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Varla Jean Merman: The Errors Tour

Review by James Judd

2023 was a high watermark in Varla Jean Merman herstory. In Stand by Your Drag, Merman and her team deftly presented all the elements of great drag performance—timing, costumes, music, video, punchlines, pacing, physical comedy—all of it. Plus, there were important and timely messages about the political attacks against drag queens, and all of it presented with great humor and goodwill. It deserves to be seen by the masses on a major streaming network. Hopefully, one of the many industry influencers who walk amongst us will make that happen…soon. 

Meanwhile, I went into Varla’s new show wondering how she would meet the high bar she set for herself. While The Errors Tour may not match the level of societal significance in Stand by Your Drag, it reminds us that nobody puts on a show as well as Varla Jean Merman. It has a fresh, modern vibe. 

The Errors Tour name is a play on Taylor Swift’s planet devouring Eras Tour. I’m probably the only person on earth who doesn’t know a single Taylor Swift song, but it didn’t matter at all. Without any spoilers, I can tell you the show unfolds like an origami fortune teller. But instead of future predictions, Varla is flashing back to moments in her life when something went terribly wrong. The show shifts gears seamlessly, adding a nice mix of levels to the show without losing energy or momentum. Director Michael Schiralli knows how to correctly pace a show so that the hits keep coming. There’s not a segment in it that overstays its welcome, which is itself a rare feat for any live show. 

Provincetown is spoiled by having Varla Jean Merman, Miss Richfield 1981, and Dina Martina performing here year after year. Their understanding and mastery of stagecraft is at an extremely high level, not just in the world of drag—a label that doesn’t begin to illuminate what they do—but in all live performance. Their stand-up skills are as good as any comic with a Netflix special. 

The entire team of talents—Todd Alsup on piano, director Michael Schiralli, writers Ricky Graham and Jacques Lamarre, video artists Devin and Ned, costume designer Jim Buff, Jeremy Perkins on lighting, and the Crown & Anchor team—have produced a show that puts summer into high gear. 

Varla Jean Merman performs in The Errors Tour at the Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial St., Provincetown, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. through September 13. For tickets ($40 – $50) and information call 508.487.1430 or visit

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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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