Review: Holland Taylor's 'Ann' a sweet valentine

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm •  Published: March 7, 2013
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Taylor, perhaps best known for playing the feisty grandmother on the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men," has previously taken her play — a labor of love — to various theaters in Texas, as well as Chicago and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Her Richards uses a spot-on Paul Huntley wig and is slightly stooped and stiff, always eager to get out of her high heels.

Directed wisely and effectively by Benjamin Endsley Klein, the work opens as a commencement address in which Richards explains her early years and then morphs into a behind-the-scenes extended vignette in the hectic governor's office with Richards handling multiple phone calls from her family, staff and Bill Clinton as she badgers her staff over the intercom. She even mends a frayed flag edge, a nice way of showing her laser-like focus.

In an inspired moment of the play, Richards, engrossed in her work, asks her unseen assistant if she's even gone to the bathroom today. Realizing that she hasn't, Richards strides offstage, ending Act I in a way many in the audience will emulate.

Act 2 continues her busy day in the mansion and deals with her ouster from the office, and Richards then morphs into her post-governor's job in New York City. It ends with an inspirational speech she never gave. The transitions are seamless and Michael Fagin's handsome sets slip in and out without fuss.

Taylor's Richards is a hoot yet she almost gets upstaged by another character, which is hard to do in a one-woman show. But two purring phone calls between her and Clinton are some of the play's highlights, perhaps proving that only Clinton can outshine Ann Richards.

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Online: http://www.theannrichardsplay.com

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