By Ron Fassler


How many Christmas cabaret shows open with a spoof of “O Come All Ye Faithful” that features the parody lyric, “O come let us adore her?” And sung by the star herself about herself? Which then had her launching into another holiday twist on a classic, singing “All I Want for Christmas is Me.” The answer is Lesli Margherita, the musical comedy actress and song-stylist, and a toast of both Broadway and the West End, whose self-reverential and strictly-tongue-in-cheek Christmas show opened for a two-night run at The Green Room 42 last evening. If you have never seen Margherita live, you couldn’t do better than getting your monies worth from this show, under the too-much-fun musical direction of Brett Ryback, and hear her warble nearly every possible kind of tune, while also being the envy of most standup comedians.

You wouldn’t think it from her stage persona, but as she reminds us throughout her show, she grew up on a cow farm (which might explain a bit about her preoccupation with poop) and her potty mouth, for which she offers no excuses. In one of her less salacious, but hilarious quotes, she told the audience early on: “I’m Lesli Margherita, and if you don’t know me you should leave.” With her ever-present smile and a lilting voice of extraordinary range, Margherita made it easy for the audience to settle in for an evening of musical biography performance, peppered with holiday songs and parodies, that made for a delightful time. Backed up by two adorably talented singers, Cameisha Cotton and Nicole Vande Zande (how about the alliteration and rhyming on those two names?), and a particularly lively band, the room started jumping from the moment it began.

Margherita’s Broadway credits include creating the role of Mrs. Wormwood in 2013’s Matilda the Musical, and Mona Kent in the 2015 revival of Dames at Sea. Prior to those two shows, she went to London, where she created the role of Inez the Gypsy in Zorro: The Musical, where she won the Laurence Olivier Award (the British equivalent of the Tony). The story of how she accomplished that feat, was a highlight, as were, when with a handful of songs, Margherita brought down the brass and sat atop the piano, luxuriating in languid ballads such as the holiday perennial “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Joni Mitchell’s classic “I Wish I Had a River” (which of course after singing, caused Margherita to remark, “That was so depressing.”).

Her final song, Rihanna’s “Like Diamonds in the Sky,” was heartfelt and beautiful. And only served to showcase what a “Diamond in the Rough” Lesli Margherita is. If you can’t make it to her holiday show, make your own holiday out of seeing her the next time she’s on a Broadway or a cabaret stage.


Lesli Margherita is performing Yule Rule Your Kingdom Friday December 14th and Saturday December 15th at The Green Room 42, 570 10th Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036.