International Drag Sensation returns to UK for first time in 10 years, joined by popular new singing string quartet
London, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/20/2013 -- Jeffery Roberson, better known on stage and screen as his drag icon alter-ego Varla Jean Merman, will appear at London’s Leicester Square Theatre in her hit comedy show “The Book of Merman” September 19 - 21. She is joined on a double-bill by fast-rising Well-Strung, the Singing String Quartet who’ve just had two recent hit Off-Broadway productions in New York and their first album released this year. Like Varla, they are just off of summer-long runs at Provincetown’s prestigious Art House Theatre. The evening is directed by Donna Drake (original cast member of A Chorus Line!) For information, please visit http://www.leicestersquaretheatre.com/.
After a typically busy year starring to critical acclaim as the title roles in the original musical comedy farces Mildred Fierce in Boston, Scrooge in Rouge in New Orleans, Menotti’s opera The Medium in New York, and her new show Twice Upon A Mattress…Will My Prince Ever Come? at The Art House in Provincetown, Varla returns to London for the first time in a decade with her popular hit The Book of Merman. The daffy diva-turned-author's hit show is described as “equal parts pop-up book, scratch 'n sniff, and Braille as Varla invites you to see, smell and finger her life story. The Book of Merman is filled cover-to-cover with sizzling songs, raunchy revelations and page-turning costumes. Varla Jean promises once you pick her up, you won't be able to put her down (without a restraining order).”
Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman starred recently Off-Broadway in the musical Lucky Guy opposite Leslie Jordan at the Little Schubert, prompting The New York Times to say "If Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman had stood in front of the right pair of funhouse mirrors, they might have resembled Ms. Merman and Mr. Jordan in stature as well as comedic talent.” He played the role of Mary Sunshine in the revival of Chicago on Broadway and in 2010 won Boston’s Elliot Norton Award for Best Musical Performance in The Phantom of the OPRAH. He returned to Boston last fall to star as Mother Superior in SpeakEasy Stage's The Divine Sister by Charles Busch. Jeffery as Varla Jean has filled concert halls and cabarets across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the Public Theater, London’s Soho Theatre, LA’s Renberg Theatre, and San Francisco’s Victoria Theatre. Jeffery recently completed shooting the feature films Girls Will Be Girls 2012 and Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads, which played the 2012 festival circuit and is currently available exclusively via Seth TV. He made his network television debut on All My Children, guest starred as Varla Jean in Ugly Betty’s final season and on Bravo's Project Runway Season 5 as the winning model for the show's drag challenge.
Well-Strung also make the leap to London after a successful summer run at Provincetown’s Art House. Described as a ‘mash-up of string quartet and boy band,’ the all-male string quartet Well-Strung features classical musicians who sing, putting their own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Pink, Lady Gaga, Adele, Britney Spears, and more. The group is comprised of first Violinist Edmund Bagnell, second violinist Christopher Marchant, cellist Daniel Shevlin, and violist Trevor Wadleigh. Music arrangements are by David Levinson with additional arrangements by Daniel Shevlin. The show was directed by Donna Drake, conceived by Christopher Marchant & Mark Cortale and written by Ms. Drake & Mr. Cortale, with additional material contributed by Jeffery Roberson.
The foursome enjoyed a sold-out debut at New York’s Joe's Pub in NYC in May of 2012, prompting Time Out NY to note that “this hunky string quartet finds the common ground between Mozart and Rihanna.” After their extended 3-month run at Provincetown’s Art House last summer, the group has been on a roll - with two recent hit productions Off-Broadway in New York, and a return summer-long run in Provincetown. Called the “hottest thing with a bow since Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games” by the New York Daily News, the foursome released their debut album on Twist Records on in February, which was produced by Matt Farber (Founder of LOGO Network) and Mark Cortale. The music video for their “mash-up” of Mozart meets Kelly Clarkson debuted this past summer and has been featured in the Huffington Post, ABC Television, and many other media outlets.
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Varla Jean in
THE BOOK OF MERMAN
written by Jeffery Roberson & Jacques Lamarre
The Singing String Quartet
conceived by Christopher Marchant & Mark Cortale
written by Donna Drake and Mark Cortale
arrangements by David Levinson
additional arrangements by Daniel Shevlin, Yair Evnine and Christopher Marchant
September 19 at 6:30 PM BST
September 20 at 9:15 PM BST
September 21 at 9:15 PM BST
Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Pl London,
Greater London WC2H 7BX, United Kingdom
+44 20 7534 1740
LST is a magnificently restored theatre located in the heart of the West End with two exceptional spaces running a healthy programme of comedy, cabaret, dance, music and theatre. The 400 seat theatre boasts 2 bars perfectly positioned in the auditorium with newly-installed cinema style seating and a second intimate Lounge Theatre with a capacity of up to 70 with its own bar and cabaret-style seating.
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