BWW Reviews: ANN - A Humorous Take on the Life of the Late Texas Governor Ann Richards
The last one woman show I saw was Wishful Drinking about the life of Carrie Fisher starring Carrie Fisher.
I've also been fortunate to witness Anna Deveare Smith perform live on stage (catch her Let Me Down Easy recorded at the Arena Stage on Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9 p.m. on WETA).
When I read that Holland Taylor would be coming to the Kennedy Center I was full of anticipation frankly because I was a huge fan of her from the David Kelley television series, "The Practice" where she played a Judge unlike any seen in the history of televison. She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal.
Taylor became enamored with the life of former Governor of Texas Ann Richards and has written, produced and stars in Ann destined for Broadway, hopefully in the Spring.
The evening begins with music blaring the infectious theme song from the 1981 film "Chariots of Fire" written by Greek composer Vangelis. (His soundtrack beat out the wonderful music by John Williams for "Raiders of the Lost Ark".) It turns out that this was Richard's theme song throughout her political career.
The play is told in a flashback. Richards is speaking at an unknown Texas univerity extolling her ideas on how to strive for success. Taylor looks stunning in a white wollen suit, her silver "Republican" hair, a lovely broach, and small heels. She wears this outfit the entire evening. I wish there could have been a change of clothes (using the images on the back of the stage to allow for the changes). She wears the same outfit when she's young, becomes Governor, after she's Governor, and when she comments on her wonderful funeral.
I also believe an intermission is not necessary since the entire play is a little over two hours. I do hate to quibble though since it is such an entertaining evening.
Taylor is truly outstanding in her portrayal of the late Governor noted for her 1988 speech at the Democratic convention in Atlanta when in referring to President George H.W. Bush stated, "He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." (The actual line is NOT in the play.) The line made her famous around the world. It may be a little ironic that it was President Bush's son George who unseated her as Governor after she served only one term.
Taylor does not have the only speaking voice during the show. You hear the voice of the Governor's secretary Nancy Kohler, who is portrayed by the exceptional Tony Award winning actress, Julie White. The interplay between them often is quite humorous.
Taylor has done a superb job in researching Richards' fascinating life. And it is the words of Taylor which so beautifully sums up her philosophy. Describing why she got into politics, she comments, "Why should your life just be about you?" Words we can all live by.
You'll laugh and learn about life and politics in the great state of Texas (bigger than France!).
At the end, a portrait of Governor Richards is revealed. Taylor blows her a kiss.
Ann continues at the Kennedy Center through January 15.
For tickets, call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
Photo Credit: Linda Matlow; Ave Bonar