we can cook too
“We Can Cook Too!” is STAGE’s half-hour original series hosted by Tony-nominated composer and performer Jeff Blumenkrantz. Each episode features a musical theatre artist cooking a dish that is connected to an iconic performance or show from his/her past, performing with Jeff at the piano, and playing food-related games.
HOST: Jeff Blumenkrantz
GUESTS: Lesli Margherita, Andrea McArdle
PRODUCED BY: The STAGE Network
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jennifer Dumas, Allyson Rice
CREATED BY: Jeff Blumenkrantz
JEFF BLUMENKRANTZ’s love of cooking began with a cooking class at the JCC when he was ten but it wasn’t until 2009 that it fully blossomed with his yearlong blog, Jeff & Martha: My Year of Cooking Fabulously, Jeff’s copycat Julie & Julia adventure preparing every recipe in a Martha Stewart cookbook over the course of 365 days, culminating in an appearance on The Martha Stewart Show. Since then, he’s honed his cooking skills hosting a dinner/book club where he serves meals inspired by the elements of the book to be discussed.
In his other/real life, Jeff is an actor and a musical theatre composer, having received a Tony Award nomination as one of the co-writers of the score of Urban Cowboy. He is the recipient of the 2011 Fred Ebb Award and the BMI Harrington Award, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Guggenheim Works and Process. His songs can be heard on The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook Podcast (iTunes), as well as on the CD, I’ve Been Played: Alysha Umphress Swings Jeff Blumenkrantz. Elsewhere, his songs have been recorded by Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Megan Mullally, Rebecca Luker, and Victoria Clark, among others.
As an actor, Jeff has performed on Broadway in Bright Star, A Class Act, How to Succeed in Business… (1995), Damn Yankees (1994), Threepenny Opera (1989), and Into the Woods (1987), as well as Off-Broadway in Murder for Two (Lortel Award nomination). On camera, Jeff can be seen in The Big Sick, The Detour, 30 Rock, The Good Wife, Ugly Betty, Joseph … Dreamcoat, Will and Grace, Law and Order, and the PBS telecasts of the New York Philharmonic concerts of Sweeney Todd and Candide.
Lesli Margherita won the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for her performance as Inez in “Zorro the Musical” on London’s West End. Lesli most recently starred as Cindy Lou Who in the world premiere of the one-person comedy play “Who’s Holiday” at the Westside Theater in New York City, for which she received rave reviews. Previously she starred as Mona Kent in the Broadway production of “Dames at Sea” at the Helen Hayes Theater and as Mrs. Wormwood in “Matilda the Musical” at the Shubert Theater.
On television, Lesli was most recently seen in recurring guest-star roles on Showtime’s “Homeland”, Netflix’ “Seven Seconds”, CBS’s “Instinct”, and USA’s “Donny!”, as well as guest-star roles on “Elementary” and “The Good Wife”. In April 2018 she filmed a lead role in the ABC pilot “Most Likely To” written by Oscar-winner Diablo Cody, opposite Yvette Nicole Brown. Lesli was also recently seen starring in the feature film “Opening Night” opposite Topher Grace and Taye Diggs, which was released in 2017.
Born and raised in California, Lesli trained at UCLA and was soon after chosen to star in MGM’s television series “Fame LA” directed by Kenny Ortega. She has gone on to star and recur on numerous television shows and pilots including “Major Crimes”, “The Suite Life On Deck”, “Charmed”, “NYPD Blue”, “The District”, and “On The Lot”, produced by Steven Spielberg.
Other stage credits include Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls” at Bucks County Playhouse, Esmerelda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (Sacramento Music Circus), “The Gronholm Method” at The Falcon alongside Stephen Spinella, Jonathan Cake & Graham Hamilton (Ovation nom. - Best Ensemble), Aldonza in MTW’s “Man of La Mancha” opposite Davis Gaines (Ovation nom. LADCC nom - Best Actress), Kate in Reprise Theater’s “Kiss Me Kate”(Ovation Award - Best Actress), Julie in “Showboat” (Goodspeed Opera), Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” (La Mirada), Lady of the Lake in “Spamalot” opposite Gary Beach (Sacramento Music Circus), Ilona in “She Loves Me” (CLOSBC), the West Coast Premiere of Michael John LaChiusa’s “See What I wanna See”(Blank Theatre), “Rated RSO” (Boston Court), and Gloria in Jason Alexander’s “Damn Yankees” (Reprise) .
In June 2015, Lesli published “NECK PUNCH and CARRY ON: Advice from the “Queen”, a series of ‘inspirational’ messages inspired from her Twitter feed (@Queenlesli) The book, which debuted at #1 on the Humor charts, is available exclusively on ibooks.
She is the creator/star of ‘Ship Happens’, the popular vlog commissioned by Broadway.com that can also be seen on YouTube, and previously created the Broadway.com vlog ‘Looks Not Books’ which chronicled her time in “Matilda The Musical”.
Lesli’s critically acclaimed nightclub acts “Broad” and “All Hail the Queen” continue to play to crowds in NY & LA.
ANDREA McARDLE first captured the hearts of theatergoers everywhere in 1977 when she originated the title role in the mega-musical ANNIE, based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”. Since then, she has starred in several Broadway musicals and appeared in theatres in New York,
nationally and internationally. She has performed in concert halls from Carnegie Hall to the Hong Kong Philharmonic and casino hotels in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City. She has honed her craft by working with some of the great legends of the entertainment industry such as Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews, Bob Hope, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Steve Martin and Martin Short, to name a few, and was privileged to have appeared on television with Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Dinah Shore.
As “Annie”, Andrea became the youngest performer ever to be nominated for a Tony Award as Best Lead Actress in a Musical. She also received the Theater World and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance and went on to star when the show was produced on London’s West End. (Fun fact: Catherine Zeta-Jones played young orphan Mollie in this production).
Coming full circle, Andrea was tapped by Academy Award nominated director Rob Marshall to appear as “The Star to Be” in the Disney/ABC television production of ANNIE starring Kathy Bates and Victor Garber. And in the summer of 2010, Andrea played, yes, Miss Hannigan in a production at the North Carolina Theatre and at Musical Theatre West in California.
Also on Broadway, Andrea starred in the Jerry Herman musical JERRY’s GIRLS alongside Carol Channing and Leslie Uggams; she portrayed the sassy Smoking Car, Ashley, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s STARLIGHT EXPRESSS; and starred as Margy Frake in STATE FAIR; as Fantine in LES MISERABLES and, most recently as Belle in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. She toured nationally starring as Sally Bowles in CABARET and as Eponine in LES MISERABLES and appeared as herself in THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, which she appeared in Off-Broadway as well.
Andrea appeared Off-Broadway in the satirical NEWSICAL and regionally as the title role in MAME and HELLO DOLLY. Andrea continues to tour around the country in the concert event, 4 GIRLS 4 with Maureen McGovern, Donna McKechnie and Faith Prince. Other theatre appearances include starring as Reno Sweeney in ANYTHING GOES; Esther, the Judy Garland role, in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS; Mrs. Johnstone in BLOOD BROTHERS, Penelope Pennywise in URINETOWN, Sonia in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG; Luisa in THE FANTASTICKS; Eva Peron in EVITA; Nancy in OLIVER; the Narrator in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT; Annie Oakley in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Sandy in GREASE and as Mama Rose in GYPSY.
In addition to ANNIE, Andrea’s film and television credits include starring as Judy Garland in RAINBOW, appearing in THE LEADING LADIES OF BROADWAY on PBS, ALL MY CHILDREN on ABC and headlining her own PBS special ANDREA McARDLE ON BROADWAY.