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3/9/13

Ann - Resilience is Rewarded

Oh, no you didn't...

Now open at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Ann is the exact type of show I would hate. This one-woman two-hour production about Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, was supposed to be the worst with its barely-there ambitions and direction. As it turned out, most of it's "story" (using that phrase as loosely as possible) is spliced together through, essentially, one long speech that fails at being a dramatic monologue or even a "ripped-from-the-textbook" political speech. Oh yeah, I was readying my pitching arm for this one...

But like the tough-as-nails protagonist the show pays respect to, it refuses to be mediocre and doesn't give up. And wouldn't you know it, taking in the entire show has its payoffs. That bitch.

Show of hands: how many of you love a gal unafraid to cuss and throw out dirty words in public? Or admit that she dressed up as a tampon for a party? Yeah, Ann has that in stride. It's easy to actively listen to her because...well, she is a pretty darn likeable character, even looking at her full-scope with her alcoholism, divorce, etc. Her "I have massive ladyballs" shtick doesn't wear out and we get more then a few laughs at her antics, most notably, when she is in her office on the phone and/or interacting with her (voiced-over) assistant.

Credit is due to Holland Taylor, who not only wrote the show, but worked the stage like she owned it. Her southern drawl is consistent and, I imagine, what the real life Ann Richards sounded like. But most importantly, she strikes a balance that was sorely needed: keeping her character grounded while still making her interesting enough to carry the (entire) show.

I don't know how Taylor or the producers looked at the inspiration and thought, "that could be a one-woman show on Broadway. Let's invest a lot of time and millions of dollars!" But given that it succeeds at what it attempts, no matter how pedestrian its ambitions were, what am I suppose to say? A success is a success is a success...and I'll take it.

Ticket provided by the production

Photo Credit: Larry Downing

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