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Barra Grant’s fascinating tale about being a confused ugly duckling growing up in the shadow of her spectacular mother, beauty queen and political activist Bess Myerson.
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. Pageant Productions and Canon Theatricals present Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me written by Grant and performed by Grant and Monica Piper. Eve Brandstein directs for a Feb. 8 opening at the Greenway Court Theatre, where performances continue through March 24.
Grant’s critically acclaimed play is her fascinating account of growing up a confused ugly duckling in the shadow of her spectacular mother. An awkward, chubby kid with frizzy hair, buck teeth and no obvious talent, Barra was beauty queen Myerson’s only child. The first and only Jewish Miss America, Myerson was famous — 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 — until she became infamous, falling in love with the wrong man and going down with her Mafia boyfriend in a judge-bribing scandal.
In the play, Barra takes us on the journey of her life: a feisty struggle as she tries to fit in at school, meet the right man, find a career and forge her own place in the universe. But Bess (voiced off stage by Piper) is ever-present, fixated on “improving” Barra by molding her into a version of herself. Barra’s final challenge occurs when she has a daughter of her own and has to discover a whole new set of parenting skills.
“Although not all of us have been raised by beauty queens, we are all seeking to understand how we came to be who we are,” says Grant. “This is a story for any daughter who has had to maneuver her way around the potholes left by her mother while trying to forge her own path.”
Brandstein worked with Grant over the course of a year to develop the piece, and she directed last summer’s sold-out run at the Edye Stage at the Broad in Santa Monica. “Barra’s is a humorous, deeply moving story about a personal journey of self-discovery and survival,” she says.
According to producer Suzi Dietz, a five-time Tony award nominee for Broadway productions of The Lonesome West, Topdog/Underdog, The Little Dog Laughed, Fela! and Mothers and Sons, “It's a most unusual and powerful story. We get more than a peek into the life of one of America's most heroic, yet tragic heroines — and we see her through the eyes of a child, an adolescent and an adult.”
Miss America’s Ugly Daughter opens on Friday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m., with performances thereafter on Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. through March 24 (dark Sunday, Feb. 24). Tickets are $40 on Saturdays and Sundays and $25 on Mondays. Every Monday is “Mother-Daughter Monday”: mothers and daughters can buy-one-get-one-free. Tickets for students and seniors are $20 at all performances. In addition, three preview performances will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb 3 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m., for which tickets are $15.
The Greenway Court Theatre is located at 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. Free parking is available on-site. To purchase tickets, call (323) 285-2078 or go to MissAmericasUglyDaughter.com.
Presenter / Producer: Pageant Productions
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 323-285-2078
Greenway Court Theatre
544 N. Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90036
LA - Hollywood / Westside
Performance Dates: 2/2/2019 - 3/24/2019
Saturdays and Mondays 8:00 pm Sundays 6:00 pm Friday Feb. 8 (Opening) 8:00 pm
Fri., Sat., Sun. $40 Mon. $25 Students/Seniors $20 Previews $15
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