Olivier Award Winner & Broadway's Lesli Margherita

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

An Olivier Award winner for her West End debut as Inez in ZORRO THE MUSICAL, Queen Lesli made her Broadway debut originating the role of Mrs. Wormwood in MATILDA THE MUSICAL. After over 1000 performances, she bid farewell to the Broadway company of Matilda and crossed the street to The Helen Hayes to star as the diva Mona Kent in Broadway's DAMES AT SEA.  

Off-Broadway, Lesli starred as Princess in EMOJILAND and Cindy Lou Who in the one-woman tour-de-force WHO'S HOLIDAY. Her hilarious show-stopping performance earned her critical acclaim including a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, among other accolades. She has multiple TV and film appearances as well as played all your favorite roles in regional theatre. AND she is the creator/star of 'Looks Not Books' & 'Ship Happens' the popular backstage vlogs commissioned by Broadway.com, as well as the digital short series 'Sparklepuff,' all of which can be seen on YouTube. Lesli's books, NECK PUNCH and CARRY ON, and BLU!, are available on Amazon & iTunes. Her debut live album RULE YOUR KINGDOM is currently in stores and available on all digital platforms.

In this Metrosource Minis, we chat with Lesli about her allyship with the LGBTQ community, becoming the Queen of your own Kingdom, her favorite moment onstage, the struggle getting through COVID has been, her creative process in her performance of I Am What I Am, and, strangely enough, bar carts...with host Alexander Rodriguez.   

This is metro source minis, theofficial podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favoritepersonalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It'smetro source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred andninety. Hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, AlexanderRodriguez, lead writer from Metro sours and avid podcaster. So in the LGBTQland we say hey queen, but what does that really mean? So todayI'm chatting with the perfect expert, who is also one of our fabulous allies, who was featured in the latest issue of Metro sours, and she's makingme laugh and I'm still gonna do this intro. She's an Olivia Award winnerfor her west end debut in Zoro the musical. She made her Broadway debutoriginating the role of Mrs Wormwood in Matilda the musical, and after Onezero performanceswith children, by the way, she bid farewell to the Broadway Company Matilda, cross the street to the Hellen Hayes Theater to star and dames at seed. Off Broadway, she started as princess in Emoji land, and Cindy Louwho in the one woman Tourta Force who's holiday and her hilarious show stopping performanceearned her critical acclaim including a drama Desk Bomination for outstanding Solo perform mormants justmultiple TV and film appearances, as well as play all of your favorite rolesin regional theorem. And she's the creators star of looks, not books andShit happens, the popular backstage blogs commissioned by Broadwaycom as well as the digitalshort series sparkle puff, all of what you can see on Youtube, andher books, Neck Punch and carry on and blue are available on Amazon andItunes, and her debut live album, which is a must listen, especiallyduring covid rule your kingdom, is currently in stores and available in all digitalplatforms. Please welcome the girl, the girl with the last name that isclose to my heart. Please welcome Leslie Macro Vida, that's say. Okay, we have to tell them why we're laughing. Okay, so I'm inthe middle of a move. My husband and I are moving so and itlooks pretty set up back here, but I'm amazing. I'm literally building aBarkart on, like see, there we go, that is good. Isn'tjust like to be? What's IT GOING TO BE? What I'm she's gonnabe big enough for it, for a for all. Poor thing. We'retrying to do this interview and less he's like, Oh, this inter you, and she's like Oh, so I just tell you like I forgot.I forgot, which is why I look like this. And then Alexander,I was like, this is just a podcast, right, you're not goingto see my face. was like no, we're going to see your face.Do you want to reschedule? And I thought about it for twenty secondsand then was like no, it's fine. Just now. Not gonna get anybetter. Let's just let's just do it. So yeah, I meanyou're around the house building furniture. Look is is better than most people willever look in their lifetime, because you are a queen. Hey, queen, so let's talk about you are self proclaimed queen. What does that mean? You know, it doesn't mean what you think it means. It meansthat as a kid I always said I rule lest the rules and I wroteit everywhere. So to me it's just the title I gave myself and Itell people to give themselves whatever title they want, whether that's King, Queen, had farthhead, whatever you want to call yourself, and it is justmeans that I rule my little kingdom of me. That's it. It doesn'tmean a better than anyone else, but everyone else is going to give youa title, so give yourself one that you like. I love that.You know, some people get themselves title power top and sometimes it rings trueand sometimes it's that's not and sometimes it's fine, girl, all advertising.So you want to your title, there...

...you go. So your career hasalways fascinated me because usually a musical theater a diva will do Broadway, thenWest End, then TV, film, and you kind of did it backwards. Right through college. You did TV, then you went ahead, went overto the West End, picked up an Olivia Ward on your way toBroadway. What was it like getting a TV job right after school? Imean, that's a good dream come true. It was until I couldn't get anotherone. The hardest thing was I was, you know, one thousandseven hundred and eighteen. You're like, Oh yeah, this is amazing,this is so easy to get on a TV show, and then and Idid twenty two episodes of it and I was like this is simple, I'lljust be on TV the rest of my life. And then you realize thatdoesn't always happen that way. So I see a lot of kids that getBroadway shows right away or TV shows and I'm like, you know, takeit for what it is and and I go back and forth, like I'mreally happy that it happened, but I also think it was it was.It was good because now I totally appreciate when I work now because I knowhow hard it is. But yeah, I after getting that TV show,I was like, well then I'll get on Broadway. Nope, nobody wouldhire me. And then even after going to London, you know, Istill had to like struggle to get that Broadway show. And it just neverworks the way you think it's going to work. It just never does.And and if it's for the very few that it does, great, butmost of us know that it is like an up and down thing. Yep, and I just learned it a little bit later. What was it?The first extravagant thing you bought with that, with that first acting TV paycheck?I actually the first extravagant and and I don't really buy extravagant they.I mean I do, okay, Miss Bark Heart in the corner, well, target, but like I didn't buy like a car or anything. Ibought a dress actually for opening night, for the opening, like premiere ofthat TV show, and I bought like at a really expensive dress, andthat is okay. Hey, wait, I know I spend money on likewigs and dresses and stuff. I'd rather do that than, I don't know, really extravagant like cars or I don't know. Amen. All right,let's talk about going over to the West End getting a Livia a ward forZoro. Was it a little odd mounting this the show and then winning thetop award but isolated from your friends and family in the US? You're likekind of out there? Oh my gosh. Yes, and it was right beforesocial media, like social media had just started. This was like twothousand and ten, so like it was just starting. Had that happened now, it would have been so much easier, I think for me, because Ilove social media and I would have been like I'm, you know,like all. But because it wasn't, it was really isolating and weird andpeople didn't know it was. It was. It was very strange and I hada really hard time over there in the beginning just because, I mean, I had amazing people there in the show, but it was difficult tonot have that connection. And even like there was no facetime, you know, a decade ago, which is crazy, but it just, you know,we were like on skype and and it just weird, weird stuff.So yeah, it was. It was. It was different. I I dowish it had happened in the social media age because I would have felta little more connected. But but yeah, it was weird that nobody, Ididn't know anybody. They're like even the people at the award show,they were like great, that has to be so weird. Like I guessI'll go to the after party of one. You know what's so funny is myhusband was there and I gave a...

...crazy speech because they did not expectto win. Did. It's on Youtube, by the way, everybody you can. But the thing is, afterwards my poor husband had to carry aroundthe award like everywhere because all the Brits wanted like pictures with me, likea zoo animal, literally, because they thought I was so crazy. Sothey were like, hey, it's the nuts, so American, and theygot to be so was like they knew me, but it was just asa cooper Americant. Was So, so odd. But yeah, I wasliterally like the the freak attraction that night. Well, you know, we've allbeen kind of isolated during covid you have any advice for somebody that's kindof isolated from their family? I mean, just keep yourself busy. That isI had to do it there too. I had to like find other thingsto do, and it was just because it's it gets to you andme alone with my thoughts is not good. So I have to have things thatare like at least keyby occupied, video games, whatever, reading,you know, that's the only thing I can I can say and now it'sobviously you can call people and see theirs, but yeah, it's tough to be. Did you come back to the US with like a Madonna accent?No, I wish I did. A couple of my friends said that Idid. I can't think I came back with words more than any yes,now you know phrases, but not like I still I still say God smackedbecause it's such a great word. Looks like a couple things cock up.And my what's Cock up? Like? I'm just like fucked up, likemessed up. There's a total cock up, which I love. It's also abar and was Hollywood, but that's a different story. Okay, solet's talk up ups and downs. You come back from the US, youknow, you have an Olivier Ward in in your suitcase where you just likeoff the plane like here I am, give me all the parts, giveme all the auditions towards there, like an adjustment like Broadway is like nowknow. Yeah, I came back and then like a week later I gotcast in a workshop in New York and I was like hair comes, theyare at all come and let me not tell me right like went out tothe workshop, the workshop, but nowhere, and I was so close to likea couple rules and then I didn't get anything. And it was likea good another like year and a half before even I started on just thingfor Matilda, like it was. It was a while. It just didn'thappen and it was disheartening and and awful and but you know what, Iwent right back to doing regional theater out here in La and and and aroundthe country and and I love regional theater. And what was so great is,you know, I think that smaller theaters don't get their due. It'sall about Broadway. Broadway, if that's not it, like that is justa place, and it is. And finally getting there and and knowing howmuch it meant to me to be there and how much I loved it,really did, though, like you know, really like reminded me that all ofthese theaters are still important too. So it wasn't a big deal tome to do the west end and then go back to do a show andMamarata out here, you know what I mean, like it would just itwas all the kind of the same thing. So and that really saved me waswas doing shows again and and weirdly in La there's like a huge theatercommunity. So yeah, it really kind of saved me, but it tookit took a while to finally get that Broadway show, and then it wasthe Brits who gave it to me, of course. Yeah, the Britishinvasion. So during covid theater has gone digital. You and three costars performedin you, I, like Jerry Herman, musical celebration. It was filmed beautifullyon on the stage of the Pasadena playhouse, which is one of theoldest playhouses in in California, to an empty audience. You got to singthe title Song, Hello Dolly. You...

...also sang I am what I am, which is a heavy, heavy song because it comes with ideas of WHO'sperformed it before, but it's also become a big anthem for the Lgbtq community. Did you kind of have nerves when you found out you were going todo that song, and what was kind of your creative approach to singing it? I put my pants when I heard I was singing it. It's theonly song and I don't like to watch myself. It was again, likemy husband, I was like was it okay? Was it okay, becausethat one song was the one that I was really like concerned about because itmeant so much to me and I know how much it means to so manypeople. I know that it's odd to have a woman sing it, butit but it also then means totally so many other things to it was ahuge amount of pressure and and I really was so afraid to cock it upand and it really did. I did not take it lightly that that song. I purposely didn't listen to other people's versions because I didn't want to beswayed by that, although after I did listen to some versions, and theones I love the most were like the non song one, like a Kajudid the revival. It was so beautiful and so simple and just I reallyloved it. So, yeah, it was. It was a lot.So I hope I did it justice in some way. I just wanted tomake it mine. You certainly did. You brought you brought different shades tothat song and it wasn't just this bombastic kind of anthem. It was itwas a story and a journey on its own. It was very, verymoving. You know, especially during Covid we're kind of rediscovering who we arebecause we did outside noise, we didn't have pressures of, you know,our friends or any other societal pressures, I guess, and so I thinka lot of us did kind of just rediscover who we are and I thinkwe're ready to come out of it. Knowing who I am what I am. Yeah, totally and right, and right now I'm about a size eighteen. That's what I am. I mean, listen, I've got a sweat thatI can just I should have done that when you called it South Park. So before theater, what was kind of your relationship with the Lgbtq community? Oh my gosh, and you know we've talked about this before, mymother says I was raised by gays, like it was. I very luckilyhad a family that it was a nonissue, like being gay with it was justI started theater so young and that's who took care of me. Werelike my mom would just leave me and she knew I'd be in fantastic handswith the gay man. You know, it was it was just a nonissue. So I grew up not having any kind of negative connotation to it,and that really comes from, I believe, from your environment, from family,from you know, and I was very, very lucky that way.So it was always more bizarre to me that people weren't okay with it.I'm growing up, growing up, I it was so turned off by that. So I have always, always, always, kind of thought of myselfas an ally from very, very young, because I just didn't get it.I still don't get it that people have a problem with whatever whatever,but it's yeah, now it just yeah, I was very very lucky that thatfrom I would say from seven on, it's just a nonissue. Well,and that's the way to do it. You know, we're having conversations.We have youth that are coming out questioning their identity or pronouncing their identity, and so their conversations are being had much younger, which is great,because then it's a nonissue. You know,...

...we didn't have that when I wasgrowing up and I think about you know, how many of my friendsgrowing up that I knew were struggling? And No, I was always always, as they're always is. I was always the friend that they would cometo and and tell but even most use you couldn't, you know, whenyou're a teenager you can't. You really, at least in all in odd dayyou couldn't talk about and that was terrible. And so I'm really I'mreally happy now that it's still out there, but it's getting there. You know, we're having the conversation. So now we assume that musical theater isa safe space for our community, but did you see that shaken up atall by the our last political regime? Yeah, I mean not so muchthe arts, although I think we there were so many repercussions from it.But it was very evident people that that aligned themselves with that party. That, yes, became very evident and and that was very hard for most ofus to swallow, to see anyone align with that WHO's in the arts.So I don't I think it was more our I don't want to say thatour it was the arts was shaken up. I think it was more just oursense of like, you know, it's just, you know what thatcale it felt. It felt like we were being kind of brushed down therug more, even more than than the arts usually are. So it wasjust disappointing. That's a really good point, because people have done shows within thepast or directors I've worked with. All of a sudden we're taking sidesand it was not decide that I would have chosen and it was it wasa huge shock and it was like, well, we're not even protected inour safe space, which was which was crazy. Yeah, but you know, the other side of his you have to honor people's choices or you know, I just had to kind of disassociate and and say okay, by gogo with your lives. And it was odd. It was very strange.Yeah, really really, really bizarre and people were very vocal about their theirchoices, whether I agreed with them or not, which is great, butit made for some difficult in roads as to especially like new works and whatwas being too. Voices were allowed to speak and it was a mass soI'm glad it's I think we're on the other side, hopefully. No where. Where do you think you draw your personal strength from? You know,we talked about kind of your ups and downs. You're a hard worker,you know, but that that has to come from yourself being a strong person. It does, but you know, I have been struggling during this,and I think most of us have, and it is like reminding myself ofthe things that I preach. It's I don't take my own advice, andso I have to remind myself that I am strong, that we will getthrough times like this, that that you know, work will come back,that I'll you know. It's all of that and it's it is really difficultand I I talked to a lot of my friends are going through the samething it, who are very strong people. It's this has been obviously it's unprecedentedand this has been so difficult to grasp for even the strongest world person, because there is nothing you can do. And that's where I have to getthe strength from, is realizing there...

...is nothing I can do. Thereisn't I can't control a pandemic, but what I can control is I canget up every day. I can do this, I can do that,you know, and it's as some days are really difficult and some days I'mlike okay, let's let's go for it. But it's been a struggle, I'mnot going to lie. And and you know a lot of people havebeen like I flourished during covid great. I yeah, it was. Itwas up and down for me a lot. So well, getting strength from whereveryou can, honestly, when you've been very what I love about youis that you do share that, you know, with your social media audiencein a very touching way and I think it inspired a lot of people,number one, to keep going, but also to kind of take a breathand be like it's okay that I'm in this place right now. It's okayI can have a low, bad day. I can order postmates five times inone day and not you know, I'm not seeing that thing too,is is. I do always say I'm having a crap day and and itit is okay and it just you know, unfortunately there were a lot of them. Well last you're so and I think they're still will be, andthat's okay too. Yeah, what message do you have for your lgbtq fans? You know pride is around the corner. Please just keep fighting the fight.It's it. I really truly believe there are better times coming and ifif you've gotten through these past few years, I think it's going to be notsmooth sailing, but a little smoother going forward. It just keep fightingthe fight and continue to be who you are and just tune out the noiseas much as you can, as difficult as that is. is just tonout the noise, because nobody deserves to tell you what you are, whoyou are, what you should be. It's just it makes me so angry. All right, this one's for social media, Dear Leslie. How cansomebody be a queen of their own kingdom in their every day life? Likewhat's a daily thing? How can somebody be a queen and their own kingdomin their daily life? It is realizing that nobody else's opinions. No oneelse's words can penetrate your the moat and your little drawbridge in your castle.You are the ruler of whatever you put around you. So and just rememberthat. That is how you can be a queen as maybe, maybe itis somebody you know criticizing you or saying something that you don't agree with.Maybe, maybe, just once that day, just say I'm not going to listento that, and don't and just cut it out of your mind.I think just doing that, doing little things like that will is enough,is being being the ruler of your your own kingdom. I need to followmy own advice. I still need to follow on my own a right,you are so fabulous. Have you better trademark that, because you know someself helperson out there is going to have this castle with this like on stage, the smoke coming down, like you just know it's gonna Happen. Yeah, Tony Robins, like yeah, all right, let's let's wrap it upwith a little rapid fire. Are you ready? That's okay. Yeah,there's going to be a new musical based on your life. What's it called? Oh, sparkled stock. Was gonna say letter, but that was adoes the debacle? Well, I would mafia princess. Mafia princess is agood one. I don't know, God, I wha. It's a difficult question. Oh my gosh, that's good. Okay. What has been one ofyour least favorite audition songs that you've that you've done and you're like look, hat singing this song? I mean...

...all of them. I hate auditions. I'm terrible, I can't stand them. So all of them. I usedto sing gorgeous from the apple tree for everything, and there was thisand I love the song, but there were yeah, felt so hideous.I'll be like, I'm and they're like that is I that is beautifully ironic. was like a lash coming down. But you know what, if youfeel gorgeous, you are gorgeous right creat of your own kingdom. What hasbeen one of your favorite moments on stage that you just look back you're like, oh, that was that was a favorite moment. I'm me in myBroadway debut, the first preview of Matilda was. I remember exactly what itwas and just wanting to burst into tears. I don't think I'll ever forget thatmoment. That was my favorite. For sure, love it. Whatis your preshow ritual. What are you doing a half hour or an hourbefore curtain? Probably Eating Candy, having a Diet Dr Pepper and I'll lookmy Doggie, and playing video games, for sure. percent. Okay.And last Patti or Bernadette. M How about Patti or Burnadette in Gypsy?Oh, that's you're talking to the girl who had to see every single Dolly, because I love all of them equally and I'm a fan girl and Iwill never compare them. I can't, I can't, I can't. That'sokay, okay, Queen Leslie, tell everybody where you want them to findyou and follow you. Oh my gosh, everywhere. I'm Queen Leslie, withno e just Queen Leslie on twitter, on Instagram. I do the ticktocks, but rarely it. I'm fighting it work. It's a lotof work and, like you know, I'll spend hours on one that nobodywill see and then I'll be like on another and millions. So it's justit's not weird. Thank you us, Oh Leslie, it is such apleasure to chat with you. You are free to go back to building yourbark car, thankfully, and when this is all over, I'm going tocome and use that Barkrd to please be by the way, I don't knowif you can see this here, but that is my Olivia, right nextto baby Yoda. Oh thero grew and grow goo, bro Oliviate and,by the way, Grogo is the name. That's the best they could do.I know, I know, I know, I know. He willalways be baby Yoda, babyos already, always it's lab's Ed. All Right, Lovelie, I love you so much and I hope to see you soon. Lave. Blah, Blah Wha. That has been my chat with LeslieMargharita. You can read my indepth interview with her in the latest issue ofMetro source on new stands across the nation or at Metro sourcecom. And thatis our episode. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow meon Instagram at Alexander is on air and until next time, stay true anddo you boo be the queen of your own kingdom. That has been anothermetro source mini like share, subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check outthe latest issue of Metro Sports magazine on newstands or online at Metro sourcecom.Follow us on Facebook, instagram at natural source and on twitter at Metro SportsMan. Until next time, he fast.

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