New York | 1h 30m | Ends Aug 18

Bette Davis Ain't For Sissies

From 11 critic and 10 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Clever, Ambitious

About the show

This 90-minute one-woman show, performed monthly at the Episcopal Actors' Guild, tells the story 1930s icon Bette Davis, on the night of the 1939 Academy Awards.  More…

Young Miss Davis is nominated for Best Actress in “Dark Victory”, and the Los Angeles Times leaked the Oscar winners early. The bold, defiant, and disillusioned Bette Davis decides to leave the Oscars! Journey into the young starlet's battle to win freedom from the grip and control of the studio moguls of Hollywood. Witness Bette’s most defining moments as a tenacious young starlet fighting her way to the top! See what happens when someone who always wins...loses.

All About Solo

“Writer and actor Jessica Sherr is a dead ringer for young Bette Davis. She is kinetic energy crowned in pin curls and draped in a fitted evening gown. Ms. Sherr channels the voice and mannerisms of Davis without distorting the star into a caricature. Her writing and portrayal of Ms. Davis presents the iconic movie star as a fully fleshed out three dimensional character...This play is a fresh take on the life and times of Bette Davis; it blends drama and humor, with a bit of sass.” Full Review

Windy City Media Group

for a previous production "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 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...Sherr has created something funny, tragic and completely unforgettable. Don't miss this tribute to Old Hollywood." Full Review

Buzz Center Stage

for a previous production "We are given insight to Bette’s relationship with Hollywood and the world, her daughter B.D., the relationship she had with herself and the supportive relationship of her mother...You will laugh, you will feel her pride, soar on her triumphs, and your heart will follow...through her failures, as her attempts to rise above to do what she truly loves...A woman unlike many others...You will fall in love with Sherr and Bette.” Full Review

The Local Tourist

for a previous production "Exquisite...Sherr is Davis from the moment she breezes into the room in vintage Oscar night drag...There are moments in Sherr’s performance where the verisimilitude is stunning, where her invocation of Davis’s most private, most internal moments of righteous ferocity, of crippling self-doubt, and of heartbreak are breathtaking. Then, in a wink, she whips the narrative into a joke and punctuates that moment with laughter." Full Review

The Fourth Walsh

for a previous production “Under the skillful direction of Perillo, the amazing Sherr makes it look effortless...She weaves the diva’s tumultuous personal and professional life into a celebrity-driven-tell-all. Sherr seamlessly changes tone, emotion and clothes with bold vulnerability...The stories are captivating...I would highly recommend this one woman tour de force for fans of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Sherr is the perfect tour guide to a trip to the past." Full Review

Chicago Theatre Review

for a previous production "As the evening progresses, the audience soaks up delicious tidbits about the making of Bette Davis’ most famous films...In Jessica Sherr’s newly-expanded, 90-minute version of her well-researched solo performance, audiences will find themselves mesmerized by this animated, energetic performer...By the end of the evening, Ms. Sherr has infused her audience with a shared adoration of what made Bette Davis a legend." Full Review

Stage and Cinema

for a previous production “Reimagining as much as recreating the cinema idol’s feisty hunger and jerky grace, ‘Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies’ is catnip for the cognoscenti...It’s a time-capsule treasure for once and future fans of the Tinsel Town icon...With flashing eyes and clipped delivery...Sherr impishly displays the various looks Davis cultivated to match her attitudes...Sherr’s one-act tour-de-force can only be a blast from the past, a seminal glimpse of a legend in full flux. It’s always a pleasure to watch." Full Review

Windy City Media Group

for a previous production “Sherr's performance shuns all traces of camp caricature to encompass a flinty New England accent, changes of costume incorporating accessories belonging to the real-life Davis and facial replication mirroring her iconic persona so accurately as to totally eclipse the playbill photograph of Sherr as herself. A complete summary of Davis' long career could span several evenings...This tantalizing glimpse...ends after just more than an hour...leaving us wanting more.” Full Review

Splash Magazines

for a previous production “Sherr packed her portrayal of the legendary actress...with a lot of the dreams, sacrifices, and energy...Sherr’s strong performance was somewhat marred by production issues...Her performance captures many of the qualities that made Davis one of the greatest actresses of her time, her willingness to take on tough roles with good sense, and humor rather than fear or regret, and a complex and contrasting personality that went from tough to emotional and vulnerable.” Full Review

Chicago Reader

for a previous production “There are no big surprises in Jessica Sherr's 60-minute solo, no novel insights...Yes, Bette Davis faced sexism in the movie industry. Yes, it was lonely at the top...The main appeal of ‘Sissie’...Is Sherr herself, whose Davis isn't quite like any you've seen, adding a bright comic energy to the usual semaphore gestures and wised-up locutions. Sherr is especially wild during a passage where Davis gets randy with Howard Hughes.” Full Review

Theatre by Numbers

for a previous production “Sherr’s winning performances carries the audience...Often, the need to go over the speaker’s history is not grounded in clear dramatic stakes. Such is the case with ‘Bette Davis'...though Sherr manages to make an entertaining raconteur...Sherr’s energy is infectious...the force of her performance draws you into the next scenario clearly and cleanly. It is a shame that her script does not drive the action forward...she could do so much with more dramatically grounded material." Full Review

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Absorbing, Exquisite

See it if Didn’t know what to expect and ended up loving the one woman show. It is funny and at the same time serious & dramatic. The acting is superb

Don't see it if You just want another glossy musical. This one woman play is beautifully written and perfectly delivered. It has been one of my favorites!

Clever, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You want to see a talented woman represent everything Bette.

Don't see it if You like one woman shoes or don’t like Bette

Clever, Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if If you like Bette David or if you love old Hollywood.

Don't see it if If you don't like small theater.

Also This show is upstairs and has stairs. They do had a chairlift. She doe... Read more Read less

Riveting, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing, Amazing

See it if Bette is portrayed so effectively I couldn't take my eyes off her. This is a smart intro to BD if you don't know her--even better if you do

Don't see it if If you don't care about Bette, or Hollywood in the 30s and 40s. This is a portrayal of Bette off screen, and it's convincing -- Brava!

Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you are interested in Hollywood's golden age and the life of a great star gifted with both charm and intelligence. Very well preformed

Don't see it if you dislike one person shows that depend on the audience's imagination to fill in the missing characters.

Relevant, Absorbing, Clever, Well acted, Hollywood lore

See it if you love Hollywood's heyday/Bette Davis. Sherr's show captures BD's fire/ambition, and presents her fight against the studio system. Fun bio

Don't see it if you dislike solo shows (uses phone often for expositn) or you've no interest in old Hywd. It's a snappy reminder of hurdles in a man's world

Ambitious, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you want to see the Hollywood heyday and BD . It is a well acted show. Based on the night of the Academy Awards.

Don't see it if If you don't like Bette Davis or that era. Or one women shows. A show that is high paced. a bigger production.

Quirky, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like Bette Davis, classic Hollywood, or 1-person bio shows. A lot of research and time has gone into this.

Don't see it if You're not interested in those things. You want a traditional play.

Cliched, Amateurish, Ambitious

See it if you want to learn more about Bette Davis's life and don't mind a show that feels like it's trying a bit too hard.

Don't see it if you want to see something polished and professional.

Also There were entertaining moments in this show, but on the whole, it fel... Read more Read less

Sometimes boring, Long, Disappointing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you are a big bette davis fan. Her performance of bette is great and doesn't read like an impression.

Don't see it if it is just far too long. should be under an hour.

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Cast & Creatives (3)