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BWW Interview: Lesli Margherita Shares Details About YOU I LIKE – A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF JERRY HERMAN

Pasadena Playhouse will present You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman on January 10, 2021.

BWW Interview: Lesli Margherita Shares Details About YOU I LIKE – A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF JERRY HERMAN

Pasadena Playhouse recently announced You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman, set to take place virtually on January 10, 2021. The musical revue honoring the icon who brought some of theater's best-known shows to the stage, including Hello, Dolly!; Mame; La Cage aux Folles and more, will be the first theatrical tribute to Jerry Herman by a professional theater company since the Broadway legend's passing a year ago.

Conceived and music directed by Andy Einhorn, You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman features performances by Ashley Blanchet (Frozen), Nick Christopher (Hamilton), Lesli Margherita (Matilda The Musical), Andrea Ross ('Maria' in The Sound of Music National Tour) and Ryan Vona (Once).

Check out the trailer below!

The Online Opening Night of You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman will be held on January 10, 2021 at 5 p.m. PST on www.PlayhouseLive.org.

We spoke with the Olivier Award-winning Lesli Margherita about the process of rehearsing and filming the tribute, her favorite Jerry Herman show, and much more!


When was the first time you either heard a Jerry Herman song or sung a Jerry Herman song?

As a kid, I was, like so many, a massive Barbra Streisand fan, and I saw the 'Hello, Dolly!' movie. [I was] probably 7 or 8. That was the first time that I heard... obviously I didn't know it was Jerry Herman. I think at that time I was like, "Oh, it's a Barbra Streisand song!" I'm pretty that sure was the first Jerry Herman song that I had heard. As I grew up and became more aware of musical theatre, I started hearing way more and honestly fell in love with all of his stuff. I remember being a pre-teen and loving La Cage [Aux Folles]. I just was a huge fan, and I've never gotten to do a show of his. I've wanted to for so long, and I've sung so many of these songs, but just have never been able to do a show. So, this was amazing, the next best thing.

Can you tease for us some of the songs that we can expect to hear?

Obviously, the big ones. I have the complete honor of getting to do 'I Am What I Am' which was huge for me. I am getting to do a song that was written for Barbra [Streisand] for the 'Hello, Dolly!' film called 'Just Leave Everything to Me', it's amazing, so many lyrics, but now I'll never forget them! We do a huge 'Hello, Dolly!' section, there's 'Mack and Mabel', all of his greatest hits, but there's also amazing, little hidden gems that I had never heard. Or songs from shows that are well-known like 'La Cage', but it's not a song that everybody knows. I don't want to give away too much, but the big hits are there! I think people will be most surprised about these smaller gems that Andy Einhorn unearthed. This whole thing is like a Jerry Herman history lesson. It's stories about him and how he came up with these songs, interwoven with these performances. So, it's really cool the way that Andy put it together.

What was the process of rehearsing for this and filming it?

Andy Einhorn had done this as part of the 92Y 'Lyrics & Lyricists' series, and I had worked with Andy on the Sondheim Lyrics & Lyricists. Andy had put this together and had been talking to the amazing Pasadena Playhouse about doing something, and Danny Feldman at The Pasadena Playhouse really loved this Jerry Herman show. I, luckily, was out here in Pasadena during Covid, so it was a no-brainer when Andy asked me to do this, it was the easiest yes I think anybody could have given. It was odd with Covid that we all rehearsed separately, and even when we were together, [we were] rehearsing ten feet away from each other! But getting to be on an actual stage, first of all, and then having it be at the stunning Pasadena Playhouse, was pretty emotional I think for everybody. Jerry Herman's songs are so emotional already so I was a mess during the few days of filming.

Building off of that, how does it feel to be able to sing and be creative and collaborative during this time, and for this tribute specifically?

The first thing that we shot was 'Hello, Dolly!' and it's me coming down the staircase. And I was a complete mess because you're singing 'It's so nice to be back home where I belong' and it was the first time being on a stage again, and we were all so grateful not only to sing his songs, but just to be performing again. It didn't matter that there wasn't an audience, it just felt so good to be able to do what we love to do. And honestly, the way that they filmed it is pretty stunning, you really feel like you're in a theater watching, and there are times that you feel like you're on stage with us. So, it's really special and I don't think I've seen anything filmed quite like it.

Do you have a favorite Jerry Herman show, or one that you would love to star in at some point?

I think, for me, I would love to be Dolly someday. Even getting to do a little bit of Dolly stuff was amazing for me. That's definitely a role I would love to do. I went back and saw every single Dolly in the latest revival, so I saw it quite a few times because I love the show and I love the women that get to play Dolly! I've always really loved Mack and Mabel, so I'd love to get to do that one day.

'You I Like' marks the first professional theatrical tribute to Jerry Herman since his passing last year, what do you hope viewers take away from this?

His passing was kind of overshadowed by all of the world falling apart! So, I'm really hoping that it lets people know, who maybe didn't know who he was, how much of an influence he was on musical theatre, on songwriting in general. I really hope, because it's on the internet, that another generation will get to know his work. As much as I would have loved to have done this in person for an audience, I think there is something incredibly cool about the fact that it happened the way that it did. That we filmed it and it's going to be seen by so many more people that wouldn't have been able to see it had it been in a theater. So, I'm hoping for new fans for him, and I'm hoping that maybe even Jerry Herman aficionados will find new little gems that they didn't know about.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?

The other thing about this is I love is that it took place in Los Angeles. This is my theater home and I'm so proud of it and it's not always looked at as a theater town, but Pasadena Playhouse and LA theater really has some amazing people, so it was exciting for me to get to do this at home!


Purchase tickets to You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman HERE!


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