Ann, starring and written by Holland Taylor, about Ann Richards, the pioneering female politician who rose to Governor of Texas, is an extremely pleasant, affectionate and better-than-competent one performer bio-drama. Which, coming from me, is high praise. There’s really only a handful of such evenings that have reached greatness for me—the big three remain Will Rogers’ U.S.A. by Paul Shyre and starring James Whitmore, Mark Twain Tonight! Performed and adapted by Hal Holbrook and A James Thurber Evening performed and adapted by William Windom—but Ann can take its place among those within hovering distance. Ms. Taylor is an old hand at delivery and timing, she’s naturally charismatic, she has the ability to hold an audience pretty much in her control; plus the quip catalog and writings of Ms. Richards give her a lot of ammo. Caveats? It’s too long by anywhere from 25 to 33.3% (she hammers home a few key points with needless repetition) and—arguably—it’s overproduced. Then again, you sure get a sense of political power from that governor’s office set (bearing in mind that it’s only one set of several). But Ms. Taylor now has a signature tour de force she’ll be able to pull out of the trunk pretty much any time she wants, and a script solid enough to hand off to other actresses capable of carrying it.
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