Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Bette Davis Ain't for Sissies
by Lauren Emily Whalen
2018-06-06

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Jessica Sherr

At: Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: $26-36; AthenaeumTheatre.org; 773-935-6875. Runs through: June 17

Jessica Sherr is a one-woman revolution.

Her original show Bette Davis Ain't for Sissies began as an acting-class exercise in Sherr's home base of New York City. After acclaimed runs off-Broadway, in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sherr brought Bette to the Athenaeum in June 2017 and was commissioned by the theater to further develop the solo performance. One year later, Sherr makes a triumphant return to Chicago with an expanded 90-minute love letter to the tough, complex and truly unforgettable star of stage and screen.

Sherr wrote and directed the production, as well as coordinating impressive lighting and sound clips and sourcing gorgeous, vibrant evening gowns and peignoirs worthy of a cinematic icon. The one-act begins and ends on the evening of the 1939 Academy Awards, which Davis has stormed out of with the knowledge ( thanks to a leak from the Los Angeles Times ) that Vivien Leigh has beaten her for Best Actress. Davis chats on the telephone with her mother, Ruthie, close friend Olivia de Havilland ( who won't stop crying ) and co-star Humphrey Bogart while running lines for the next morning's shoot and taking the audience through her life and career, one sassy monologue at a time. Once a small-town girl doing summer stock in Lowell, Massachusetts, Davis gradually ascends to Broadway thanks to the encouragement of Ruthie, her smart and driven single mother in a time when such families were incredibly rare. Davis desires nothing more than a life on stage, but when a Hollywood talent scout invites her to meet a big-time producer, everything changes.

From Bette's early days in the studio system ( when actresses were locked into contracts that resembled indentured servitude ) to All About Eve and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Sherr covers it all, using that fateful Oscar night as bookends. Also, Sherr pulls no punches: As talented and stunning as Davis was, she was also prickly, demanding and forever dissatisfied with La La Land, escaping to her beloved East Coast whenever she could.

Although Davis and her mother remained incredibly close until Ruthie's death, the actress was far from a good mother to her own daughter, B.D., resulting in a lifelong estrangement. But as Sherr deftly demonstrates—with a brilliant mastery of Bette's voice, style and mannerisms—there's a lot to like and admire about an actress who didn't fit the Hollywood mold ( she was petite and gravelly among a cadre of long-legged beauties ), and perpetually resisted playing the pretty girl, in favor of darker, grittier roles.

In Bette Davis Ain't for Sissies, Sherr has created something funny, tragic and completely unforgettable. Don't miss this tribute to Old Hollywood—warts and all—during its short but sweet Chicago run.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Best of The Infinite Wrench 2018 2018-12-08 - Playwright: The Neo-Futurists At the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: Neofuruturists.org; $10 - $20. Regular run through: Dec. 9 with a New ...


Gay News

Holiday Hootenanny Radio Hour presents Cricket on the Mantle, benefits AVER 2018-12-08 - CHICAGO ( November 16, 2018 ) — The Holiday Hootenanny Radio Hour is pleased to announce Nick Thornton's heart warming new radio play ...


Gay News

Interrobang Theatre Project to present "I Call my Brothers" 2018-12-07 - CHICAGO ( December 6, 2018 ) Interrobang Theatre Project is pleased to continue its ninth season, exploring "identity/crisis"with the Chicago premiere of Jonas ...


Gay News

Haven Theatre, About Face Theatre announce casting for The Total Bent 2018-12-06 - CHICAGO ( December 5, 2018 ) — Haven Theatre, in association with About Face Theatre, is pleased to announce casting for its Midwest ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre announces casting for DADA WOOF PAPA HOT 2018-12-06 - CHICAGO ( December 6, 2018 ) — About Face Theatre is pleased to announce casting for its Chicago premiere of DADA WOOF PAPA ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-12-05 - The Safe House, City Lit Theatre at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, through Dec. 16. The occupants of the title dwelling may be a three-generation ...


Gay News

'When Adonis Calls' through Dec. 9 at Pride Arts 2018-12-05 - Thompson Street Opera Company is collaborating with Pride Films & Plays on the production When Adonis Calls, which will run Fridays through Sundays ...


Gay News

DINING Gift drive, Theater on the Lake, 'Charlie Brown' Christmas 2018-12-04 - —Caffe Umbria, in Logan Square ( 2545 W. Armitage Ave. ) and River North ( 346 N. Clark St. ), is hosting a ...


Gay News

Jane Lynch, Kate Flannery make the yuletide swing 2018-12-04 - Actresses Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery are teaming up this holiday season and hitting the road. The album—A Swingin' Little Christmas! Jane Lynch—features ...


Gay News

Familiar 2018-12-04 - Playwright: Danai Gurira At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650; Steppenwolf.org; $20-$109. Runs through: January 13 The foundation ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.