CAST & CREW

Jeffery Roberson (Varla Jean Merman)

starred in the new musical Lucky Guy opposite Leslie Jordan in NY at the Little Schubert this past spring 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". Jeffery recently completed shooting the feature film Girls Will Be Girls 2012. He 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) directed by Richard Day. Jeffery 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Wharf Theatre in Hartford Stage's production of The Mystery of Irma Vep directed by Michael Wilson performing the roles originally made famous by Charles Ludlam.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 Jeffery won an Elliot Norton Award for Best Musical Performance in The Phantom of the OPRAH. He returns to Boston this fall to star as Mother Superior in SpeakEasy Stage's production of The Divine Sister by Charles Busch. As Varla Jean Jeffery has filled concert halls and cabarets across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Theater, London's Soho Theatre and LA's Renberg Theatre. Jeffery 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. For more information visit varlaonline.com



Donna Drake (Donna)

appeared on Broadway in the original productions of A Chorus Line, Sophisticated Ladies, Woman of the Year, The Wind in the Willows, 5678-Dance, It's So Nice To Be Civilized and The 1940s Radio Hour. She has received an Emmy nomination, 4 Drama Desk Nominations, A Mac Award Nomination, A Theatre World Award, and an Off Broadway Alliance Nomination. Donna choreographed Catherine Zeta Jones for the American Film Institute Awards, 2009 and The AFI 2011 honoring Morgan Freeman and starring Betty White. She also directed a new children's show; John Tartaglia's Imaginocean. Donna's television credits include The New Fangled Variety Show, Disney's Johnny & the Sprites, AFI Awards 09,11, ABC TV's Dear Alex & Annie, One Life To Live and The Edge of Night. Regionally Donna has directed The Wizard of Oz, starring Mickey Rooney & Eartha Kitt; Romance In The Dark, starring Jennifer Holliday; Nothing Like A Dame, BC/EFA 2004-06, All The World Is A Stage at Carnegie Hall, A Chorus Line national tour, AIDA, Chicago, Hairspray, Rent, Tommy, Damn Yankees, NEWSicle, Annie, Love Always, Patsy Cline, Smokey Joes Café, Sweet Charity, Honk!, Lucky Guy,, Beauty & the Beast, Chess. She has also directed national tours for Varla Jean Merman as well as BOOBS! The Musical, Christmas with the Crawfords, Snail Road and The Wiz. She is currently working on a new musical called Les Enfants de Paris. This musical is being premiered at the 2011 NYMF Festival in New York City.



Seth Rudetsky (Seth)

had roles on ALL MY CHILDREN and LAW AND ORDER: C.I. and made his Broadway acting debut in THE RITZ directed by Joe Mantello for The Roundabout Theater playing Sheldon Farenthold and singing "Magic To Do" in a (devastating) unitard. He recently starred as Jeff in [title of show] at the George Street Playhouse. He also played Arnold in the Gallery Players production of TORCH SONG TRILOGY. He's written the books THE Q GUIDE TO BROADWAY and BROADWAY NIGHTS, both in their fourth printing. His young adult novel MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN was recently published by Random House. Currently, he writes a weekly column at Playbill.com and tours his show, DECONSTRUCTING BROADWAY. Seth is also the afternoon Broadway host on Sirius/XM radio. He was recently featured on the Emmy-Award-winning Kathy Griffin Show on Bravo and just starred in THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG this past August opposite Sutton Foster in a benefit for the Actor's Fund. As a musician, Seth has played piano for more than a dozen Broadway shows including RAGTIME, LES MIZ and PHANTOM and was the vocal coach for the LEGALLY BLONDE reality show on MTV. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including DREAMGIRLS with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and HAIR with Jennifer Hudson (recorded on Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination). As a comic, he won the title "Funniest Gay Male in NY" at Stand-Up NY, had a long-running show at Caroline's Comedy Club and spent two years as a comedy writer on THE ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW (three Emmy nominations). For more info visit SethRudetsky.com



Ricky Graham (Ricky)

has written and directed And The Ball And All, the longest-running original comedy in New Orleans. Ricky starred in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, and The Midako at Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre. He directed the regional premieres of The 39 Steps, Hairspray, and God Of Carnage. He wrote and starred in Scrooge In Rouge with co-authors Varla Jean Merman, Jefferson Turner, and Yvette Hargis. Scrooge is now in its fourth year, being presented by theatre companies all over the country. Ricky also has directed and appeared with Varla in Shut Up, Sweet Charlotte!, The Mystery Of Irma Vep, and Auntie Mame. For more info visit rickygrahamonline.com



Brian Peterson (Brian)

coming soon



Tom Judson (Tom)

is probably best known to audiences as gay porn star "Gus Mattox." He is also an actor/composer/writer/musician who has appeared on Broadway in "Cabaret", toured in that show as well as "42nd Street," and was in the world premiere of Terrence McNally's "Some Men" among many others. He has written for Out Magazine, The Advocate, Frontiers Magazine and had a monthly column in Unzipped Magazine. He has composed the music scores for many independent films, including Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan," and his television credits include MTV, Nickelodeon and "Sesame Street." He did arrangements for, and plays several instruments on, several cuts on Ann Magnuson's CD "The Luv Show." He has appeared in Provincetown with Varla Jean Merman in Provincetown in "The Book of Merman", "The Loose Chanteuse" as well as his own shows, "The Tom Judson Show" and "Canned Ham." For more info visit tomjudson.com



Michael Schiralli (Director)

Long time collaboration with Jeff Roberson on many Varla Jean Merman shows and videos including: Enough About Me: An Unauthorized Autobiography, Under a Big Top, The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman; Jackie Hoffman's solo shows including: The Kvetching Continues (Time Out Award), and Jackie Five-Oh! ; many Coco Peru shows including: Undaunted (GLAAD Award), Glorious Wounds, Ugly Coco; Sleepless Variations with Mary Testa (Barrington Stage); The Tragic And Horrible Life of the Singing Nun (NYMF); Desperate Divas with Janine LaManna, Wasp Cove episode 2; The Vendler Television Playhouse with Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman; Everything's Coming Up Moses featuring Seth Rudetsky and Matt Cavanaugh; Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice (Culture Project); Born Again Again! with Tammy Faye Starlite (Ars Nova); Valentine's Day Massacre (Drama Dept.); Nothin's Easy and Nobody's Happy with Colette Hawley; Gas, Food, Talent (West Bank); Darlene Love's True Love (N.Y. & L.A.); Songs for a New World starring Beth Leavel; Damaged Care (U.S. House of Congress); MTW's Holiday Extravaganza with Kristin Chenoweth; Free & Equal (Yip Harburg Foundation).



Mark Cortale (Producer)

has been producing Varla Jean Merman since 2000. He founded The Illyria Theatre in NYC in 1999 with Donna Drake he produced Splendora, Varla Jean Merman's Enough About Me, Jennifer Holliday in DownHearted Blues: The Life and Music of Bessie Smith and Maggie Moore in Are You There God? It's Me, Ann-Margret! This past winter he produced Varla Jean's The Loose Chanteuse and Miranda Sings both at Ars Nova in NY. In January 2011, Mark was named Producing Artistic Director for The Art House Theatre in Provincetown, MA and in his inaugural season presented Seth Rudetsky's Broadway at the Art House concert series that included performances by Andrea Martin, Christine Ebersole, Charles Busch, Adam Pascal, Marilyn Maye, Jackie Hoffman and Andrea McArdle . This past summer Mark also produced Varla Jean's The Book of Merman at The Art House as well as the world premiere musical Snail Road by Zoe Lewis.



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