PROVINCETOWN, Mass. — Varla Jean Merman has a good arm, and when she threw her hairpiece into the swimming pool the other evening at the end of an increasingly frenzied number in her cabaret show, it landed on the surface just right.
Then it floated there, inert and disheveled. “Everyone loves a wig in a pool,” Varla said, like a breathy midcentury hostess reassuring her guests. “It looks like an Irish setter’s in there, taking a nap.” The pool deck of the Crown & Anchor, a hotel and nightlife complex known for its drag shows, is not where Varla — or Jeffery Roberson, the performer who plays her — had planned to spend the season, in front of an audience on folding chairs.