Famous for her tumultuous life that included marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra as well as numerous love affairs, the Academy Award-nominated actress was raised the daughter of poor tobacco sharecroppers in rural Grabtown, North Carolina. She never forgot her rural roots, always calling herself a “country girl.” And she may have been raised in a small Southern town, but she was a life-long advocate for Civil Rights. As a child, she ignored Jim Crow laws to sit with Black children in the segregated section of movie theaters. She supported 1948 presidential hopeful Henry Wallace, who opposed school segregation and would not speak in front of crowds unless they were desegregated. She counted Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge among her close friends, and her longtime assistant, Mearene “Reenie” Jordan, became her closest personal confidante. In 1968 Gardner became a member of the NAACP.
About The Show
TWELVE O’CLOCK TALES WITH AVA GARDNER will prove absorbing for the film buff as it explores the history and dynamics of the Hollywood culture of the time and also the dynamics of the people – and especially the women – who survived within that culture. But the show offers more than just Hollywood history. It digs into what formed and psychologically shaped Ava Gardner, the perfect example of what we now term Star of the Silver Screen.
“Ava was a star in the ‘40s and ‘50s, but she had the sensibility and morés of today’s millennial,” says Assaf. “She enjoyed her sexuality and had agency over herself in a way that women were not permitted to at the time. She fought against racism and believed in the right to choose.”
Hollywood, California… 1974. On the set of the blockbuster disaster film, Earthquake, Oscar nominated screen siren Ava Gardner is focusing on her first big budget starring role in over a decade. Tucked away in her dressing room bungalow, the “queen of the scandal sheets” does battle with her past. But only a fool would bet against Ava.
Turner Classic Movies named Gardner “Star of the Month” in November, writing, “She was stunningly beautiful and glamorous, yet earthy and uninhibited at the same time. Once dubbed ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Animal’ in a publicity campaign, her image was often distorted by the gossip columnists, news of divorces and Hollywood myths. Born Dec. 24, 1922, her legend is still discussed 100 years after her birth.” “No matter how evolved we think we’ve become, eye candy remains a powerful force,” notes Assaf. “Could our sense of sight be the most flawed or corrupt of our senses? What Mother Nature affords us physically is mere chance. For some, that chance can shape a destiny — from the elephant man to Ava Gardner.”
“STAGE RAW TOP TEN… RECOMMENDED… finds the humanity in a woman described as “The World’s Most Beautiful Animal… Assaf is a sharply focused storyteller and unflappably glamorous.” — Taylor Kass, Stage Raw
Stage Scene LA
“WOW!... SPELLBINDING… Assaf has audiences believing that Ava Gardner has somehow miraculously risen from the grave.” — Steven Stanley, Stage Scene LA
“ENTERTAINING AND INTRIGUING… will delight both film and theater fans.” — Elaine Mura, Splash Magazines
The Hollywood Times
“A TOUR DE FORCE… Up to the challenge with aplomb and style, Alessandra Asaf brings an aging Ava Gardner back to life. Expertly directed by Michael A. Shepperd.” — John Lavitt, The Hollywood Times
“[AN] AMAZING THEATRE PRODUCTION… Assaf plays Ava Gardner magnificently.” — Melissa Hebert, 2 Urban Girls
[A] KNOCKOUT SHOW. Assaf carries herself with Old Hollywood bearing, beautifully portraying Gardner’s straightforward pragmatism, self-deprecating humor and charismatic presence in one captivating performance.” — Laura Foti Cohen, Larchmont Buzz
“ENTERTAINING AND WITTY… memories and spicy details of the iconic life of one of the greatest stars of the golden age of Hollywood,” — Joe Mosqueda, Glamgical