Review: NORA HAHN CRAFTFULLY BRINGS ANN RICHARDS TO LIFE IN GARDEN THEATRE'S PRODUCTION OF ANN

Garden Theatre has brought this show back to its Texas roots in such an endearing way, and you do not want to miss it.

By: Feb. 09, 2024
Review: NORA HAHN CRAFTFULLY BRINGS ANN RICHARDS TO LIFE IN GARDEN THEATRE'S PRODUCTION OF ANN
Review: NORA HAHN CRAFTFULLY BRINGS ANN RICHARDS TO LIFE IN GARDEN THEATRE'S PRODUCTION OF ANN
Show Poster for ANN at the Garden Theatre

The Garden Theatre is currently presenting Ann, a one-woman show highlighting the life of the prolific Texas governor, Ann Richards. This inspiring and hilarious play brings us face-to-face with a complex and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed. Written by Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor, Ann takes a revealing look at the impassioned woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends, and family.

After playing throughout Texas to sold-out audiences, Ann went on to win critical acclaim in Chicago, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and on Broadway at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. Now, the Garden Theatre has brought this new production back to to Houston with Nora Hahn starring as Ann. Hahn has been seen on stages across Houston, including the Garden Theatre, Stageworks, Theatre Southwest, and Country Playhouse, and with her ability to play to the audience in such an intimate way yet still have the gravitas of a bold politician, she was clearly the right choice.


My compliments go to Holland Taylor, the play’s writer. The play was well-structured with strong pacing, and it was full of laughter alongside moments of sincerity. As someone who has moved to Texas in 2022, I had never heard of Nora Hahn before. Yet, this show walked me through Ann’s upbringing, family, career achievements, and more from Ann’s point-of-view in such an entertaining and colorful manner.

Review: NORA HAHN CRAFTFULLY BRINGS ANN RICHARDS TO LIFE IN GARDEN THEATRE'S PRODUCTION OF ANN
Nora Hahn as ANN
Photographed by Pin Lim

I felt that the show was timely considering the current political battles that are occurring today in Texas. Dorothy Ann Richards was  an American politician who served as the 45th governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995. A Democrat, she first came to national attention as the Texas State Treasurer, when she gave the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Richards was the second female governor of Texas (the first being Miriam A. Ferguson) and was frequently noted in the media for her outspoken feminism and her one-liners. She championed women’s health issues, appointed many women and minorities to important posts, and oversaw a revival of Texas’s economic fortunes.  As of 2024, Richards is the most recent Democrat or woman to serve as Governor of Texas. To me, this choice in show by the Garden Theatre’s artistic director and founder Logan Vaden was a clear call for more female leaders to be active in Texas politics and American politics as a whole. I cannot help but agree.

Review: NORA HAHN CRAFTFULLY BRINGS ANN RICHARDS TO LIFE IN GARDEN THEATRE'S PRODUCTION OF ANN
Nora Hahn as ANN
Photographed by Pin Lim

Nora Hahn does a phenomenal job bringing Ann Richards to life. It was just fabulous seeing her shine in this role after playing the spunky and charming Clairee Belcher in the Garden Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias. Her portrayal of Ann did not seem like a caricature; it seemed very natural to the point that some moments even seemed ad-libbed.

Debra Schultz served as the director for this production, and I would like to applaud her for her work. The work she and Nora did to dive into this character and find the approporiate statures and gestures were craftful. Additionally, Schultz Nicholas White (the technical director), Kimberly Hart (the costume designer), and Austin Colburn (the wig designer) did a superb job bringing together the technical elements that created the right mise en scène and energy needed for this show. The set and the props were simple but they were effective, and the suit and iconic white wig were very fitting. Thanks to stage manager Elizabeth Grant and run crew Dalton Hutto, this show was a smooth piece from start to finish.


Be sure to buy your tickets before this show closes this weekend! Saturday’s afternoon show is already sold out, but there are still tickets available for the shows on Friday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm. The show’s run time is 100 minutes with a 15-minute intermission. Performances are occurring at MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theatre Center), which is at 3400 Main Street, Houston TX 77002.  Adult tickets are $28. Student and senior tickets are $23. Tickets are available on the theatre’s website at www.thegardentheatre.org or by calling the MATCH box office at 713-521-4533. Ann is recommended for ages 13+ due to some adult language.




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