(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Famed drag queen Varla Jean Merman brings his cabaret act to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, April 9, at 7pm. Varla Jean Merman is a character originated and portrayed by Jeffery Roberson, an American actor, singer, and drag performer. Varla’s fictitious pedigree boasts that Ernest Borgnine is her father and Ethel Merman is her mother. This event is sponsored by GayHudson.com.
Merman has been a star of stage, screen, TV, cabaret, and concert halls. Merman’s cabaret shows are a staple of summer entertainment in Provincetown, Mass.
As Varla Jean Merman, Jeffery Roberson has filled cabarets and concert halls across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Theater, London’s Soho Theatre and LA’s Renberg Theatre. Roberson wrote and starred in the short “Improve Your History with Varla Jean: Stonewall,” for the launch of the MTV’s television network Logo and was also seen in their “One Night Standup: Dragtastic” special.
Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman starred in the new musical “Lucky Guy” opposite Leslie Jordan in New York City at the Little Schubert in spring 2011, prompting the New York Times to rave, “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.”
Roberson guest-starred as Varla Jean on “Ugly Betty” in the final season of the show and was also featured on Bravo’s “Project Runway Season 5” as the winning model for the show’s drag challenge. He played the role of Mary Sunshine in the revival of “Chicago” on Broadway and also made his network television debut on “All My Children” in the recurring role of lady of the evening Rosemary Chicken. He shared the Outfest Film Festival “Best Actor” Award and the Aspen HBO Film Festival “Best Actress” Award with his costars Jack Plotnick and Clinton Leupp for his featured performance in the cult classic film “Girls Will Be Girls” (Sundance 2003).
Roberson also appeared at the Long Wharf Theatre in Hartford Stage’s production of “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” directed by Michael Wilson performing the roles originally made famous by Charles Ludlam. In 2010, Roberson won an Elliot Norton Award for Best Musical Performance in “The Phantom of the OPRAH.” Roberson returned to Boston in the fall of 2011 to star as Mother Superior in SpeakEasy Stage’s production of “The Divine Sister” by Charles Busch.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.