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NY1 Theater Review: "Ann"

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Actress Holland Taylor, known to many as the mom on the TV series "Two and a Half Men" brings the story of the late Texas Governor Ann Richards to Broadway in her solo show "Ann." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

From the very first moments of Holland Taylor's one-woman tribute to Ann Richards, the late Texas Governor, it's clear this is a labor of love.

Taylor, who wrote and stars in "Ann", not only looks like Richards, she seems to have reincarnated the larger-than-life character, heart, body and soul.

To many, she was that outspoken Democrat from Texas with Republican hair. And like her state, and her hair, she had an enormous personality that landed her on the national map. She gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1988. But as Taylor so keenly demonstrates, there was a lot more to Ann Richards than meets the eye.

Using a variety of narrative devices, Taylor portrays Richards' public and private personas. We first meet her delivering a college commencement address. Later, we see her in action as governor. And then, after losing re-election, she moves to her office in Manhattan.

The writing is peppered with Richards' colorful and off-color witticisms, and we learn that this housewife and mother initially battled a number of demons, including alcoholism. But she clearly found her stride in politics, answering calls from President Bill Clinton with "Hi kid, how are you?" and sharing dirty jokes with him.

Taylor spent six years digging up a wealth of material, and if the show seems to ramble in spots and lack sufficient cohesion, it succeeds largely through the force of its combined personalities. Performer and subject are both so vividly alive, it's infectious, and we're helplessly drawn in.

One might easily think that a solo show would be swallowed up on Lincoln Center Theatre's largest stage, but given Richards' dynamism and Taylor's outsize talents, the ladies had no problem filling the space.

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