Review: From Judy To Bette: The Stars of Old Hollywood

FROM JUDY TO BETTE: STARS OF.


FROM JUDY TO BETTE: STARS OF OLD HOLLYWOOD by Rebecca Perry (Rebecca Perry). At Factory Antechamber (125 Bathurst). January 8 at 8:40 pm, January 9 at 5:40 pm, January 10 at 5:40 pm, January 11 at 7:55 pm, January 12 at 5:55 pm, January 13 at 5:55 pm, January 14 at 6:55 pm, January 15 at 8:55 pm, January 16 at 5:25 pm, January 17 at 3:25 pm. $10. 416-966-1062, fringetoronto.com. Rating: NNN


Rebecca Perry’s bright stage presence and some brief vocal numbers are the highlights of From Judy To Bette, a look at four women who started their careers in 1930s Hollywood, fighting studio control and not following the traditional model for stardom.

Moving from Bette Davis to Judy Garland and then on to Betty Hutton and Lucille Ball, Perry – best known for Confessions Of A Redheaded Coffeshop Girl – talks about her admiration for the performers, providing some history of each and, in three cases, singing songs identified with the women.

Perry’s nuanced, sometimes brassy voice suits the music well she doesn’t try to imitate but rather suggest the qualities of Garland, Hutton and Ball. Accompanied by musical director Quinton Naughton, she earns well-deserved applause for the songs, especially the Garland tribute.

But this 30-minute show only provides us with tidbits, which resonate if you know the performer but are less meaningful if you don’t (as in Hutton’s case). And Davis, who refused to sing and dance, doesn’t sit comfortably in this musical evening. She fits into the non-traditional female star category but would be better in a different sort of cabaret production.

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