Varla Jean Merman Stars in THE MEDIUM at P-Town's Art House, Now thru 6/3
Varla Jean Merman aka Jeffery Roberson plays the title role in Menotti's THE MEDIUM at The Art House directed by Donna Drake. Produced by Provincetown Counter Productions in association with Mark Cortale this production runs from tonight, May 18th – June 3rd. Elizabeth Hastings who has conducted for both New York City Opera and College Light Opera on Cape Cod will music direct. The cast also includes Stefanie Izzo as Monica, Edmund Bagnell as Toby, Shannon Carson as Mrs. Gobineau, Peter Kendall Clark as Mr. Gobineau and Maria Elena Armijo as Mrs. Nolan. This production is slated to transfer to the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre in NY for a limited engagement in the fall. For Art House tickets please visit www.ptownarthouse.com or call 508-487-9222.
THE MEDIUM was commissioned by Columbia University and first performed there on May 8, 1946. The Broadway production took place on May 1, 1947 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre with Marie Powers in the title role. The composer Gian Carlo Menotti is best known for his Christmas work Amahl and the Night Visitors which was commissioned by NBC in 1951 and became the first opera written for television. With the help of filmmaker Alexander Hammid, Menotti made a film version of THE MEDIUM in 1951 starring Anna Maria Alberghetti as Monica.
Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman starred in the musical Lucky Guy opposite Leslie Jordan in NY at the Little Schubert last 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". 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 2010 Jeffery won an Elliot Norton Award for Best Musical Performance in The Phantom of the OPRAH. He returned to Boston this past fall to star as Mother Superior in SpeakEasy Stage's production of The Divine Sister by Charles Busch. Jeffery recently completed shooting the feature films Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads and 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.
Donna Drake, director was in the original Broadway casts 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 original production of The 1940s Radio Hour. She has received an Emmy nomination for Dear Alex and Annie, 4 Drama Desk Nominations, A Mac Award Nomination and a Theatre World Award. She choreographed Catherine Zeta Jones for the American Film Institute Awards. She directed John Tartaglia's Imaginocean ran Off Broadway at New World Stages.