Varla Jean & The Mushroom Heads
Sat 9:00pm Palace Theatre. Wear Your Best Varla
After years of performing in dive bars and bathhouses around New Orleans, semi-celebrity and loose chanteuse Varla Jean Merman (Jeffery Roberson) is watching her audience get older by the minute. In a last-ditch effort to prop up her sagging career, Varla decides to go after a younger crowd - kids.
Varla Jean & The Mushroomheads is a mockumentary chronicling the daffy diva's attempts to mount a low-budget children's television show. Long on ambition and short on morals, Varla only has a few weeks to cobble together a show that will be educational, entertaining and, most importantly, launch her into stardom with the pre-pubescent set.
A community college film crew adopts Varla as their class project and follow her as she pursues her dream. Varla's first step is to recruit former child star and theatre director Donna Drake (Broadway's A Chorus Line and ABC's classic 70s children's advice show Dear Alex & Annie) as her director and muse.
Her second step is to lure composer-accompanist to the stars Seth Rudetsky (Broadway's The Ritz, Sirius XM Broadway Host and Playbill columnist) to New Orleans to help her write the show - if she can get him off his cellphone. After being informed she will need co-stars, auditions are held and Varla is saddled with two unwilling co-stars - The Mushroomheads, a bitter actor (Ricky Graham) and a former pageant coach with a shady past (Brian Peterson). When Seth unexpectedly decamps, Varla and Donna must find a new accompanist and delight in the discovery that former porn star and now born again Christian Tom Judson (a.k.a. Gus Mattox) can play piano.
Tensions build in rehearsal as Varla routinely undermines the Mushroomheads' efforts to get screen time. Things come to a boil at a dinner party when a giant fight erupts that threatens to shut the show down. Varla learns the importance of being part of a team and sets out to make amends with her new Mushroomhead friends. As the day of the backers audition arrives, new last-minute complications threaten the television show.
Can our intrepid team pull through this latest crisis to put on their musical childrens' extravaganza and can Varla keep her hands off the cameraman long enough for the show to get filmed? After the success of the camp classic Girls will be Girls and appearances on TV's Ugly Betty and Project Runway, Varla Jean is ready for her closeup in this hilariously inappropriate music-filled comedy!
04.28.12 - 9:00 pm