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Bette Davis Ain't for Sissies

Hitting the Tobin’s Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater for a three-night run, Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies is a one-woman show written by and starring Jessica Sherr. Drawing from the real life of the iconic actress, the play takes place in 1940, just as the Los Angeles Times has leaked the list of Oscar winners ahead of the ceremony, showing Davis (Dark Victory) losing Best Actress to Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind). Angry and dejected, Davis sits in her dressing room and banters with the audience about her life in Hollywood. Sherr, who hails from El Cajon, California, developed a one-act version of her play in 2010 as part of an Off-Broadway show called The Redheads which explored the lives of Davis, Lucille Ball and Shirley MacLaine. Sherr went on to develop a full-length version of the show, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has received widespread acclaim. In a recent review in Stage and Cinema, writer Lawrence Bommer said, “With flashing eyes and clipped delivery, Sherr incarnates the rebel with a cause who defied Warner Brothers to demand script control and better billing. In phone calls to her over-protective mother Ruthie, we see Bette as a proud daughter of the theater who holds Hollywood’s dream factories in proper disregard even as she feeds its fantasies.”

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