The story of Me and Jezebel (the title refers to Davis’ second Oscar-winning role) centers around the actress’s request to spend a couple of nights with Fuller and her family during a hotel strike in New York. The two women had only recently met but Fuller is thrilled with the idea of playing host to a movie star. Then, in The Man Who Came To Dinner fashion, Davis stays on far longer than expected. Hilarity is supposed to ensue.
As she did in the original production, Fuller plays herself. Davis is played by Kelly Moore, a male actor whose bio says he has “brought Bette Davis to life for the past 17 years, from Key West to Kansas City and Connecticut to Sydney.”
Fuller fluffed a few lines at our performance. But Moore is pretty good at his job. Alas, the dialog in this two-hander strains to include all the Davis one-liners that drag queens, cigarettes waving in the air, have been braying for years and it’s hard for him to move beyond those clichés.
Plus, the show has the misfortune to follow closely on the heels of Bette Midler’s amusing portrayal of the Hollywood agent Sue Mengers in I’ll Eat You Last and Michael Urie’s brilliant rendering of Barbra Streisand in Buyer & Cellar, both of which give the sense that we're learning something more about the person beneath the celebrated façade. Me and Jezebel stays flat-footedly on the surface.
I feel badly about dumping on this little show. Both Fuller and Moore clearly want to entertain. But while Me and Jezebel may be innocuous, it’s also vacuous.