Miss America's Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me

Critics

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69 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Following last summer's sold out run at The Edye, writer/performer Barra Grant is back with her darkly hilarious mother-daughter story: the true, inside tale of Grant's seismic relationship with her mother, Bess Myerson. A beauty queen best known as the first and only Jewish Miss America, Myerson was an accomplished pianist, television personality, New York City's first Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, a close advisor to Mayor Ed Koch, and a national spokesperson against anti-Semitism. Then, she infamously went down in flames — with her Mafia boyfriend! — in a judge-bribing scandal known as the “Bess Mess.” If you missed Grant's fascinating tale about being a confused ugly duckling growing up in the shadow of her spectacular mother, here's your chance. Feb. 2 – March 24; Saturdays @ 8 p.m.; Sundays @ 6 p.m.; Mondays @ 8 p.m.; Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036; free parking; Every Monday is “Mother-Daughter Monday”: mothers and daughters can buy-one-get-one-free; (323) 285-2078; MissAmericasUglyDaughter.com.

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Reviews

"As solo shows go, it's easy to digest. Barra has a distinguished talent for writing. As a presentation though, Miss America's Ugly Daughter comes across a tad too much like a one-sided Mommy Dearest vanity vent (minus the physical abuse of which there is none in Barra's stated history), too "studied" in the performance itself."

sweet-sour - Tracey Paleo - Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"...despite all, she had the spirit to forgive."

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"“Miss America's Ugly Daughter” begins when Barra is 27 years old, as she waits for her mother to disembark from a plane from which she has stolen all the blankets. Her mother's greeting is, “You look old!” It's not hard to understand why Barra “daydreamed about becoming an orphan.”"

sweet-sour - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"Miss America's Ugly Daughter written and performed by Barra Grant, the daughter of Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, was once, possibly, an entertaining evening. That is no longer the case."

sour - Ernest Kearney - The TVolution - ...read full review


"The one-act is a comfortable eighty-two minutes. But the tales of woe are sort-of hard to listen to. It appears that Barra found no redeeming qualities whatsoever about her mother. And, without Bess here to defend herself, I don't know what to believe."

sour - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


"It is always fascinating to learn of the at-home behavior of a famous person and Barra Grant, daughter of Bess Myerson, does not disappoint. In this play we see the petty bad-mother side and the effect it has on a vulnerable child. There is poignant humor in the duel between them for attention after the parade has passed by. It's an entertaining show but I wish Grant had told of her mothers good works as well as her selfish home behavior. "

sweet - Morna Martell - Theatre Spoken Here - ...read full review


"Eve Brandstein, noted casting director and founder of Poetry in Motion, directs with an eye to emotional authenticity, which is challenging when you only have one performer onstage (and a fairly stiff one at that.) Set design by Elisha Schaefer is simple but elegant and effective, and both the image projections and needle-drop music choices are evocative."

sweet-sour - Ethlie Ann Vare - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


"Kudos to playwright/performer Barra Grant for her direct and honest play – as well as to the talented Monica Piper, who is Bess Myerson's offstage voice. Helmed by the skilled Eve Grandstein, MISS AMERICA'S UGLY DAUGHTER has lots of lessons to teach – and yet remains entertaining, clever, sometimes tearful, and frequently amusing."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


"Although the story could be a downer, Grant's clever writing elicits laughter from the audience, and the play enjoyed a sold-out run last summer at the Edye Stage at the Broad in Santa Monica."

sweet - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


"Director Eve Brandstein keeps the pace moving and carefully delineates the chapters in Grant's life. - Four stars"

sweet - Patricia Foster Rye - Larchmont Chronicle - ...read full review


"It's all true–with a bit of creative license added from good measure! It's also very entertaining! ...the theater going audience is also lucky to become witnesses of a one-of-a-kind epic!"

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


"The humor is strengthened by its foundation of genuine pain and angst. Grant's air of vulnerability, her sense of having been through the fire, draws the audience into her journey. Always in command, she drops comedic gems in a deadpan manner; avoiding an obvious play for laughs, she relives painful moments in a conversational style and without any self-pity — making those moments all the more potent. In addition, her exasperation at some of the after-hours phone calls from her mother is made visible by an arch delivery. - RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Ms. Grant is a sympathetic figure on stage, and opens up with touching honesty as she tells the tales of her life, peppering the stories with self-effacing humor. Her performance, however, is low-key and could use more moments of spontaneous energy that draw in the audience."

sweet-sour - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


"As solo shows go, it's easy to digest. Barra has a distinguished talent for writing. As a presentation though, Miss America's Ugly Daughter comes across a tad too much like a one-sided Mommy Dearest vanity vent (minus the physical abuse of which there is none in Barra's stated history), too "studied" in the performance itself."

sweet-sour - Tracey Paleo - Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"...despite all, she had the spirit to forgive."

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"“Miss America's Ugly Daughter” begins when Barra is 27 years old, as she waits for her mother to disembark from a plane from which she has stolen all the blankets. Her mother's greeting is, “You look old!” It's not hard to understand why Barra “daydreamed about becoming an orphan.”"

sweet-sour - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"Miss America's Ugly Daughter written and performed by Barra Grant, the daughter of Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, was once, possibly, an entertaining evening. That is no longer the case."

sour - Ernest Kearney - The TVolution - ...read full review


"The one-act is a comfortable eighty-two minutes. But the tales of woe are sort-of hard to listen to. It appears that Barra found no redeeming qualities whatsoever about her mother. And, without Bess here to defend herself, I don't know what to believe."

sour - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


"It is always fascinating to learn of the at-home behavior of a famous person and Barra Grant, daughter of Bess Myerson, does not disappoint. In this play we see the petty bad-mother side and the effect it has on a vulnerable child. There is poignant humor in the duel between them for attention after the parade has passed by. It's an entertaining show but I wish Grant had told of her mothers good works as well as her selfish home behavior. "

sweet - Morna Martell - Theatre Spoken Here - ...read full review


"Eve Brandstein, noted casting director and founder of Poetry in Motion, directs with an eye to emotional authenticity, which is challenging when you only have one performer onstage (and a fairly stiff one at that.) Set design by Elisha Schaefer is simple but elegant and effective, and both the image projections and needle-drop music choices are evocative."

sweet-sour - Ethlie Ann Vare - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


"Kudos to playwright/performer Barra Grant for her direct and honest play – as well as to the talented Monica Piper, who is Bess Myerson's offstage voice. Helmed by the skilled Eve Grandstein, MISS AMERICA'S UGLY DAUGHTER has lots of lessons to teach – and yet remains entertaining, clever, sometimes tearful, and frequently amusing."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


"Although the story could be a downer, Grant's clever writing elicits laughter from the audience, and the play enjoyed a sold-out run last summer at the Edye Stage at the Broad in Santa Monica."

sweet - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


"Director Eve Brandstein keeps the pace moving and carefully delineates the chapters in Grant's life. - Four stars"

sweet - Patricia Foster Rye - Larchmont Chronicle - ...read full review


"It's all true–with a bit of creative license added from good measure! It's also very entertaining! ...the theater going audience is also lucky to become witnesses of a one-of-a-kind epic!"

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


"The humor is strengthened by its foundation of genuine pain and angst. Grant's air of vulnerability, her sense of having been through the fire, draws the audience into her journey. Always in command, she drops comedic gems in a deadpan manner; avoiding an obvious play for laughs, she relives painful moments in a conversational style and without any self-pity — making those moments all the more potent. In addition, her exasperation at some of the after-hours phone calls from her mother is made visible by an arch delivery. - RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Ms. Grant is a sympathetic figure on stage, and opens up with touching honesty as she tells the tales of her life, peppering the stories with self-effacing humor. Her performance, however, is low-key and could use more moments of spontaneous energy that draw in the audience."

sweet-sour - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review