Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ann @ The Vivian Beaumont Theater


             With a personality too large for even Texas to handle, it was only a matter of time until former governor of Texas Ann Richards made her way onto a Broadway stage.  Written and performed by Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men), Ann gives the audience a  both fun and interesting look at the life of a woman that overcame a great deal of adversity to help change the state of Texas. 

           Holland Taylor succeeded in this production in every way that she possibly could.  While Ann Richards’ story is one that is worth being told, it is far from the most captivating tale ever to make its way on to the stage.  Taylor’s ability to tell the story is masterful, and the fiery personality of the character she is playing really helps guide the audience through moments that could become rather slow moving.  The play is driven by the Taylor’s commitment to the character and she does a fantastic job of bringing Ann Richards to life.

         One of the few flaws that this production had was that some of the humor will be lost on a younger audience.  While the character of Ann is quite compelling and does create most of the show’s humor through the situation, there were several on liners that made references that not many people under the age of 30 would understand.  To get the full effect of the humor of this production, it would be beneficial to a theatergoer to be well versed in the politics of the late 80s and early 90’s.

         Although it was a one woman show written and performed by Taylor, she did have a lot of help from the people behind the scenes.  Both set designer Michael Fagin and lighting designer Mathew Richards were able to help Taylor travel from a commencement speech to her office in Texas, and then all the way to New York City.  The play could have easily been performed on a simple set simple lighting, and it would have been just ok.  Fagin and Richards brought a life to the moving pieces of the stage, and made many of the technical aspects of the production stand out.  The giant moving set pieces changed the location of the action effortlessly, and the smooth transitions coupled with the meticulous detail made the set really stand out.

        Taylor and director Benjamin Endsley Klein did a great job of bringing the story of Ann Richards to life.  Audiences can laugh and listen to what this great lady had to say, making a Ann a production that a fan the theater will not want to miss.

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