WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) -
Jessica Sherr stars in a love letter to one of cinema’s greatest icons. Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies is a one woman show that begins on the night of February 29, 1940-the night of the Oscar ceremony for the awards in 1939. The press has leaked the winners and Bette knows she isn’t going to win for what film critics today call the “definitive” Davis performance in Dark Victory (Vivien Leigh won for Gone with the Wind). As Bette, who hates to lose, contemplates whether she should go; Sherr, in a show she has also written, begins to explore the inner Bette.
Sherr, who has had guest appearances on our own (CBS) Bluebloods and many other television shows, is a kindred spirit of the great Bette. Her passion and commitment to this show dates back to 2008. Prompted by an exercise in an acting class, where students were challenged to be a famous person and a friend’s comment that Ms. Sherr resembles Davis, she began developing this project and it has seen many incarnations since.
From the New York Fringe festival, to the Edinburgh Fringe, to an invited run in London and Chicago, the show continually changes. Bette Davis’ former assistant was so impressed with Sherr’s incarnation and the show that she gave the actress personal belongings of the great Bette to wear in the show. When you see Jessica wearing silk gloves and a red scarf you are seeing Bette Davis’ gloves and scarf. The spirit of Davis is there on stage and with Ms. Sherr; the transformation is complete.
Sherr says that Davis’s story, especially her rebellious contract dispute with Warner Brothers and her fight to be in charge of her own career in the serfdom like circumstances of the Hollywood studio system, has special resonance in the Me Too movement. The Weinstein scandal which was the watershed revelation for how badly women are still treated in Hollywood fueled Sherr’s conviction in the project. The timeliness of Davis’ story reinforces the eternal appeal of Davis. Sherr is dedicated to telling Davis’ story and exposing audiences, especially young audiences, to who Davis was: a feminist, a tireless worker, a brilliant artist and most importantly a person who had to fight hard for what she wanted.
One night only at the Clayton Opera House, Friday, May 31st at 7:30 pm
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