PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Matilda's "Mrs. Wormwood," Olivier Award Winner Lesli Margherita

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16 Apr 2013

Lesli Margherita
Lesli Margherita

Lesli Margherita, making her Broadway debut as Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda The Musical, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

She received the Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Zorro the Musical in London’s West End. A
California native, her national tour/regional credits include Kiss Me, Kate; Show Boat; Man of La Mancha; The Grönholm Method; Little Shop of Horrors; Spamalot; Grease; Aida; West Side Story and See What I Wanna See.

Her nightclub act All Hail the Queen has played to soldout crowds in NY/L.A.


Full given name: Lesli Michelle Margherita
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in San Jose, CA, raised in Fremont, CA. Woo Hoo Cali!
Zodiac Sign:Taurus. Total. Taurus.
What your parents did/do for a living:My dad is retired, he was a masonry contractor. He actually built the theme park theater I performed in during high school. My mom is an awesome stay-at-home/proud stage mom.
Siblings:3 older sisters. Lisa, Lynn and Lora. I know… the L thing.
Current audition song/monologue:I will do anything humanly possible to get out of singing my own song at an audition. I like singing from the score.

But, since it never seems to work, I usually sing "Gorgeous" from The Apple Tree and "Umbrella" as a ballad. Yes, the Rihanna one.

At my first Matilda audition, they looked through my book and had me do the end of "My Strongest Suit" from Aida, which range-wise is close to "Loud." Fantastic, now I’ve just given away my songs. Thanks, Playbill.

Special skills: Seriously, I have none. Wait- I’m an amazing online shopper. Oh, and I bedazzle. I can bedazzle anything. And do. Judge away.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Anything domestic. My poor husband. I can’t cook, and can’t clean. I once put laundry detergent in the dishwasher. True story. The dishes smelled nice, though.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out? My ballet teacher Yoko Young gave me whatever technique I have today, and gave me a strong work ethic. Later, it was Kenny Ortega, who gave me my first TV job and taught me about performing for the camera, as well as being grateful for every job you get. Even if it's a flop.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Jerome Robbins' Broadway. I LOVED it. An entire cast of triple threats. I wanted to be them. Jason Alexander (who won the Tony for it) has directed me now a couple of times in L.A. It was so cool to tell him how much that show meant to me.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? The original cast of A Chorus Line. They WERE those people.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Book of Mormon- Matt Doyle is a phenom.

Newsies- those boys are FIERCE.

I’m also telling peeps to look out for First Date: The Musical this summer. I workshopped an early version, and it’s really really funny.

Some favorite modern musicals: I was a total Rent-head. The Producers, Spamalot. Love Wicked.
Some favorite classic musicals: Man of La Mancha; Kiss Me, Kate. I know they aren’t totally old, but Evita and Dreamgirls are my faves.
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, Lesley Ann Warren. I mean, come on.
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Don’t laugh. I’m a Celine freak. I’ll NEVER sound like her, I’m just saying publicly that I love her.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: In keeping with the mortifying Celine theme, my husband surprised me and we flew to Vegas to see her concert. I kid you not, she took one step on stage, and I started bawling. Loudly. My husband could not have sunk down in his seat further.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Reggae. I hate it so much that I will cry if it’s playing anywhere.
MAC or PC? What's a PC?
Most played song on your iPod: It started as a joke but if I needed a boost before something big, I played "Eye of the Tiger" loudly. During previews, I’ve needed it a lot, lol.
Most-visited websites: D Listed for celeb gossip that makes me scream laugh.

Divatress (you read that correctly) for the insane amount of extra hair I buy.

Playbill. Duh.

Last book you read: I’m a bookworm, bookworm, stupid little bookworm (see Matilda). I read a ton, and I’m also a proud YA (young adult) fan. Just finished the last in the "Maze Runner" series. I recommend. "Hunger Games"-ish.
Must-see TV show(s): "Homeland"
"Game of Thrones"
"True Blood"

Oh yeah, and "The Vampire Diaries." Go ahead, judge me again. You can’t go wrong with hot Vampires. Just saying.

Some films you consider classics: MY classics: The ORIGINAL "Star Wars" Trilogy. "Tootsie." All of the Brat Pack films of the 80’s. The Indiana Jones movies (the first three, the last one was a little boo).
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Bette Midler. Who is at the theatre next to ours. She is literally steps away from me. My stalking possibilities are high.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Dance Moms," "Drag Race," "Toddlers and Tiaras" and yes… The Kardashians.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: The first LP I ever had was "Barry Manilow LIVE!" I loved him. Hmm… says a lot about me, really.
What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you? From about 10-12, I screlted “Tomorrow” in every Annie production I could. I then moved on to playing Peter Pan a bunch… until I looked like I was smuggling two lost boys under my shirt. I went from Peter Pan to Peron’s Mistress in 6 months.
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