Poised, lovely, perfectly coiffed and made up, tastefully garbed in either an evening gown or a kicky dress, Varla Jean Merman demands to be seen and heard. She's a throwback woman, the sort of gal who'll drink you under the table then dance on top of it. And the mouth on her: When Varla belts out the Vegas-meets-tropicalia oomph of "Girl with a Pearl Necklace" ("Hey, boy, what the heck? Come load up my neck!") or one of her brilliantly demented mash ups ("Ring My Bell/The Bell Song"), you can't quite believe a creature this magnificent has a voice that surpasses her looks. And to top it off, she's armed with a rapier wit, a bawdy sense of humor and dance moves that are perhaps best described as cheerleader-meets-stripper-pole. She's marriageable material, if that sort of thing were allowed in Missouri. (Varla's definitely packing something extra, if you follow.) Cabaret St. Louis graciously presents Ms. Merman in her one-woman show, The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman, at 8 p.m. at Cabaret at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or www.thesheldon.org). Tickets are $45 — and it'll be the greatest one-night stand of your life.
Thu., May 14, 2009

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