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The Royal Miss M, Lesli Margherita, in All Hail the Queen!

May 29, 2010

This is not the first time Olivier-winner Lesli Margherita will perform her show, “All Hail the Queen.” The Royal Miss M has done it twice, “But this is almost a new version,” she says. “It gets bigger and bigger. I’ve replaced half the songs, added backup girls and boy dancers.”

It’s a project Margherita (West End: Zorro; Los Angeles: See What I Wanna See; TV: Charmed, NYPD Blue) developed after returning from her London run of Zorro the Musical. “I wanted to do a cabaret show but it morphed into something more Vegas – more Bette Midler.”

Margherita asked her friend, Lauren Bass, if she thought they could pull it off. “No one was doing nightclub acts. I thought, ‘Why not?’ My music director, Brett Ryback really helped shape this.”

Pop songs by Queen, Blondie, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and others are retooled to sound ‘cabaret-esque.’ “There’s also a couple standards, like Fever and Sinatra’s That’s Life, but with a twist. And everyone on stage, including the 5-piece band, gets to shine.

“This is me. Actually, this is a heightened version of me,” Margherita explains. “I picked all the music, wrote all the stories and monologues in between.” That’s a lot more pressure than appearing in a musical where you are part of an ensemble, she notes. “But it’s also so much fun just to be me.”

Margherita modeled the show after The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler’s 1972 debut album, co-produced by Barry Manilow. “This show gets bigger every time I do it. I’ve got a whole wardrobe to go through and it has a real rock-n-roll feel to it, and the costumes reflect that. There are puppets! And other surprises.”

A show already is scheduled in New York this October. Her goal, Margherita says, is to take All Hail the Queen to other cities, such as San Francisco and London, where she’s already had discussions about a possible production. “It really needs to take off. For one thing, it’s really good. And for another, no one’s making any money on it now and the performers should be paid.” But with just a couple hundred tickets selling at $20 ($25 at the door), there wouldn’t be much left over after paying Level 3, the club at Hollywood and Highland. “I kept the ticket price low because it’s more important to me to have a full house of friends – people who can’t really afford $50 tickets to something – than to charge more.

“Thankfully, people have been incredibly supportive. Lauren went to college with guys who now do concert lighting. They just did a show for the Black Eyed Peas. We sent them the script and they said they’d come in and do our lights as a favor. It’s people like that who make this possible.”

All Hail the Queen! runs one night only, Tuesday, June 8 at 8pm, at Level 3 at Hollywood and Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd. Tickets; two drink minimum; parking $2 with validation. Lauren Bass directs. Katy Durham choreographs. Jordan Bass produces. Sound by Sean Killian. Lighting by Kristie Roldan. Dancers and backup singers include Brian Beacock, Ray Garcia, Jeremy Lucas, Robert Laos, Teresa Marie, Robin DeLano. Brett Ryback music directs. Musicians include Matt Smedel, Nick Schaadt, Brian Reardon, and Brian Boyce.

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