asks me to do something and I can, I say yes.

When are you going to write a comedy book?

(Laughs) I’m always writing! My computer is full of stuff, so writing that book is my dream.

For more information on Rule Your Kingdom click here.

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Written by: Jose Solis
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