A Play About The Amazing Ann Richards: Late Governor of Texas

Books and Movies

Ann Richards PlayI’m sure you know all about Charlie Sheen, star of Two and a Half Men. But how about Charlie’s sexy mom played by Holland Taylor?

You gotta see Taylor now. Her new digs are the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center where she stars in a one-woman play, Ann, aka Ann Richards, the legendary late governor of Texas. Talented is too small a word for Taylor. She not only perfectly channels Governor Richards, Taylor also wrote the script for this riveting 2-act play.

Ann Richards comes across as complex, capable and clever. Plus she’s brimming over with equal parts of New York chutzpah and southern charm. Woven from her speeches, anecdotes, and her celebrated keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic, Taylor paints a picture of a fearless politician, teacher, tactician,  leader and feminist.

During that Convention, Richards’ famous quotes found their way into every major newspaper in the country, and made Richards a national figure. About George Bush: “Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”  About women: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

As we see onstage Richards is always dancing:  In one afternoon, she advises President Clinton on a Supreme Court nominee, referees a standoff between two of her four children, deals with nuclear waste and immigration reform issues, and only then allows herself a short bathroom break while cracking jokes at every turn. Richards is like a talented magician. She demands. She nurtures. She harasses.  She moderates. And almost always comes out on top. No surprise here. When it comes to juggling, no one tops a woman!

Despite her many accomplishments, Richards’ chance of getting reelected governor was upended when she opposed a bill which allowed Texans to carry concealed weapons. But as one foe conceded “Ann sure was a pistol.” In Ann, the dialogue pops and so does the performance.



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