Lesli Margherita, Simon Pearl & More Join YOUR OWN THING Benefit Performance at Red Bull Theater

Your Own Thing will also feature special appearances by Michael Cerveris, Robert Cuccioli, Tovah Feldshuh and more.

By: Nov. 10, 2022
Lesli Margherita, Simon Pearl & More Join YOUR OWN THING Benefit Performance at Red Bull Theater

RED BULL THEATER has announced that Lesli Margherita, Simon Pearl, Michael Pilato, and Vaden Thurgood have been added to the cast of their one-night-only benefit performance of the hit 1968 rock musical Your Own Thing.

Lesli Margherita (Zorro The Musical - West End debut, Olivier Award; Matilda the Musical - Broadway debut; Dames at Sea; ​Off-Broadway: Emojiland; Who's Holiday - Drama Desk, Lortel and Off-Broadway Alliance nominations); Simon Pearl (The Jersey Tenors; Broadway: Les Miserables); Michael Pilato (The Jersey Tenors; American Idiot - national tour); and Vaden Thurgood (The Jersey Tenors; Smokey Joe's Cafe - 20th Anniversary National Tour; Good News! - Goodspeed Opera House; Damn Yankees - Paper Mill Playhouse, 5th Avenue Theater) will join the previously announced Eddie Cooper (The Pirates of Penzance - Roundabout; Parade, Promenade, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Little Shop of Horrors - Encores!; Assassins, The Cradle Will Rock - CSC); Eddie's real life sister Lilli Cooper (The Pirates of Penzance - Roundabout, Tootsie - Tony nomination, POTUS, SpongeBob Squarepants, Wicked, Spring Awakening; Mack & Mabel - Encores!); Jennifer Sánchez (Broadway: Pretty Woman, On Your Feet, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; RBT: The Alchemist); and Tony Award winner Santino Fontana (Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels in Tootsie - Tony Award, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; Prince Topher in Cinderella - Tony nomination; Hello Dolly! opposite Bernadette Peters; Act One; The Importance of Being Earnest - Clarence Derwent Award; A View From the Bridge; Brighton Beach Memoirs - Drama Desk Award; Billy Elliot; Sunday in the Park with George) for its all-star benefit performance of Your Own Thing, the 1968 hit Off-Broadway rock musical suggested by Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Your Own Thing will also feature special appearances by Michael Cerveris (Fun Home - Tony, Lortel Awards; Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations; Evita - Tony, Drama Desk nominations; LoveMusik - Tony, Drama Desk Award; Outer Critics Circle, Drama League nominations; Sweeney Todd - Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations; Assassins - Tony, Outer Critics Circle Awards; The Who's Tommy - Tony nomination); Robert Cuccioli (Broadway: Jekyll & Hyde - Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards; Les Miserables; Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark; Off-Broadway: The White Devil for Red Bull Theater); Tovah Feldshuh (Funny Girl; Pippin; Irena's Vow - Drama League nomination, Golda's Balcony - Drama Desk Award; Outer Critics Circle, Drama League nominations; Lend Me a Tenor - Tony nomination; Saravá - Tony nomination; RBT: Volpone, The Miser); Richard Kind (The Big Knife- Drama Desk Award; Tony, Outer Critics Circle nominations; Kiss Me, Kate; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; The Producers; Sly Fox; The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; RBT: The Miser); Ken Page (Ain't Misbehavin', Cats, Guys and Dolls, The Wiz); Patrick Page (Hadestown - Tony, Lortel nominations, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark - Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations; A Man for All Seasons - Outer Critics Circle nomination; Casa Valentina; The Lion King; Disney's Beauty and the Beast; Julius Caesar; Cyrano de Bergerac; RBT: Coriolanus, The Duchess of Malfi, Henry IV, Swan Song); Estelle Parsons (film: Bonnie and Clyde - Academy Award, Rachel, Rachel - Academy Award nomination; five Tony Award nominations - The Velocity of Autumn, Morning's at Seven, Miss Margarida's Way, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, The Seven Descents of Myrtle; over 60 years of TV credits from "The Today Show" to "Roseanne"); Jay O. Sanders (has appeared in more shows at the Delacorte Theater/Shakespeare in the Park than any other actor to date; other credits include Girl from the North Country, Uncle Vanya - Drama Desk Award, The Michaels, Gabriels, and Apples - Public Theater, European & World Tours); Mary Testa (Oklahoma! - Tony, Drama Desk nominations; Wicked; Guys and Dolls; Xanadu; Chicago; 42nd Street - Tony, Outer Critics Circle nominations; On the Town - Tony nomination; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; RBT: The Government Inspector -Outer Critics Circle nomination; Volpone; Drama Desk Award); John Douglas Thompson (Broadway: Jitney - Tony, Drama Desk nominations; King Lear, Carousel, Cyrano de Bergerac, Julius Caesar; Off-Bway: Satchmo at the Waldorf - Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards; Othello - Obie, Lortel Awards; The Merchant of Venice - Drama Desk nomination; Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, A Doll's House; RBT: Women Beware Women, The Spanish Tragedy); and Bruce Vilanch (two-time Emmy Award-winner; Broadway: Hairspray; Off-Bway: Bruce Vilanch: Almost Famous).

With music & lyrics by Hal Hester and Danny Apolinar, and book adaptation by Donald Driver, the original production opened on January 13th 1968 at the Orpheum Theater, produced by Zev Bufman & Dorothy Love, where it ran for 933 performances. In the late 1960s, a raging storm shipwrecks a young music duo, twins Viola and Sebastian. The pair end up in the land of Illyria, which looks very much like New York City, and the rest is Shakespeare's Twelfth Night-well, kind of. This hit rock musical ran Off-Broadway while Hair played uptown. Your Own Thing won the Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Production, and the Drama Desk Award (Vernon Rice Award) for Donald Driver as Outstanding New Playwright. Red Bull Theater will give the show its first New York presentation in decades with this one-night-only, in-person-only, concert benefit.

Robert Sandla, who wrote the program notes for the evening, explains, "People just keep making musicals to Shakespeare, and it's always a gamble. For every hit like Your Own Thing, there's a bomb like Music Is, a 1976 musical based on Twelfth Night by the legendary George Abbott. For every The Boys from Syracuse (1938; The Comedy of Errors), there's Oh, Brother! Even the team that created Hair tried their hands at Shakespeare with Two Gentlemen of Verona, another hip Shakespeare musical that was a hit in its day but has not achieved lasting appeal. In the 1997-98 season, Play On! transposed Twelfth Night to Jazz Age Harlem, set to hit songs by Duke Ellington; the show ran briefly on Broadway (the cast featured André de Shields and Tonya Pinkins) and has been staged at regional theaters. Creative teams keep trying their hands at musical versions of Twelfth Night and other Shakespeare plays-with varying degrees of success. If Your Own Thing was so much fun, why has it vanished from the stage? Perhaps the problem is one of timing; any show that captures the zeitgeist as unerringly as Your Own Thing did looks real dated real fast. 'The work is as modern as today,' Clive Barnes wrote in the New York Times, and he meant it as praise, but when Your Own Thing opened in Chicago two years later, one critic found it 'a dated dish ... behind the curve,' while another called the show a "period piece." The 1960s were over. Way over. Now Red Bull Theater is presenting Your Own Thing in a special benefit performance with a stellar cast. It's a rare opportunity to revisit a one-time hit that is almost never staged. How will Your Own Thing come across now, half a century after it made a splash? Maybe somewhat in the way that revivals of 1920s musicals like No, No, Nanette seemed in the 1970s: charming, somewhat goofy evocations of a distant era. Still, even allowing for its blithe spirits, there might be more to Your Own Thing. After all, it's a musical from the 1960s that is based on a comedy from the 1600s that trafficked in mistaken identities and Elizabethan sexual anxieties and had a cast featuring boys plays women playing men. Your Own Thing updated all that to the Swinging Sixties with trendy unisex styles (men with long hair! women wearing pants!), contemporary anxieties about same-sex attraction, and deliberate gender mis-identification-and set it all to a catchy pop-rock score that was hard to resist. Today, when trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, and other identities are blasting past traditional male-female categories, Your Own Thing and its youthquake-era acceptance of evolving norms might just look fresh again."

Gabriel Barre will direct, with musical direction by Greg Pliska. This special event is made possible in part by The Marta Heflin Foundation.

This one-night-only performance will take place Monday December 12th at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space. The performance will begin at 7:30PM. This concert event is an important fundraiser for Red Bull Theater. Proceeds help to make all of its programs possible. Tickets for this benefit event, which are now on sale, are $81.50 - $121.50 including fees (most tickets include tax-deductible donation). To purchase tickets for this one-night-only event, visit redbulltheater.com/your-own-thing.

Gabriel Barre

is an internationally acclaimed director who directed Amazing Grace on Broadway. Gabe recently directed a new version of Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland, of which he is now a co-author, at the Tuacahn Theatre in St. George, Utah. Off Broadway credits include the original productions of The Wild Party (by Andrew Lippa), Summer of '42, john & jen and Almost, Maine. National Tours include Amazing Grace, Pippin and Cinderella. Regional theater credits include A Sign of the Times at the Delaware Theatre Company, the original productions of Memphis, as well as revivals of Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd, Finian's Rainbow and many new musicals at Goodspeed Musicals in CT. Among the many countries he has directed productions in are: China (recent production Sound of the Silk Road), Mexico (Mexican premiere of Billy Elliot), Japan (Japanese co-ed premiere of The Scarlet Pimpernel), Korea (world premiere of the new musical Tears of Heaven), Germany, and numerous shows in the Czech Republic (including Carmen, Jesus Christ Superstar and the new Czech musical Holmes, The Legend). As an actor, he has been nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical. Gabe is also busy preparing to direct the world premiere of the exciting new musical Reunion by Frank Wildhorn and Rinne Groff about the reunion of a fictitious band from the Laurel Canyon era and has just directed and choreographed the world premiere production of Here You Come Again which is now touring the country and stars his wife, Tricia Paoluccio, which he also co-authored with her and Bruce Vilanch, with songs by Dolly Parton.


brings rarely seen classic plays to dynamic new life for contemporary audiences, uniting a respect for tradition with a modern sensibility. Named for the rowdy Jacobean playhouse that illegally performed plays in England during the years of Puritan rule, Red Bull Theater is New York City's home for dynamic performances of great plays that stand the test of time. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as its cornerstone, the company also produces new works that are in conversation with the classics. A home for artists, scholars, and students, Red Bull Theater delights and engages the intellect and imagination of audiences, and strives to make its work accessible, diverse, and welcoming to all. We value and practice inclusiveness, equity, and diversity in all of our activities, and are committed to antiracist action. Red Bull Theater believes in the power of great classic stories and plays of heightened language to deepen our understanding of the human condition, in the special ability of live theater to create unique, collective experiences, and in the timeless capacity of classical theater to illuminate the events of our times.

Since its debut in 2003 with a production of Shakespeare's Pericles starring Daniel Breaker, Red Bull Theater has served adventurous theatergoers with Off-Broadway productions, Revelation Readings, and the annual Short New Play Festival. The company also offers outreach programs including Shakespeare in Schools bringing professional actors and teaching artists into public school classrooms; Bull Sessions, free post-play discussions with top scholars; and Classical Acting Intensives led by veteran theater professionals. During the pandemic, Red Bull created several new and ongoing programs to serve audiences and artists with our mission: RemarkaBULL Podversations, Online Readings, Seminars, and more.

Red Bull Theater has presented 20 Off-Broadway productions and nearly 200 Revelation Readings of rarely seen classics, serving a community of more than 5,000 artists and providing quality artistic programming to an audience of over 65,000. The company's unique programming has received ongoing critical acclaim and has been recognized with Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Off-Broadway Alliance, and OBIE nominations and Awards.

For more information about Your Own Thing or any of Red Bull Theater's programs, visit www.redbulltheater.com.

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