Drag Chanteuse Varla Jean Merman Not Sure Twain Would Approve Of Her Show

Adults only: A Louisiana Skankee is coming to the Twain House

He's back, and he is bringing "her'' to the Mark Twain House & Museum.

That would be entertainer Jeffery Roberson and his alter ego, drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman. It's been a few years since that bawdy Varla Jean has entertained in Hartford. Besides "herself," she is performing her new show, "A Louisiana Skankee in Connecticut Court," created especially for the museum, on May 8 and 9.

As Varla Jean, Roberson has performed at Carnegie Hall, L.A.'s Renberg Theatre, and starred in the musical "Lucky Guy" opposite Leslie Jordan in New York. Varla Jean was also one of the featured guests on Heidi Klum's reality show "Project Runway," as well as several one-woman shows including "Twice Upon A Mattress."

And did we mention that some of Varla's "adult only" material comes from the Twain House's public relations guru Jacques Lamarre? But today is all about Varla Jean and she was naughty, frank and oh-so-entertaining as she "Spilled the Beans" with Java.

Q: Your plan is to take over Hartford as a "Louisiana Skankee. "How is an "LS" different from a Connecticut Harlot?

A: Skankee is just a harlot who hasn't had a bath. I'm just so busy "entertaining" that hygiene has taken a back seat. Actually, many of my hygiene problems are a direct result of being in so many back seats.

Q: You've been "in the business" for quite a while now. Are there any secrets to you success?

A: Besides the vodka? Well, actually I guess it's a secret that I'm successful. I had no idea. Boy, if this is winning, failing must REALLY suck.

Q: Variety called you "a combination of a buxom Russ Meyer starlet with a hint of perky Doris Day and the brassiness of her spiritual mother, Ethel Merman." How accurate is that and should Doris Day be offended?

A: It's completely accurate, particularly as I wrote it! (Shhhhh, don't tell Variety.) Doris Day would not be offended by that quote, although she would be horrified if she heard my version of "Que Sera, Sera." Let's hope she doesn't show up this weekend, because I am singing it!

Q: Mark Twain was said to be a connoisseur, if you will, of fine entertainment. How will your new show meet his expectations?

A: Who is Mark Twain? Was he married to Shania? I'm not sure if Mark Twain would like my show, but Shania saw it and said, "Man, that's a woman?"

Q: What will we see at the Mark Twain House performance that we haven't seen before?

A: I didn't realize I was performing in someone's home! I hope they have good insurance! Still, I will be performing a few of my classic hits, some numbers from my fairy tale show, "Twice Upon a Mattress," and even a few selections from my upcoming show "Varla Jean Merman's Big Black Hole."

Q: We know much of what you have to say is well, how shall we say this, not really you. Why do you keep letting your sometimes writer, Jacques Lamarre, put words in your mouth?

A: Because he is the only person who will still work with me. And put anything in my mouth. Thank God I have so much dirt on him that he can never quit!

Q: Many have commented on your rockin' body, especially those legs. Can you give us a brief rundown of your daily exercise regime?

A: Every day I go into a Walgreens and steal a pack of cigarettes. The security guard is a bit overweight, so it takes him a good 40 minutes to catch me. I get in a nice jog and a half a pack every day. I save the other half the pack to make "friends" in the park.

Q: Bruce Jenner recently "came out" publicly on his female persona. Would you date him? And do you have any advice for the guy as he begins a new path of fabulous notoriety?

A: I would not date him. Not because of his brave decision to undergo gender reassignment, but because he was with Kris Jenner. I may be a fool, but I'm not an idiot.

Q: Any unspoken thoughts to share?

A: I haven't performed in Hartford in so many years, so I'm excited to return! Does anyone remember what I wore last time? I'd hate to show up in the same outfit.

Q: Most of us know you for your incredible acting ability and fashion sense. What is something most people don't know about you?

A: That I only have one outfit. That's why I wait five years to return.

A LOUISIANA SKANKEE IN CONNECTICUT COURT will be performed  on May 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. It is an adult-only show. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $25 for Mark Twain House & Museum members. Information: 860-280-3130 and

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