James Cooper

Holland Taylor wrote and performs in the one-woman show “Ann,” about Ann Richards’ life and accomplishments. While some critics thought the play needed trimming, nearly all of them praised her portrayal as a one-term Democratic Texas governor in a usually reliable red state.

Entertainment Weekly praised Taylor for commanding the stage “with an authority as big as Texas itself.” Most critics were delighted with her portrayal, noting that she was nearly unrecognizable under the white beehive wig that looked “so lacquered it would stop a bullet.”

The New York Times called her “fiery and brash,” and praised the “salty wisecracks poured forth like popcorn from a machine.” The Times also praised Taylor for giving Richards “one more chance to bask in the spotlight,” calling her lively and formidable.

Rachel Farris of the Huffington Post, along with several other critics, praised Taylor for a scene in which Richards signs legislation, calls Bill Clinton, plans a family vacation, gets ready for a campaign stop and decides whether or not to grant a stay of execution.

Taylor delivers a catalog of Richards’ zingers, Texas wryness and style, and spends a deal of time frankly confessing Richards’ battle with alcoholism. Her perfect pitch delivery of Richards’ Texas twang and timing impressed all critics.

Holland Taylor has had an extensive career in theater, film and especially television, overcoming the fact that she was in the original cast of the ill-fated, but famous “Moose Murders.” Her credits show her to be a wide-ranging and talented actress in all genres.

She has appeared in 30 films, including “Legally Blonde,” “The Truman Show” and “George of the Jungle,” and she has played in 16 TV movies, including “The Day Reagan Was Shot.”

But her work in TV has been most extensive, including Emmy nominations for “Two and a Half Men,” “The Practice” and “The Lot.” In addition, she had recurring roles in the popular “The L Word,” “Monk,” “ER,” “Politically Incorrect,” “Ally McBeal” and “Beacon Hill.”

Her extensive experience in all branches of theatrical performance and her expansive range of roles make her widely respected by all colleagues.

Her performance as Ann Richards has certainly been recognized by critics and her colleagues. She appeared on CBS News discussing her play, and it has been noted that Ann Richards was a fan of her performances on “Two and a Half Men.”

She has also received considerable praise for doing the research and writing for her one-woman show as well as performing in it. Her hard-working dedication to her craft makes her respected and a sure Tony nominee.

James Cooper is a freelance writer covering all things Theater and Fairfield County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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