I love Broadway, this is no secret. I admit I usually spend my Broadway budget on musical's because I really love music. However, I recently saw a piece on CBS "Sunday Morning" about a new one-woman show written by and starring Holland Taylor. My interest was piqued.
If you are unfamiliar, "Ann" is the story of the bold, brash, witty and controversial former Governor of Texas, Ann Richards. Ann Richards garnered national attention with her famous speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1988. She managed to get herself elected Governor in the conservative, "Good Ole Boy", traditionally Republican state of Texas despite being a relatively inexperienced, recovering alcoholic, divorced woman. We learn Ms. Richards was a fiercely dedicated woman who expected the same from the people around her. She was also raucously funny, kind and loyal.
The play chronicles Ann Richards' life beginning with her modest upbringing and continues through her marriage, family and ultimately her career in politics. The story of her life is brilliantly written and told by Holland Taylor. Ms. Taylor becomes Ann Richards for 2 hours. The sets are simple. There are no fancy effects or staging. There is just a whole lot of engaging, very witty, passionate dialogue.
Holland Taylor, Emmy award-winning actress, is probably best known for her current role as Jon Cryer's mother in "Two and a Half Men". Her career has spanned decades in tv, film and stage work. "Ann" marks Ms. Taylor's forray into playwriting. Ms. Taylor embodies Ann Richards with dedication and gusto! Her performance is flawless. I had the pleasure of living in Texas in the 1980's just prior to Ann Richards' term as Governor and I can completely appreciate Ms. Holland's portrayal of Ann's Texan attitude and demeanor. To Ms. Holland's credit, engaging an audience for 2 hours with nothing more than a simple set and a story is no easy feat. Ms. Holland however, makes it appear effortless. There was never a moment, not once, when I wanted to check my watch or my thoughts wandered. I was completely invested in the story from start to finish. “Ann” is storytelling at its best and exactly what Broadway should be. It was entertaining and engaging. It made me think. It made me laugh out loud and it made me cry.
I am at a stage in my life where I am once again facing a crossroads. Like Ann Richards, I am divorced and my children are becoming more independent. I too am facing the decision about what to do next. How will I play out my second half? Ms. Richards' bold, "take no prisoners" approach to life is inspiring. Her message to "get involved" is one I am hearing loud and clear on many fronts. Ms. Richards' almost blind ambition struck a chord with me. Perhaps that explains why I became so emotionally invested in this show.
The standing ovation at this performance, in my opinion, was entirely well deserved. Bravo!
For ticket information please visit https://www.theannrichardsplay.com/index.php
You can follow Holland Taylor on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HollandTaylor
You can follow "Ann" on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AnnRichardsPlay
* I was provided tickets to "Ann" from Culture Mom Media. Opinions stated here are entirely my own.
Addendum - I brought my 17 year old son with me to see "Ann". One of my most favorite things to do is share great Theater with my children. Upon sitting down, my son remarked "I am pretty confident I am the only 17 year old boy here today, actually I may be the only 17 year old boy to see this show!" He may be right. Would he have chosen this particular show himself? Probably not. But, I love exposing him to new experiences and new perspectives. I thought "Ann" delivered a powerful portrayal of a strong woman in government and that is a great lesson for a kid!
There was also a moment I will cherish always. As we entered the theater and handed the usher our tickets, the usher paused and stared at me for just a moment. She then said "I love your necklace". Ordinarily, that would not constitute a "memorable moment". You see, last September my son started his first job. He saved his money and for my birthday in November he bought me a beautiful diamond and gold necklace. This was the first "real" gift he had ever purchased for me. The look on his face when the usher commented on his choice of gifts was priceless. He was so proud to have been able to adorn his mother with a beautiful necklace worthy of compliments from strangers. Great Mom Moment!