Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


"Tough as nails, Funny as hell."   That just about sums it all up.  Ann, a touching, heart-felt one-woman memoir of a classy and brassy southern belle makes it debut this spring at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center.

Written and performed by Holland Taylor, the show, as you would expect, takes you on a tour of life of the grande-damme of Texas and National politics, Ann Richards.  Ms. Taylor completely embodies the former Texas governor - and on more than one occasion you find yourself blinking twice - just to remind yourself that there's an actress on the stage - not Ms. Richards herself.  Ms. Taylor nails the white hair and the drawl, but more importantly her swagger, the way Ms. Richards awkwardly placed her one hand behind her back when speaking, and of course the lipstick, the pucker and the delivery of the zingers - always with love.

Done in two acts, Ms. Taylor, who likely needed little direction by Benjamin Endsley Klein, effortlessly begins the show with a college graduation address, transitions to the tale of her upbringing, her rise in local politics to her eventual coronation as the *second* woman governor of Texas.  (You'll find out about the first woman too).

The voice of her assistant is that of Julie White.  And you may not realize it when you are in the theatre but Ms. White is not present.  The entire track is recorded which makes you stop and think about how comfortable and well rehearsed Ms. Taylor must be in her role.  To hold an entire act's telephone conversations with a recorded track takes a whole lot a' chutzpah!

We see Ms. Richards all the way to her death in what turns out to be an brilliant stroke of theatrical genius leaving everyone to exit the theatre with a whole lot of good advice and and a warm heart too.